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City comes clean as spring arrives

by Bill Knowles
WALSENBURG- With spring weather arriving clean up is getting under way across the city with the City Council dusting off an ordinance put on the books in July of 2010 providing for the removal of weeds, brush and rubbish.
The ordinance received its first good test in January of this year when the city had to clean up brush and old furniture on property at 412 Stout. After a city crew made the clean up, they sent the property owner a bill for over $500.
“We notified the owner in December of 2010 that the property needed work but received no response. Then on January 25, we sent a three-man crew out to clean up the weeds and remove old furniture,” Don Saling, Interim City Administrator said.
In previous meetings,the city council has looked at ways to encourage some city residents to maintain their property. The city sponsors a leaf and limb day once a year. This year the city wide clean-up will be staged on May 14 and 15. Residents can put piles of brush and limbs in stacks on their property in preparation for the clean-up. The county transfer station accepts biomass as well.
If the city sends crews out to clean up a property they will assess charges against the property owner at the rate of $30 per man hour and vehicle hour for the removal of rubbish, weeds and furniture. There is also a $100 administrative fee and equipment costs are billed at standard rates. Then, the ordinance also calls for an inspection fee of five percent.
In other news, divers have been making an inspection of the city’s water tank. They’ve been shooting video of damage to the tank. Divers have also been shooting video and inspecting the recently completed work to the dam at Martin Lake. The videos are kept at city hall. No funds have yet been made available for repairs to the water tank.
Around $3 million in Colorado Department of Transportation Enhancement Grants is available for projects that will upgrade the entrances to the city and beautify Main Street. A meeting with CDOT concerning the grants drew very few people so acquiring the funds may be less competitive for the current cycle which ends April 18.
Two projects discussed were the gateway project and a downtown enhancement project. The gateway project has been on the back burner for the past three years with an estimated cost of around $71,000 each for signs at the north and south entrance into the city off of I-25. The city would have to come up with a 25 percent match. No cost estimate for the downtown project was given.