The presence of the coronavirus pandemic was evident Tuesday night as the new Cortez City Council met virtually with an agenda focused on the economic impacts of the virus.
Newcomers Rachel Medina, Arlina Yazzie, David Rainey and Amy Huckins, along with reelected incumbent Sue Betts, took their oath of office via Zoom conference call.
“That was a first to ever do it that way,” City Clerk Linda Smith said.
Note: The City of Cortez and the Cortez Public Library are underwriters of KSJD.
Joining incumbent council member Mike Lavey and Mayor Pro Tem Orly Lucero, the council then nominated and voted on its next leadership.
Lavey was chosen as Cortez’s new mayor with Medina as mayor pro tem. Both passed with unanimous support and with no competing nominations.
The new council also heard from City Manager John Dougherty, who presented recommendations for reopening several city buildings and services. The council voted to approve the reopening schedule as presented:
- The Conquistador Golf Course will reopen May 1 with some precautions, like timing golfer entry as they start the course. Dougherty said the health department isn’t happy about the course’s reopening but he argued it will keep golfers from traveling elsewhere to play.
- The Cortez City Hall, service center and public library will reopen May 4 with some precautions. The library will only offer curbside services and Dougherty said it plans to decontaminate returned books by leaving them in the conference room for a week.
- The Cortez Recreation Center and city parks have a projected reopening date of June 1, subject to health guidance. The recreation center would likely reopen with limited occupancy.
The council also voted to contribute $10,000 to matching funds from the Community Emergency Relief Fund that has distributed grants to southwest Colorado organizations supporting local aid during the COVID-19 crisis. The city’s contribution was pulled from the 2020 budget for the public arts committee.