by Bill Knowles
WALSENBURG—Huerfano County Commissioners had an executive session meeting last Wednesday with Earl Wells of Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), owners of the prison facilities located in Huerfano County.
Even though the details of the meeting can’t be divulged, the general topic of discussion centered around property taxes the company pays to the county. The prison was mothballed in 2010 as a shortage of prisoners affected CCA nationwide.
Members of the Citizens for Huerfano County (CHC) sought to question County Commissioner Roger Cain, during the regular meeting, concerning whether he has had business dealings with SWEPI (Shell Oil). The questioning centered around leasing of mineral rights. Roger Cain refused to comment on the question stating it was a personal issue. When questioned by Chip Kraynik on the same issue a week ago, Cain answered he did not know, saying that he owned only a part of the mineral rights under his property.
As Cain was pressed by CHC member Chip Kraynik, commission chair Scott King stepped in saying Cain had answered the question. “If you’re going to make an accusation about something, this is neither the time nor the place.”
An engineering report looking at the proposed ambulance building shows the project will cost around $1.2 million. The project will be located in the Northlands and serve as a back-up emergency dispatch location as well.
Because of its dual use, funding for the project should be easier to come by. Right now the county is looking at a grant of around $25,000 and a $1 million loan. But as a back-up dispatch office, money will be available from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Homeland Security which could trim about $500,000 from the loan.
Money is beginning to flow from the USDA to Tri-State Power Generation in the amount of about $132 million in guaranteed loans for the construction of 47 miles of transmission lines. The funds will be used on a multi-state project including parts of Colorado. The Xcel/Tri-State project through Huerfano County is not included in the funding.
A $3,000 grant has been awarded to the county for glass doors for the Gardner Community Center. The project also calls for the expansion of the bathrooms to comply with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA).