The Las Animas City Council held its regularly scheduled meeting on Nov. 11. Prior to the meeting, a budget work session was held to discuss the 2015 city budget.

The Las Animas City Council held its regularly scheduled meeting on Nov. 11. Prior to the meeting, a budget work session was held to discuss the 2015 city budget.

Charmaine Tripp, City of Las Animas clerk, presented the budget, which showed a projected ending general fund balance in the amount of $17,110. A part of the budget which met with some discussion was the sheriff's budget request. Council decided to have another budget work session on Dec. 2 to have the sheriff provide details in regard to his budget request and to work toward finalization of the budget so it can be approved by Dec. 31.

During the regular meeting, Ian Langham, the council's newest member and a member of the Airport Commission, reported that the commission discussed its budget proposal for 2015 and was trying to arrange for a source of water for the airport. Kenny Wagner, Public Works director, will meet with an officer of the commission to discuss the water issue.

Mayor Lawrence Sena presented the report on the Las Animas/Bent County Community Center. The center received a $5,000 grant from an agency which attended Philanthropy Days recently. The center has contracted with Alisha Hall to write grants. Attendance at he center remains stable for its after-school program. Renovation of the center will begin in early spring using funds the county obtained via a grant from the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA). The aim is to restore the building to the same appearance it had when it functioned as a school and make it more energy efficient.

Frank Schmeiser presented two recommendations from the Public Works Board approved by the board. The first was the approval of payment to Gardner Excavating and GMS Engineering for the Wastewater Treatment Plant and Collection System project in the amount of $270,919.85. The second recommendation approved was a request from Public Works to increase its matching funds for the North Star Lane Storm Water Improvements by $15,277, bringing matching funds to $95,277. DOLA is providing $216,927 if the extra funds requested are approved. The council deemed it necessary because the bid was more than anticipated. Public Works crews replaced water mains in two different areas of the city due to line breaks. Other routine tasks were performed. Construction debris was moved successfully from a ditch adjacent to the construction debris landfill south of the city with the state Department of Health monitoring the work. The Safe Routes to School project involving the replacement of sidewalks on the route students use to travel to some of the schools will finally begin in the spring of 2015 since funds have been obtained.

Mayor Sena gave the report on the Bent County Development Foundation. The main topic of discussion was Fort Lyon and its homeless program. The facility now has 210 residents with efforts being made to increase the number and to obtain additional funding. Several of the houses on site are being renovated and the possibility of using them as transitional housing exists. The potential of offering employment to some of the residents has been discussed by a group of companies which meet on a regular basis.

Additionally, the TNR program regarding stray cats is in the process of writing a grant proposal and set of policies and procedures for the program.

Council approved an amendment to the ordinance pertaining to signs, adding some provisions regarding campaign signs. An ordinance appropriating funds for the 2015 budget was approved, a resolution making adjustment increasing the water rates to meet expenses was approved, and three liquor licenses were approved for Loaf 'N Jug, Jerry's Liquor Store and Frankie Loco's Bar.

Reports were presented by Tripp, the Light and Power Superintendent and the Public Works Director. Light and Power activities dealt with routine matters and it was reported that the power usage has increased at Fort Lyon compared to last year. Council approved vouchers as the last item of business.