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City council chooses condemnation over negotiations for Northlands sewer line

WALSENBURG — The Walsenburg City Council Tuesday night voted 7-0 to approve a resolution authorizing legal council to take all necessary actions to begin condemnation proceedings to acquire an easement on private property by eminent domain, if negotiations for a purchase agreement fall through. The property in question is owned by John C. and Patricia J. Davis, Donna L. Martin, and Donald and Danelle D. Martinez and has been the subject of negotiations and executive sessions with the city council for months. Resolution 2014 R-10, says in part, “ It is necessary for the public health, safety and welfare for the City to obtain the Property in order to complete the Project and it is necessary for the public health, safety and welfare for the City to exercise the power of eminent domain to acquire the Property if the Property cannot be acquired through purchase.” Council member Cathy Pineda made the motion to approve the resolution, with Rick Jennings seconding and members Nick Vigil, Charles Montoya, Jennings, Pineda, Silvana Lind,

Mayor James Eccher and Clint Boehler voting in favor. James Baca and Craig Lessar were not in attendance. The resolution was approved with no comment from the mayor, council members, or city administration. The Northlands Sanitary Sewer Project’s federal and state loans and grants mandate the sewer’s installation by August 2017. City council also unanimously approved an engagement letter with the law firm of Spencer Fane, Britt and Browne of Denver to handle the condemnation issues to be billed at $260 per hour. In other business, city council passed Ordinance 1049 declaring multiple false alarm calls to be a public nuisance and sets monetary penalties beginning with the third false alarm call to the same address at $50, then increasing to $300 for the sixth call and above to the same location. Council also unanimously passed Resolution 2014-R 09 that authorizes transfers from the Capital Improvement Fund to the Water and Sewer Fund. The monies involved, $124,144 to the Water Fund and $98,897 to the Sewer Fund, were collected in 2013. Mayor James Eccher, in remarks during the meeting asked citizens for donations to help cover the cost of using a bucket truck to put up and take down Christmas lights this holiday season. He said donations may be made at city hall and those making the charitable donation may be issued a receipt. The mayor and council estimated the cost to cover the expense at $300. The annual ‘Parade of Lights’ parade permit was approved Tuesday night, with Huerfano World Journal Publisher Brian Orr, whose has spearheaded the event for a number of years, telling council this year’s theme would be ‘Classic Christmas Movies’ and will be held Friday, November 28.