Town hall is split down the middle on whether to pass a $1.8 million loan to make repairs to Monument’s water system. At its Sept. 17 meeting, the Monument Board of Trustees couldn’t muster the two-thirds majority vote required to approve the loan. Without its seventh member, the current six-member board has deadlocked on several issues this past summer.

Monument resident Nancy Swearengin said that the loan is necessary to fix the town’s water infrastructure. Swearengin is concerned that not borrowing the $1.8 million loan will force Monument’s town hall to drain its cash reserves.

“Government entities run on loans all the time,” she said during the meeting. “That’s how things keep moving along. We have watched the town continue to steadily grow ... This (loan) seems to be a good, reasonable way to fund water repairs that need to be done.”

The total cost of the loan including interest would amount to more than $2 million, which the town would pay off over the next 10 years. The loan would be paid for by Monument’s Water Enterprise Fund that draws money from residents’ water bills. Acting Town Manager Pamela Smith said the repayment of the loan would not affect sales or property taxes.

If the loan were passed, Smith told The Tribune, the water fund could easily pay back the loan without increasing people’s water bills.

“I see no scenario where rates would need to be raised,” she said prior to last week’s meeting. “Our town’s infrastructure is older, and we need to keep up on it. This loan is part of updating our infrastructure so it’s solid for the next 50 years.”

Some board members remain cautious about taking on a $1.8 million debt. Smith warned that not passing the loan would force the town to pay out of pocket for any repairs to its aging water system. This could hurt the town’s cash flow and deplete funds needed for other projects, such as the maintenance of roads and parks.

DEA AGENT JOINS MONUMENT POLICE

Police Chief Jacob Shirk said he couldn’t believe the news when he learned that an agent from the Drug Enforcement Administration wanted to join the Monument Police Department.

“I had a call from my front desk that a DEA agent wanted to speak with me,” Shirk said during the town hall meeting. “I invited him up and he said something very interesting. He said, ‘I am retiring soon from the DEA and would like to work for your agency.’ I didn’t know what to say. I was kind of at a loss for words.”

Ted Fiocchi’s impressive 24-year career with the DEA sent him travelling throughout Asia, Central America and South America where he worked closely with foreign governments in drug enforcement. Fiocchi once served as a liaison to the U.S. ambassador of South Korea to assist with counter narcotics operations in the Korean Peninsula.

His last assignment before retiring from the DEA was working closely with the North American Aerospace Defense Command and the United States Northern Command to carry out DEA operations in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.

He joined the Monument Police Department a few weeks ago and was sworn into office at the Sept. 17 town hall meeting.

“I’m looking forward to the opportunity to take care of my children and give back to the community,” he told The Tribune. “I want to make a real difference to the people I know.”

ARTS MONTH

October is Arts Month in the Pikes Peak Region.

Andy Vick, executive director of the cultural office, said that Arts Month is about celebrating the unique cultural aspects that improve quality of life and bring communities together.

“One of the ways you create a community where people want to live and work is by providing cultural amenities,” Vick told The Tribune. “We need a hip and happening community to get new people into the community and to keep them here.”

Nonprofit arts and cultural organizations form a $153 million industry that drives tourism and supports more than 5,000 jobs in the region, according to a study conducted by Americans for the Arts.

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