by Larry Patrick
WALSENBURG- Feeling that their future may be tied with the county instead of the city, dispatchers of the City of Walsenburg queried the County Commissioners on their plans and offered information they felt could help the Commissioners in setting up a dispatch system.
The Huerfano County Commissioners told the dispatchers that no decision has been made yet for the county to take over the dispatching of emergency services but they are looking into it with the City of Walsenburg, Town Board of LaVeta and other entities. They will all be meeting next Monday in LaVeta to see if all are on the same page in asking for the 1% general sales tax proposal to voters in November to fund emergency services. Currently, the City of Walsenburg carries the brunt of expenses.
Dispatcher, Susan Blake expressed concerns that the commissioners wanted to move dispatch into the detention area that could cause problems with computer security. Commissioner, Scott King said no firm decisions have been made on moving dispatch. Blake emphasized that not just anyone can be a dispatcher and expressed concern that the county may be trying to use jailers on a part-time basis. The commissioners have brought up the idea but have made no real plans since they don’t know if the idea is feasible.
The dispatchers invited the County Commissioners to stop by and observe what they do anytime. The dispatchers worked up their own budget and told the commissioners that their figures would be about $291,000 a year. That is more than the preliminary figures of County Administrator, John Galusha and less than what the city has budgeted in past years.
Asked if the dispatchers had met with the city council on their ideas or concerns, since they work for the city, Blake, also a Walsenburg City Councilman, said they hadn’t yet since, “They figured the County was the bigger player in this.” She said she plans to set up a work session with the rest of the city council to discuss the dispatcher’s ideas soon. County Administrator, John Galusha felt next Monday’s meeting with the officials of Walsenburg and LaVeta should determine whether the Huerfano County Commissioners will consider taking over dispatch services from Walsenburg.