Monticello City approves fines for those without business license, talks water, Main St.
by David Boyle
Members of the Monticello city council approved an ordinance with $500 fines for businesses operating without a license, talked water issues and discussed banners on Main Street at their latest meeting.
At the May 9 meeting members of the Monticello City council approved an ordinance outlining procedures related to businesses operating without a city business license in Monticello.
While the city has previously been able to use the legal system to file criminal charges against businesses that operate without a license the new ordinance will allow the council to impose fines to non-compliant businesses.
The ordinance outlines steps for city administration to follow, starting with a phone call to business owners in violation upon the city learning that a business is operating without a license. Following two business days with no response the city will then send a “Warning of Civil Citation” letter by mail, with compliance required within seven business days.
Following that period the San Juan County Sheriff’s office will serve cease and desist papers and with a fine of $500 per day assessed for each day the business remains in operation. The ordinance also outlines an appeals process.
The ordinance was passed following a discussion at the previous board meeting and input from the city attorney.
City Council member Kevin Dunn said he felt the ordinance was well written and presented a hypothetical situation.
“Let's say we end up on step number two and then the individual comes forward and contacts the city manager and says, ‘look I’m having trouble, I’d like to work with the city to bring in getting my business back into compliance and I’m hoping the city will do that.’ Then the administrative (team) can work with them and doesn’t have to proceed necessarily to step 4 or 5 (fines) if they’re willing to work with the city.”
Council member Kim Henderson clarified that working with the city would include ceasing operations until a business became in compliance.
At the meeting members of the council also discussed water in the city. On May 9 the city stopped releasing water through the Loyds lake dam with the reservoir nearly full at the time of this story.
City employee and council member George Rice explained they’ve fielded a lot of questions as to why the city has kept the gate open at the dam. Some residents have asked why the city can’t allow residents to water their lawns for free rather than letting the water pass through the dam.
Rice explained that the secondary water pond is located uphill of Loyd’s lake and transferring water to the secondary pond requires expensive pumping, other issues include water rights and the need to generate revenue to run water through the system.
At the meeting the council also received an update on the city's Spring Creek project. Jones and Demille Engineering provided city management with an update that the US Forest Service is satisfied with plans on where toplace diversions to connect pipes to the water treatment plant. Members of the council also received an update on a proposal from Canyon Country Discovery Center, which has requested to place banners on Main Street ahead of the October 14, annular solar eclipse. The nonprofit has a full week of activities planned ahead of the eclipse. The costs associated with the banners including set-up would be covered by the nonprofit. The council seemed amenable to the idea, noting that they likely would want to create a policy to allow non profit organizations to hang banners with the city council approval of the design of banners.
Members of the council also had a look at a revised budget for the fiscal year ending in June and a draft of the city budget for the fiscal year starting in July.