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County Jailers’ anger can’t be contained

Staff Reports

WALSENBURG- In a confrontation with Huerfano County detention officers over pay and compensation county commissioners brought up the possibility of either spending money on upgrades to the current jail or closing it down.

    “Conditions in the jail have been surveyed and it will cost the county $1.6 million to bring it up to par and that’s money the county doesn’t have.  Or we can close the jail,” County Commission Chairman Art Bobian said.

    Kim Allen, a spokesperson for the detention officers started her presentation detailing some of the conditions the officers have to deal with on a day to day basis.

    “We work with the out of control inmates, moral is low, we haven’t seen a raise in about two years.”

    Other conditions included the need for a maintenance person.  This would have reduced the amount of time taken to repair broken locks and fix the intercom system. 

    Several detention officers along with Sheriff Bruce Newman, Undersheriff Dave McCain and Captain Kevin Vallejos also sat in on the presentation but added no comments to the session. 

    Some of the detention officers in attendance began adding their comments and were told that the proceedings were part of the County Commission meeting and not a public hearing.  The confrontation between Bobian and the officers sharpened as each side sought to speak over the other.

    The presentation ended with the officers walking out of the meeting room indicating a plan “B” would go into effect.  None of the jailers commented on what plan “B” might be.

    The Cuchara Ski area is now in the hands of what should become the Cuchara Valley Recreational Metropolitan District.  The sale of the 225 acre ski area was filed with the county on Wednesday, Aug. 25. 

    The Case Group of Colorado Springs is providing funding for the project.

    A ballot issue is being built so the district can be formed and bonds can be issued for the development.  Organizers are pushing to get the issue onto November’s ballot.

    Another concern is the possibility that property taxes through out the county might increase with a bond issue.  However County Administrator John Galusha stated that county wide property taxes will not increase with the issuance of bonds.  Any tax increase will be carried by residents within the Metropolitan District.  

    The Metropolitan District is the 225 acres that make up the purchased area.