by Anya Kaats.
The town will again take up the issue of events and noise at its upcoming regular meeting this Monday, Feb. 12. The topic arose at a “special” meeting the town held Jan. 29. There was little notice of the meeting made to the public, though the town did post the agenda at the post office and town office.
During that meeting some town trustees took issue with noise created during events, including July Fourth and others at the town park and elsewhere in town. Included in the complaints were noise from amplified music and even applause from audiences.
Upon learning of the meeting, there was significant online criticism from local residents that the Crestone Board of Trustees failed to adequately notify the public of the special meeting. The board has yet to send an email to The Crestone Eagle or others with the notice and agenda for its upcoming regular monthly meeting Monday, Feb. 12 at 9:30 a.m.
According to the Colorado Freedom Of Information Coalition’s “Guide to Colorado’s Open Records and Open Meetings Laws.” (The Sunshine Law):
“Local public bodies are deemed in compliance with the ‘full and timely’ requirement if they post a notice in a formally designated public place at least 24 hours before a meeting.”
A copy of the special meeting agenda had been posted outside town hall and the post office, so legally the Board was in compliance. However, no email was sent out for that meeting. This oversight has led to community members accusing the board of a lack of transparency. Trustee Adam Kinney is listed on the Feb. 12 agenda to speak about this issue.
“While there is no legal obligation to (send an email), normally we do send agendas out to the email list,” explained previous administrator Scott Ehresman at the Jan. 29 special meeting. Ehresman resigned from his position at the end of the month citing being overwhelmed from understaffing and unresolved systemic challenges.
Local resident Mary Lowers posted on Facebook demanding that citizens “have a right to be informed & participate.”
“When it’s an issue like noise, there needs to be a sincere effort to inform people about meetings,” Lowers explained, referencing the long-term, unresolved debate concerning noise levels and events in town.
Trustee Adam Kinney took responsibility for the notification gaff on behalf of the board. “We collectively dropped the ball on emailing the agenda to our mailing list.” Kinney went on to explain that “the board of trustees did not even receive an email for this meeting. We only knew of it because it was scheduled at our last regular meeting.”
Agenda items for that special meeting included whether or not to hold events in town and the town’s noise ordinance.
These discussions will continue during Monday’s Regular Meeting. Agenda items include adherence to informing public of meetings, discussion of the noise ordinance at special events including the Crestone Music Festival, Energy Fair, Fourth of July Event. Also on the agenda is the “discussion/support Baca residents removing municipal sales tax from online purchases.”
The regular meeting is open to the public, and residents of both the town and the Baca Grande are welcome to attend and offer comment. It is set for Feb. 12, 9:30 a.m. The Board will meet at Town Hall, 111 S. Alder St. and virtually via Zoom.
Zoom Meeting ID: 820 3312 4230
Meeting Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82033124230