Tuesday was ‘meeting day’ last week as both the Tourism Advisory Board (TAB) and the Board of Trustees took to the airwaves to meet via Zoom. Zoom is a very popular videoconferencing app that allows a large number of people to connect together electronically and to converse and discuss, similar to a regular meeting.  Until the current virus crisis restrictions have relaxed, and groups of people are comfortable being in close proximity to each other, the TAB, Trustees and Planning Commission will meet via Zoom.

Citizens are welcome to sit in and observe the meetings as well, meeting agendas will display a line beneath the Town logo with the Zoom meeting code and password to be used to listen in on the meeting. Only the Trustees’ microphones will be operable unless a citizen has a comment or question that has been presented to the meeting chair before the meeting so that arrangements can be made to actually hear from someone that has not been a designated participant.

Members of the Tourism Advisory Board met at noon on Tuesday, April 14 to begin discussion on five different proposals to produce the marketing and promotion of the Town of Palisade for the next three years. Ryan Sawyer Marketing has been representing the Town for the past few years and submitted a proposal along with Colvita Creative LLC, High Five Marketing, Slate Communications, Unconquered, and AdCreative Group.

With the circumstances surrounding the economic shutdown, TAB members realize that their budget may not be as large as previously planned. They also discussed the fact that when the economy does re-open for business, the startup may be slow and the competition for the same tourists will be fierce from all directions. Targeting spring blossoms in addition to the fall colors, generating midweek business, and possibilities of working in tandem with the City of Fruita to promote both towns for their specific attractions were all topics of discussion. The pros and cons of local representation as opposed to an out-of-area marketing firm were debated, as well as the possibility of the budget being drastically reduced from original projections due to the virus shutdown. With the annual Lavender Festival cancelled, along with the Honeybee Festival and Edesia at the Wine Country Inn, the spring barrel tastings at the wineries, and moving of the Brews & Cruise from May to October, revenue projections are down.

A committee consisting of Rondo Buecheler, Cassidee Shull, Jeff Snook, Keith Ehlers and Juliann Adams went through the proposals in detail and narrowed the field to three finalists: Slate, Colvita Creative LLC and Ryan Sawyer Marketing. They will be invited to interview with the committee on April 28. Questions for the finalists will include their strategies for dealing with a more limited budget than thought when the proposals were submitted, their plans for shoulder season marketing, and how they would work with social media to let people know quickly that Palisade is open for business again.

Committee members will bring results of the interviews to the next meeting of the entire TAB is scheduled for Tuesday, May 12 at noon with the venue to be decided prior to the meeting depending on virus restrictions.

Palisade’s Board of Trustees met on the Zoom platform that evening at 6:00 p.m. The Mayor-elect, Greg Mikolai, and Trustees Elect Thea Chase, Bill Carlson and Ellen Turner were congratulated after the election of April 7. Mayor Roger Granat was thanked for his many years of service to the Town and was promised a real ‘send-off’ as soon as it is allowed by lifting of virus restrictions. Town Administrator Janet Hawkinson announced that the Palisade Bluegrass and Roots Festival as well as Country Jam in Fruita are both currently on hold, dependent as well on lifting of virus restrictions.

It was also announced that following the election of Mayor Pro-Tem Mikolai to the office of Mayor, a fourth Trustee seat has opened. In addition to considering the vote count from the recent election, letters of interest will be taken from citizens wishing to be considered to fill the vacancy left by Mr. Mikolai’s election as Mayor. The new Mayor and Trustees will be sworn in at the regular meeting of the Board on April 28, and choice of the fourth Trustee will take place in May.

Most of the meeting was spend in discussion of sewer abatement fees stemming from adverse effects to a citizen following a Town-sponsored maintenance project on 2nd Ave./North River Road in 2017. Due to the fact that there has been turnover on the Town staff including changes of Town Administrator, Town Attorney, Public Works Director and Finance Director, it was finally concluded that more research needs to be done before a resolution can be found. Town Attorney Jim Neu recommended bringing the discussion to a future Board meeting once more research has been carried out.

The next meeting of the Board of Trustees is scheduled for Tuesday evening, April 28 at 6:00 p.m. and will take place on Zoom. Citizens are invited to audit the meeting, and to contact the Town if they have comments or questions.