VFW gets new home, playground efforts may be combined

Friday, November 15, 2019

After much discussion in recent months, the Alta City Council has approved an agreement that will allow the local VFW to have its own location in the annex of the community building. Members of the VFW who were at last week’s council meeting immediately approved the deal.

The arrangement will run for five years, both sides agreeing that a lifetime agreement would not be appropriate, since it would be hard to predict needs in the distant future.

The city will provide the mowing and initial snow removal for the site, along with its work at the community building.

The VFW will be able to do some renovation to meet its needs, and plans to have a sign made for the facility.

“I think it will work out pretty good for you,” Mayor Al Clark told the VFW representatives. “We know you guys are going to be good tenants - this will benefit the VFW and the city.”

In other business at the November City Council meeting:

• The council considered security needs for events held at the community building where alcohol is served. They were told that there are rumors of lots of underage drinking going on at events when the center is rented out.

The mayor felt that when a liquor license is issued to a renter, security should be provided. He asked the sheriff’s department if off-duty officers would want to do it, but they were reluctant to commit to the schedule during the busy spring and summer months. It was suggested that the department be encouraged to continue its walk-thoughs of the events during sheriff’s patrols. The mayor was also concerned about a rear door where children often are running in and out from rental events - “Who knows what’s going on outside,” he said - and a dark area near the entrance where he feels more lighting should be considered.

• The park board reported that efforts to meet with a school committee continues. Both groups have been separately pursuing playground projects, the city group targeting the area near the shelter house in city park, the school committee looking to replace or update the aging AltaGether playground next to the school nearby. A plan is evolving that could result in one fundraising campaign instead of separate ones, though it is yet to be determined whether play equipment would go on city property, school property, or both. A second meeting between the groups is planned for December.

• The fire chief reported that it had been a quiet October, with 11 calls. Arturo Sanchez has been accepted as a new member of the fire department, but another veteran member has retired.

• The street department reported that a broken-down sweeper has been repaired. City officials noted that the equipment is overdue for replacement.

• An offer of $1 building permits that the city has employed for two years is set to expire at the end of the year, but the council opted to extend it for another year. The program was hoped to encourage home building, and while officials admitted that the $500-700 savings probably won’t cause people from outside to come to the city to build their homes, mayor-to-be Kevin Walsh said he feels it is still worthwhile for the city to help those who are taking on projects.

• The city accepted a bid to have the apartment in the community building complex to be painted while it has been vacated. After the updates, the apartment will be rented out.

• An annual financial report was approved, with the city clerk noting that the ending balance had improved by about $3,000.

• The city opted to stay with its current insurance provider for health coverage for employees, and decided to offer a $25 per month payment to employees who need to use their personal cell phones for work-related calls.