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Cortez council to tackle business, election issues on Tuesday

Agenda includes marijuana shop, board vacancy
The new Cortez City Hall is at 123 Roger Smith Ave.

In its first meeting of the new year on Tuesday, the Cortez city council plans to discuss issues related to new businesses and the upcoming municipal election.

The public meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m., after a workshop that will begin at 5:45 p.m. Among the items on the agenda is a public hearing date for a new marijuana shop on Broadway, approval of the April 3 election and the first reading of a ballot question on the Cortez Recreation Center sales tax. During the workshop, city clerk Linda Smith will also discuss with board members the council vacancy caused by Tim Miller’s recent death.

In a quasi-judicial proceeding, the council will set a public hearing date for review of a possible new marijuana store. The store, doing business under the name Chronic Therapy, would be located at 1020 S. Broadway. If its application is approved, it would become Cortez’s sixth retail marijuana store.

Other business-related items on the agenda include a final vote on the rezoning of a subdivision on 1002 E. Empire St. from multifamily residential to neighborhood business uses. The rezoning would allow the property owners, Chris and Laurie Hutton, to open a farmer’s market and coffee shop there. The council will also take a final vote on a conditional use permit that would allow the Good Samaritan Center and Southwest Farm Fresh Cooperative to open a joint distribution center on 20 N. Beech St.

Council members will vote to set the date for the municipal mail-in ballot election, which is scheduled for April 3, and decide on the final wording for a ballot question that would extend the sales tax that supports the Cortez Recreation Center past its current expiration date in 2021. The ballot question would reduce the sales tax, which is currently set at 0.55 percent, to 0.35 percent, but would allow it to continue indefinitely to provide funds for maintenance at the Recreation Center.

When the municipal election was first announced, four council seats were open for voting, two of which belonged to council members who wouldn’t be able to run for re-election. Council member Miller’s death on Dec. 27 opens a new vacancy, since his term wouldn’t have expired until 2020. During the workshop before Tuesday’s meeting, the council will discuss how to fill that vacancy. In a memo to the council, Smith wrote that the city’s charter allows a vacancy in an elected office to remain open if it occurs within 120 days of an election.

“Given the time that we’d take to advertise and interview prospective candidates, and the fact that anyone appointed would need to run for their seat in April anyway, it may make more sense to leave this seat vacant until the April election,” she wrote.

Another item on the workshop agenda is a presentation from David Nuttle, whose request for a letter of support for an urban farming project he plans to start in Cortez was approved on Dec. 12. As planned at that meeting, the council will discuss his proposal for an “urban farming committee.” Laurie Hall, of the Southwest Farm Fresh Cooperative, has sent a letter to the city expressing concerns about the legitimacy of Nuttle’s proposal.

The workshop will also include a presentation on a new city website, the upcoming heat, ventilation and air conditioning system replacement at the Cortez Police Department and a harassment training video for city employees.

Other agenda items

During the meeting, the council will also:

Consider approving a joint bid for water and sewer plant treatment chemicals with Dolores, Mancos and the Montezuma Water Company.Vote on a renewal of a three-year contract with Rudosky Golf, which provides maintenance and other services at the Conquistador Golf Course.Vote on an addendum to the employment contract with city manager Shane Hale, which would raise his salary to $110,025 per year.

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