Due to an apparent conflict of interest, funds which had been approved for Cottonwood Links Golf Course at a previous Fowler town council meeting, August 11, were rescinded at Monday evening's meeting.
At the August 11 meeting, a grant request was submitted by Cottonwood Links to the town in the amount of $6,647.59 to pay for a sewer pump, a turbo for the lawnmower and salaries for maintenance crews. Trustee Monie Stites moved to pay expenses for the pump and turbo in the amount of $2,847.59 and to wait on paying the maintenance salaries until further discussions about plans for the Recreation Department could take place. That motion fell dead due to lack of a second.
Trustee Larry Vibber moved to pay the total amount requested and that motion was seconded by Trustee Christine Nesbit. Motion passed 3 to 2 with Trustees Nesbit, Vibber and Pat Christensen voting yes and Trustees Stites and Chuck Hitchcock voting no.
At some point following the August 11 meeting the matter of Trustee Vibber also being a member on the board for Cottonwood Links Golf Course was brought to the council's attention. Town Attorney Dan Hyatt was consulted as well as the Colorado Municipal League. At Monday's meeting Town Administrator Wayne Snider reported both professionals concurred that the motion might be considered invalid due to Vibber's position on the two boards.
Trustee Vibber responded by informing the board he had consulted the district attorney's office and a leading law firm in the state of Colorado, both of whom maintain there does not appear to be a conflict of interest.
"If there is a question, I would request that the district court rule on this position," stated Vibber. "Everybody has their own opinion and we have to do what is legally right."
Vibber went on to point out that his position on the golf course board in no way financially benefits him and asked how this situation is any different than other issues voted on by the board where members could possibly personally benefit, such as which streets receive attention next or where other budgeted money is spent.
It was also pointed out that Trustee Stites receives her salary from Tri-County Housing which has been subsidized through the town for a number of years. Stites replied that she is always very careful to recuse herself from any votes involving Tri-County.
The matter has been tabled until further information can be obtained and a decision made.
In other business, the Recreation Board requested a total of $1500 for reimbursement of maintenance salaries paid over the summer and to purchase a water heater for the concession stand. The motion was unanimously approved.
Snider informed the board that by visiting Fowler's website, www.fowlercolorado.com, it is now possible for people to sign up for the Code Red Emergency Notification System. This free program will alert users via their cell phone when an emergency situation exists including severe weather, flooding or other instances requiring immediate action.
Trustee Nesbit informed council of the Tree Board's intention to begin touring Fowler and assessing the health and status of existing trees. They will also be making recommendations about areas that need to have trees planted or replaced.
The first meeting will take place September 2 at 10 a.m. at Gerard Park. Interested members of the community are invited to attend.
Snider updated the board on current projects. The playground at Gerard Park is still on track to be open to the public by the first part of September.
"As built" plans of Park School have been completed and are available at Town Hall for anyone to look at. These plans are of the way Park School looks right now. Work with the State Historic Society continues to progress.
Next town council meeting is scheduled for September 8 at 6 p.m. at Town Hall.