by Larry Patrick
WALSENBURG– Huerfano County Commissioners officially signed the intergovernmental agreement that has the county taking over dispatch services beginning Feb. 1st. The City of Walsenburg has yet to sign off on the agreement but will finalize discussion at next Tuesday’s city council meeting and will likely sign it then. There had been concern on the city’s part that the county was delaying taking over dispatch until April or May and there had been some discussion as to what constituted a “call” for charging governmental entities for services, that has apparently been rectified.
Interviews for hiring dispatchers will be completed next week and the Commissioners should have recommendations by Jan. 28th so hiring can take place for the Feb. 1st deadline. All of the dispatchers from the city have interviewed hoping to move over to the county payroll. Retiring state patrolman, Don Mercier will take over as communications director.
The owners of the Timbers Restaurant in Cuchara had their liquor license suspended for failure to respond regarding concerns. The owners of the Timbers must meet the requirements of the building inspector before the liquor license suspension is lifted.
The county attorney will look over a letter from Pole Canyon contract agents concerning land acquisition for building power lines. Some ranchers have felt that the letter is threatening condemnation of their land if they don’t come to an agreement in price. The Commissioners said the private company does not have condemnation rights to land. Condemnation is not mentioned in the letter but the tone appeared to the Commissioners, the planning and zoning board and landowners to be threatening.
County employees will have $50 taken out of their paychecks each month to help pay for their health insurance plan. Huerfano County was the only one in the state to pay 100% of the cost but with rising health care costs, changes needed to be made. The County pays over 1 million dollars annually for health insurance premiums for county employees. Commissioners emphasized the need to hold the line on spending to avoid job cuts or cuts in services for 2010.