by Bill Knowles
WALSENBURG- On an 8-0 vote the Walsenburg City Council passed the first reading of an ordinance that will curtail the re-sale or distribution of city water. Ordinance 1002 will also prohibit transportation of city water off approved premises without city approval. Ordinance 1002 requires a fine of $1,000 against any person who is convicted of violating it.
The city feels a need to better control city-owned water as both an asset and incentive to promote economic development. The movement of the city’s water out of approved areas such as the city of Walsenburg or the Northlands requires augmentation according to the state engineer’s office and that is reflected in the city’s Special Water Supply Plan (SWSP).
Water is sold by the city at the water-flow pump on the north wall of the city building at the alley. It can also be sold from a metered fire hydrant. However anecdotal reports are showing that water is being taken from unmetered hydrants or backyard hoses and then transported for resale, sometimes in areas beyond the city limits.
A provision in the ordinance allows for transport of 20 gallons of city water for personal use. However during discussion, the city council raised the amount to 50 gallons, more than is necessary to fill the average RV water system.
The council will also consider is giving each water haul customer a placard, much like the temporary licenses given to a person who just bought a vehicle. The details concerning the placards are still to be worked out. The idea came from a resident of Walsenburg in the audience.
The Spanish Peaks Regional Health Center’s Relay for Life Team has started its annual fund-raising effort. This year it’s called “Flush Cancer” and involves a day-glo orange toilet. Persons can transfer the toilet from their yard to a neighbor’s yard by giving the SPRHC Relay for Life Team $10, $20, or $30.
The team put the johnny in the office of Interim City Administrator Don Saling, who gave the team an undisclosed amount of money to move the bathroom fixture into the city council chamber. Each city council member dug out personal funds and donated to the cause and asked that the orange ceramic fixture be moved to the Huerfano County Commissioners. The county commission donated as well. So far the Relay for Life team has raised about $600 between Walsenburg and La Veta.
A grant totaling $2.2 million from the Colorado Department of Health and Environment will help fund three major projects the city has delayed because of budgetary restrictions.
The city is under the state’s gun to start working on the raw water line to the Northlands and to install a raw water line from the water treatment plant to La Veta. Both projects have seen a shelf life of at least two years. “Now would be a good time to begin working the Northlands project,” Saling said. “We have a current pre-engineering review (PER) update for that project which will help us move on it quicker.”
In the past the city received around $70,000 from Petroglyph to do the PER on the raw water line project along Highway 160 to La Veta. However funding for completion of the project has never materialized because of the recession.
Repair of the water tank on Capitol Hill is the third project. The old tank is showing signs of corrosion in places. Though it is currently not a danger, work on the tank is necessary to keep it from becoming unsafe according to engineers who assessed the condition of the tank over the past month.
Walsenburg Police Chief James Chamberlain gave his report about the past holiday. According to Chief Chamberlain, it was a quiet holiday with some fireworks violations. “There were three DUI arrests with two of those stops also turning into drug violations as well.”
The police department will receive a grant from the Department of Justice. The $12,187 grant will be split between the police and the Huerfano County sheriff’s department. Chamberlain is considering the purchase of video cams for five patrol cars which would provide a view of police and citizen interactions during traffic stops.
Owner of the Museum of Friends Brendt Berger addressed the cityasking that it donate funds to defray costs of an art show the museum will be holding starting on Sept. 1. The artist, Harry Toochedona, is native Hawaiian. Liquor licenses have been issued to the Alpine Rose Cafe and for the 3rd annual All Walsenburg Class Reunion.