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Cortez raises pay for city manager, plans roadwork, airport hangar

The city of Cortez plans to repave the parking lot at the Cortez Recreation Center this year.(City of Cortez)
Recreation center parking lot will be repaved

Key roadwork is coming to Cortez in about a month, with paving and sealing set to happen throughout the city.

The City Council unanimously awarded the 2022 Street Improvement Work bid to Dave and Lana Waters Inc. at Tuesday night’s meeting. The local company was the only one to bid on the project and have satisfactorily completed other work for the city as well, councilors said.

This year, according to the agenda packet, the road improvements will include mill and fill for Harrison Street and Montezuma Avenue; double chip seal and fog coat on Acoma, Melrose, and Cottonwood streets in Cornett Heights; and single chip seal with fog coat on Montelores Avenue and the Cortez Recreation Center parking lot.

There will also be about 230 square yards of asphalt patching at various sites throughout the city.

“We have a continual list of capital improvement projects and street projects,” said Brian Peckins, the city’s public works director, in response to councilor Lydia DeHaven’s question about how projects were prioritized. He added that several years ago, the city hired a professional engineering firm to conduct a study and that continues to guide staff in determining which streets should be prioritized in a given year.

The city of Cortez plans a mill and fill project at Harrison Street and Montezuma Avenue. (City of Cortez)

The Cortez Public Works Department held a pre-bid meeting on July 8 and opened bids on July 15. Four companies attended the pre-bid meeting, but only one bid was received, and that was from Dave and Lana Waters, Inc. at $536,038.74, Peckins said.

The projects will be paid through the Street Capital Fund.

Councilors and staff cited the roadwork that Dave and Lana Waters Inc. have done on Sligo Street and Mildred Road as evidence of their qualifications for the job.

“I feel we’ve had consistently good work with the Waters,” said Cortez Mayor Rachel Medina.

The work is expected to start in about a month, after completing the necessary bonds and paperwork, officially awarding the contract, conducting a pre-construction meeting, and releasing a notice to proceed, according to Peckins.

Other news
  • The council unanimously approved a 9.5% raise for the city manager, a little more than a year after he started work. The proposal to amend Sanders’ contract came at the conclusion of his annual employment review on July 12 and brings his annual salary up from $133,350 to $146,000.

Councilors emphasized they decided to raise the salary to put it on par with city managers pay around the state and because of Sanders’ leadership in the past year, particularly in expediting the completion of the city’s pending financial audits and improving relationships with other local stakeholders.

“The city of Cortez was abysmally below that of the cities our size in the state of Colorado,” said councilor Dennis Spruell. “And when we looked at that and compared what our city manager was making, it was embarrassing. The national average is a little bit lower than what he’s making. However, this is Colorado, and I think he’s doing an outstanding job.”

DeHaven also noted that this “larger than normal” raise percentage was an attempt to be competitive with other cities and wasn’t indicative of an annual occurrence.

“This doesn’t necessarily mean that this is the percentage moving forward for all time,” she said. “But we just wanted Drew to have a fair and comparable raise with his peers.”

  • The council unanimously approved on first reading a land lease agreement to Jared and Karen Hansen for the construction of a new hangar at the Cortez Municipal Airport, setting a public hearing for August 9.

If approved, the lease agreement would last for 40 years, at a rate of $2,340 per year. They hope to begin work on the airport hangar this fall, said airport manager Jeremy Patton.

  • Councilors unanimously approved the appointment of Katrina Weiss to the Cortez Planning and Zoning Commission.