by Larry Patrick
WALSENBURG- The Huerfano County Commissioners received some great news Wednesday when they received notice about some of the monies for the Gardner water and wastewater projects being forgiven. The total project cost was around 1.4 million dollars. The County received an e-mail from an official of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment stating $222,476 is being forgiven for the Gardner water project. Plus they are preliminarily receiving $211,000 from the Grant Assistance Program (GAP) which they had previously applied for funds through the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority.
In addition to the above, the County is getting forgiveness in the amount of $250,000 for the wastewater portion of the project. That leaves a balance of only $91,000 for the project after Colorado Department Block Grant (CDBG) funding. Since the County isn’t eligible to accept both the GAP monies ($211,000) and the CDBG balance ($91,000), the commissioners opted to take responsibility for the CDBG monies since it is the lesser of the two amounts.
The beaming Commissioners felt it was a great day for the County and Gardner area because of the big reduction in cost for the Gardner water projects. They still need to get final confirmation that these totals will hold up but it looks good, according to the officials issuing the e-mail.
The Gardner water problems were dire until the County stepped in to save it last year and seek the funding to pay for it.
Commissioner Art Bobian gave a rundown on his trip to Washington D.C. last week as part of a group of only 70 county commissioners nationwide to meet with Washington officials on common concerns facing small counties in the country. Meanwhile, Huerfano County is working with Las Animas County and Colfax County in New Mexico on an inter-governmental agreement (IGA) to set up a regional economic strategy. Their hope is to have a formal organization in the next year or two. There will be two representatives from each county working on the strategy to bring more economic development to the region. Commissioner Art Bobian and County Administrator John Galusha will represent Huerfano County.