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Thanks And Support For 1% Tax Increase

To The Editor:

This thank you to Town employees is overdue, but it’s catch up time. Over the past several years, many of them have helped with problems at my home or on my street, and each time, the issue was dealt with politely, professionally, timely and to my satisfaction. A street light was out, there was a water leak in the street below my house that turned into a major repair project, an electric line that needed to be tightened up to my house, a speed limit sign was installed to encourage people to slow down, a water department team that checked out why my water bill was so high, found out it was a hose I had not turned off completely. I apologize to those people whose names I failed to get, but a huge thank you for all you did.

I also have not thanked the Town employees who were so amazing during the flooding in Sept. 2013. There were so very many, but a few I definitely want to thank. Our Town Administrator Frank Lancaster was a giant with how he handled the entire event. I had never been in the middle of anything like this, and when I saw Mr. Lancaster in such control, and so calm, that was encouragement for me to keep control and stay calm.

Lori Mitchell, Manager of the Senior Center, was pulled away from her duties at the center, to her position with the town’s disaster team. She was in charge of procurement, and when I heard the fuel and food trucks were on the way, I knew we would be okay and things would start looking up. Lori even took a few minutes from her very hectic time with all she was doing to drive over and check on me. That was not an easy task with all of the roadways flooded, but she did it and it forever endeared her to my heart.

Kelly Claypool, Program Coordinator at the Senior Center, kept the center open while Lori was back and forth between her Manager duties at the center and her disaster team position. Kelly was amazing! Although the center was closed for noon meals, and all classes and events were cancelled for a week, the doors were open, the lights were on, there was coffee, and the restrooms were operational! The phones were answered, people were given names and phone numbers to get help, and although it always has been, and hopefully always will be, a refuge for all people in the community, not just seniors, at that point in time, the importance of the center being there, open and helpful, cannot be underestimated.

And most recently with all of the snow, wind and cold, I had a request of another Town employee that was handled just as efficiently, professionally and successfully as the ones previously mentioned. I get my mail at a cluster box on Lawn Lane. There is a teeny sidewalk where the box is located. The street is extremely narrow, and a snow plow has very little room to maneuver there. Because of all the snow we have had, the cold and wind, the snow has been plowed to where the cluster box has been inaccessible for me. I know the mail delivery person has climbed over it to make sure the mail got delivered. But I couldn’t negotiate that large, icy pile. So I made a call to the town’s Public Utilities and was put in touch with the Operations Div. Supervisor, Kevin McEchern.

What impressed me the most was his kindness, gentleness over the problems I was relaying , and then he asked me “May I check it out tomorrow and get back to you?” Wow! He didn’t say I’ll check it out and get back to you, leaving me to wonder when and if he would do it, he actually very politely asked my permission to put it into the next day. Stunning, unexpected, but very impressive! And he followed through just as he said.

He called the next day, said he had gone over (even though I gave him a wrong street name), and he then explained what sidewalks the Town is responsible for plowing, and which ones are not the town’s responsibility. I had no idea of the breakout of responsibility until Mr. McEchern patiently and thoroughly explained it to me. And then he floored me when he said he personally had shoveled out a little footpath for me to get up to my mail box!

Talk about going above and beyond! And this from a man who was responsible for making sure that the roads and sidewalks in town were at that very minute, getting cleared properly. I would say this falls in the category of “other duties as assigned” or in this case “unassigned.” He did not have to do that, and I hope that he is commended for his action to resolve a huge problem for a senior citizen that had so far run up against brick walls in getting help to remove that ice pile. Thank you so much Kevin McEchern! You too, will always be a little part of my heart.

This brings me to the end of my thank yous to Town employees, for now. I would like to add here, that many letters have been written to the papers for and against the April 1st 1% tax issue. I am not one to sign on to tax increases very often, but this one I whole heartedly endorse.

Our roads and infrastructure were pretty old and fragile before the flood. Our Senior Center is so vital to people of all ages, with the youngest member joining in 2012 at 19 years young, so very many of them needing to gather there each day for companionship, exercise, a hot, delicious noon meal, free coffee all day long, and information that expands outside the town limits, and encompasses Larimer County and beyond.

Membership is growing, and is expected to continue to grow, which makes a new intergenerational community center something the town will be well served by in future years. The Town also desperately needs an emergency alert system, should we go through any more disasters. This 1% sales tax is a definite win, win, win all the way around.

Very Sincerely,

Diane Rayburn

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