by Larry Patrick
HUERFANO- The Huerfano County Commissioners took a big step toward taking over the dispatch services for the entire county by hiring a state patrolman as the dispatch supervisor. Don Mercier was chosen over five other applicants for the position. He is working with the state patrol and will retire soon. He will be available part-time starting in January and will then go full-time when the County takes over dispatch services in April or May. Mercier will receive a salary of $45,000. His job will also entail emergency management duties. The City of Walsenburg has handled the dispatch services for many years but opted to let the County take it over. Walsenburg is still handling dispatch until spring time and charging all emergency entities using the services in the county $25 per call. A grant totaling $128,000 for dispatch services should assist the county with needed equipment updates.
Outgoing city administrator, Eric Pearson, will work to have the transition plan go just as smoothly for the City of Walsenburg. His last day however, is Jan. 23. The city council hopes to have a new administrator in place by the time the county takes over dispatch but the job search is just beginning and could take several months. Pearson announced his resignation last week after two years in Walsenburg. He is taking a similar position in North Carolina.
The County Commissioners voted to extend the moratorium on coal bed methane mining until Jan. 21 of this year. The extension allows for some of the new regulations to take effect.
The Huerfano County World was given the bid for publically supported legal notices. It was a no-brainer for the Commissioners, as the World offered to do them for no charge in 2009.