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Cuchara District plans cell tower

by Carol Dunn

CUCHARA- At its June 12 meeting, the Cucharas Sanitation and Water District announced details for a Commnet Wireless cell phone tower to be placed in the Pine Haven subdivision.  “It will cover almost all the providers,” Director James Howard told the audience.  “At the very least we’ll have it if we have another situation like the hiker who fell fifty feet,” added Chairman Leon Skaggs, referring to an emergency rescue situation a week ago.  The cell tower proposal was approved by Huerfano County Planning and Zoning last week and will be considered at the Commissioners meeting on June 17.  The 60-foot tall monopole tower, a wind-resistant design, will be located beside the Pine Haven water tank.  According to the District Board, the adjacent landowner is agreeable to having the tower erected, and it does not impede her view.  Skaggs said Commnet wants to see how the first tower functions, then erect another one to cover the blank spots in coverage.  The District office has a map of the planned coverage areas for the first tower.  “The noise this thing makes is like a refrigerator in your kitchen,” Skaggs said.  “And the radiation it gives off is equivalent to a 1000 Watt microwave.”

    Dave Grove with Century Small Business updated the Board on the increase in the cost of health care insurance for the District’s six employees.  The District currently pays $66,768 per year in health insurance costs.  Grove suggested the District may want to change to a plan with a higher deductible to save costs on premiums.  Grove said the savings could be set aside in the District’s HRA account and used to pay the difference between the existing deductible of $1,000 and the suggested new deductible of $2,000 for any employee who needs it.  Director Dan Brewer commented, “Trying to keep the premium down as low as we can seems like the best thing to do.”

    General Manager Bob Northup reported that he is working on a grant application for up to $25,000 in training funds through the State.  He said engineering and design work are needed to rehab the ski resort water plant and move a 100,000 gallon water tank, and this grant could help get those projects started.

The staff is studying a sewer line on Road 402 which is at a questionable depth.  Northup added that at least ten sewer tie-ins have been completed in Pine Haven.  Work is ongoing with pressure reducing vaults in the Spanish Peaks subdivision.  Maintenance is also being done on some manholes which have surface water draining into them.  

    A resident asked the Board about possibly getting more gravel on the Pine Haven roads.  Reportedly, snow plows caused part of the problem late last year when they plowed snow and gravel after a couple large snowfalls.  Skaggs said the District staff has put some gravel on the muddy spots and has a plan.  “We’re doing what we can,” he added.

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