Hayden council members now 'on the same page' when it comes to attendance

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— Hayden Town Council members Thursday renewed their commitment to attend meetings, or at least let staff members know when the cannot be there.

With attendance records in hand, the council discussed attendance at the request of council member Jim Folley, who had some concerns. Mayor Jim Haskins asked Folley to lead the discussion.

“All I have to say is it's great to see everybody here tonight,” said Folley, referring to all seven members being in attendance. “My concern was not having enough bodies to have a quorum to take care of the business that we need to take care of.”

A quorum is the minimum number of four council members that must be present for an official meeting to take place and for votes to be taken.

Folley said he wanted the attendance subject brought up to serve as a reminder to the council members about the importance of their positions.

At the last scheduled meeting, someone had come to speak to the council, and there was not a quorum. A council member had to be called and asked to come to the meeting.

Earlier this year, a meeting was canceled because it was clear enough council members were not going to be able to attend.

Haskins said he agreed with Folley’s concerns.

“It's certainly an inconvenience for anyone that shows up that wants to address the council, especially if it's something we have to vote on as a council,” Haskins said.

Several council members said they would let staff know when they will not be able to attend, and Town Manager David Torgler said he was going to make sure council members have the cellphone numbers of town staff members.

Haskins acknowledged the challenges people face when it comes making meetings. As a Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife officer, Haskins said, there were entire hunting seasons when it was known he likely was not going to be at the meetings.

Richard “Festus” Hagins, who missed 10 of the 22 meetings in 2013, said work sometimes interferes with the commitments of being a council member.

“It's all work related,” Hagins said. “I try not to miss any.”

Many of the council members do not work traditional 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. jobs. Hagins is a mechanic at Twin Enviro Services, Tim Redmond is a plumber and Dallas Robinson works in construction.

“Dallas and I with work, we never know when something is going to break down,” Hagins said.

The attendance discussion was rather short and did not get into how absences are recorded as excused or unexcused. All of the council member absences in 2013 and 2014 were recorded as excused, but Haskins said that probably was not the case.

“I think we're all on the same page,” Haskins said to wrap up the discussion, to which Redmond responded, “Be here.”

Also during the meeting, the council discussed certain permit fees the town assesses. Water heater and window permits specifically were discussed. In Hayden, residents are supposed to pay $125 for a permit if they want to replace a water heater, Redmond said.

“No one else in Routt County has to pay that burden or that expense,” Redmond said.

The issue is going to be brought up again at a future meeting.

The council also recognized the work of Town Clerk Melisa Owens, who has resigned and is moving to Nebraska, where her husband plans to start a hunting business.

“You have the best of the best qualities, which is you are good to our customers,” Haskins said. “I can't believe you're going to Nebraska, but what the heck.”

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland

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