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Cortez City Council to decide on Montessori school relocation

School’s conditional use permit on Tuesday agenda
Cortez City Hall is at 123 Roger Smith Ave.

In its first meeting with three newly elected members, the Cortez City Council will vote Tuesday on whether to approve a permit allowing a school to move into the Montezuma County Justice Building.

The regular meeting, which starts at 7:30 p.m. in City Hall, will begin with the swearing-in of the council members chosen in the April 3 municipal election: incumbents Orly Lucero and Jill Carlson, and newcomers Mike Lavey, Sue Betts and Gary Noyes.

In a public hearing, the new council will vote on a conditional use permit that would allow Children’s Kiva Montessori School to move into the Justice Building, which is currently the home of the Bridge Emergency Shelter.

Other items on the agenda for the meeting and the workshop beforehand include a bid award for the Main Street median project, a contract with the city’s new interim manager and an official send-off for outgoing council members Bob Archibeque and Shawna McLaughlin.

The Kiva Montessori School, which has been trying to move out of its North Birch Street location for more than a year, is in the process of purchasing the Justice Building from Montezuma County.

In March, the council voted to amend the Cortez land use code to allow schools as a conditional use in the open zoning district where the building is located, and on April 3 the planning and zoning commission approved the school’s permit application. If the council gives final approval to the permit on Tuesday, Kiva Montessori staff have said they plan to move into the building by August.

The Bridge has been given less than a month to move out of the Justice Building, and as of Wednesday, its leaders were still looking for a temporary location for the shelter and Day Labor Center while their new building is built.

Seven months after its originally planned start date in September, the construction bid for the Main Street median project may be awarded to Western Gravel Construction on Tuesday. The controversial project has been delayed twice, first in the fall because no construction companies bid on it, and then in early spring due to design reviews by the Colorado Department of Transportation. Public Works Director Phil Johnson plans to give an update on the project to council members during their workshop at 5:25 p.m. During the regular meeting, Johnson will ask the council to award the project to Western Gravel, the low bidder.

The council also will consider approving a contract with longtime city employee Chris Burkett to become the interim city manager after Shane Hale leaves in May. The draft employment agreement Hale has submitted to the council specifies that Burkett will begin work on May 23 and will continue to be employed part-time for $50 an hour, until the city hires a permanent manager. The city hopes to hire a manager by mid-June.

Tuesday’s busy agenda also includes time for a farewell to Archibeque and McLaughlin, whose terms are ending. The council has scheduled a reception for the outgoing members at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Other action

During Tuesday’s workshop and regular meeting, the council also will:

Hear a request for support from Montezuma-Cortez High School, which is sending four students to the international 2018 Destination Imagination finals in Knoxville, Tennessee.Hear a presentation from John Shaw, of Shaw Solar, on solar power.Hold an executive session workshop to discuss legal matters.Consider a proclamation to declare Drinking Water Week as May 6-12.Vote on a one-year lease of water from the city to the Dolores Water Conservancy District.Vote on whether to approve a $116,040.37 change order for underground and aerial fiber installations.Consider awarding three vehicle purchase bids.Vote on a resolution approving an amended plat for creating estates on land between the city and Montezuma County.Appoint new members to city boards and committees.Hold a public comment period.

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