By Julie Van Domelen, Mayor
LYONS – With elections coming up, I’ve had many people ask so I wanted to let you know that I will be running for re-election. The last year as mayor has been a very challenging, fun and rewarding experience. Even thought it takes a lot of time and effort, it’s been worth it. When I look at the issues and opportunities facing Lyons over the next two years, with a new administrator coming in, continuing budget challenges to get us onto a path of fiscal sustainability, negotiations with Boulder County over the next 10 year intergovernmental agreement implementation of community priorities developed in the Lyons Comprehensive Plan, and so on, I feel I can still be of service to Lyons and am excited at the prospects. So count me in. There’s still a lot of work to do.
Main Street is creating quite a buzz with the general consensus that the new look fits great with the town. There is still some landscaping to go in once the weather warms up for planting, but traffic is back flowing along Main. While the look and potential impact on businesses receives a lot of attention, the Main Street project has many other features that make this a showcase for sustainability, using resources wisely and lowering environmental impacts.
First, Main Street has a new set of pipes. Some of the water and sewerage pipes taken out were so old they were made out of wood. The town is in the process of having an audit done by a firm to find ways to increase energy and water efficiency. Preliminary estimates are that Lyons loses about 12 percent of the water that we purchase but is not billed, either through leaky pipes, inaccurate meters or other unmetered consumption. A reasonable target would be five percent. Plugging the leaks will result in better financial health of our utility and reduce pressure on rates.
Second, Main Street has some of the most efficient lighting on the market, so called induction lights. These streetlights reduce energy use by well over 50 percent and last an estimated 100,000 hours compared to 24,000 for high-pressure sodium lights. This saves on replacement and labor costs and reduces the electricity bill to the town. The lights are focused downwards, which protects the night sky from light pollution and keeps the stars visible overhead.
Third, Main Street was paved with concrete rather than asphalt. This has economic and safety benefits and has less impact on the environment. Concrete pavement lasts longer and requires less maintenance over its lifetime than asphalt.
Main Street is just one of the many examples of Lyons making real advances in using resources more efficiently, reducing environmental impacts, and saving money. For example, Lyons buys over 25 percent of its power from renewable sources (hydropower, wind and solar). The goal for the State of Colorado is 20 percent renewable by 2020 – we’re ten years ahead of schedule. In the last year, the Lyons Middle/High School installed a photovoltaic solar electricity system that reduces energy bills and helps teach students about these technologies. Lyons is also a leader in zoning that allows people to raise backyard chickens leading to more fresh, healthy food grown locally. Another example is our neighborhood electric vehicle ordinance that allows for golf carts on all of our streets. For Christmas I gave my husband a golf cart, which is now our town car. An electric golf cart costs over eight times less to run per mile compared with my husband’s truck. Tooling around town in a golf cart saves money, reduces local air pollution, avoids burning gasoline and is a lot of fun.
Looking ahead, the main news from town hall is the arrival of our new town administrator, Victoria Simonsen, who is due to start on February 24. Simonsen brings with her experience from Albert Lea, Minnesota and Fort Morgan. I am sure that Lyons will welcome her warmly. She will be able to overlap a few days with the interim administrator, Karen Cumbo, to ensure a smooth transition. Cumbo has done an admirable job over the last six months, stepping into a demanding Main Street renovation, a daunting 2010 budget preparation, the finalization of the Comprehensive Plan and the day-to-day challenges of administering the town. She has been fully committed to helping Lyons through this period and we have all benefited from her skill and good humor. On behalf of the BOT, we wish her all of the best in her future endeavors.
Julie Van Domelen was elected mayor of Lyons in a special election in 2008. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.Back to Top