Tuesday’s council meeting kicked off with a discussion of a potential Community Development Block Grant to help pay for a city water engineering plan. There are complications associated with the town’s recent incorporation and the ownership of water rights. Mayor Ann Leppanen suggested shooting for a June 2019 deadline for transferring water rights to the town. Leppanen thanked community member Jocelyn Meyers for assisting with the grant application, which could provide up to $100,000 in funding.
Community member Michael Haviken suggested creating a five-year plan for roads in town limits, including an analysis of priorities for repair, upgrades, and the potential construction of bike paths or sidewalks. Funding opportunities were also discussed.
The council voted unanimously to adopt preliminary Planning & Zoning bylaws. Bluff’s Planning & Zoning Commission would hold its first meeting on Jan. 24 at 7 p.m. at Design Build Bluff’s Cedar Hall where the commission will elect officers and set future meeting dates.
Leppanen provided an update on the town’s interlocal agreement with San Juan County. On December 17, 2018, the town council and county commission agreed upon an interlocal agreement, but due to a possible paperwork error, the incorrect draft of the document was submitted to the town council in January. Leppanen said the correct document now needs to be reviewed and signed by the new commissioners who took office in 2019 and have not yet approved the correct document.
Councilman Jim Sayers reported that he attended the San Juan School Board meeting on Jan. 22, and said school board member Steven Black presented a position paper in opposition to Community Reinvestment Areas (CRAs) in the county, including the Bluff Dwellings CRA in Bluff. The town council has also come out in opposition to the Bluff Dwellings CRA.
In a letter sent out following the meeting, Sayers thanked town volunteers. “We are all indebted also to Ed Dobson,” Sayers wrote, “who has volunteered to fill a slot on San Juan Water Conservation Board, Michael Havikan for taking the lead with our Roads and important funding from DOT, Lois Young who has stepped up to a Board spot on San Juan Health Department, and Lynell Schalk who will interact with BLM in providing input from Bluff Town on Shash Jaa and Indian Creek [units of Bears Ears National Monument].”