by Larry Patrick
WALSENBURG– The Walsenburg City Council has voted 7-2 to return to a 5-day work week later this month. Employees were divided about 50-50 on whether they preferred staying with the 4-day week at 10 hours per day or the 5-day week of eight hours.
Mayor Bruce Quintana and councilwoman Erin Jerant said the feelings of the general public were most important. They felt that many people were unhappy with the city not operating on Friday. The amount of savings shown did not overshadow public sentiment. Councilpersons James England and Silvana Lind voted to stay with the 4-day week.
Councilwoman Lind also suggested the city council withdraw from the Huerfano County Economic Development and suggested the city consider joining another economic group trying to form. The council said they should not get in the middle of two groups vying for the same thing. Lind felt the current leadership of HCED was not moving forward and that people who had joined with them were quitting for lack of progress. The city council voted to withdraw from HCED but not get involved with any new group forming at this time.
The city donated $2500 to Crossroads Turning Point, an organization that offers drug and alcohol programs. They currently have a detox center in Trinidad that is used by Walsenburg police in handling those arrested for intoxication.
A representative from Nextera addressed the city council and urged them to be patient and cautious before signing exclusivity rights with a company for wind farm development. Several firms have approached the city about their land east of Walsenburg for wind farm development. Kevin Gildea said Nextera is the largest wind and solar generator in North America. They are interested in the city land for developing transmission lines and/or wind farms on the property. No decision was made by the city council.
Charles Bryant reported that the Huerfano County Parks & Recreation District has approved $30,000 for the first phase of a skate park to go in next door to the water park. Bryant is hopeful of adding several other phases to the project if more funding can be obtained.