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Commissioners hear input on Chaé organics grant

by Bill Knowles
WALSENBURG — The Huerfano County Commission held a public hearing this week on a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), worth about $300,000.
The grant money, if awarded, will aid Chaé Organics to build a new manufacturing facility just west of Knight’s Inn on U.S. Hwy 160. The company plans to invest $1.5 million in the operation, which will cover any matching fund requirements of the grant.
Part of those requirements also ask for goals to be set for employment levels. In order to remain qualified for the funds, the company will have to employ 20 workers in the first year with employment reaching 47 workers by the third year.
A lift station is needed to move raw water to the building for the manufacturing process. This will involve the City of Walsenburg in the operations of the station so city approval is also needed to move the grant application forward. The city will need to see the design drawings first.
The grant application will need to be submitted to the Economic Development Commission by the end of January with the contract to be executed within 45 days. The CDBG grant is for two years.
The commissioners awarded a maintenance contract for care of the Gardner Community Center to Rebecca McGill for $750 a month.
In other business, the county commission approved Denise Vigil and County Administrator John Galusha to represent Huerfano County in the county health pool.
The Commissioners also gave out verbal kudos to Kim, Kristie, Michelle, Denise and Melanie for keeping expenditures in the county offices at or slightly under budget for 2011.
In 2011, the county spent seven percent less than it collected from county taxes. This does not include the $1.87 million received from the state and federal governments that is used for public welfare needs, such as food stamps, Medicaid and TANF.

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