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Cucharas district installs new directors

by Carol Dunn

CUCHARA– As backlit morning fog crept down the mountainside in Cuchara on May 14, three Board members took the oath of office during the meeting of the Cucharas Sanitation and Water District.  Henry Harnly and Cal Sandbeck are newly elected to the Board, and James Howard was re-elected.  Chairman Leon Skaggs and the rest of the Board spent a portion of the meeting explaining to the new directors the background on District activities.

    The “old” Board handled several items of old business, including a preliminary report on the audit.  Director Gerald Van Nort told the Board the District had a net income for the year.  “Things look great,” he said.

    The Board passed resolution 2010-02, which revised the certification of delinquent accounts to the County Treasurer last November, originally certified on resolution 2009-04.  Secretary Renee Albright told the Board that Cucharas Valley Resort had made payments totaling $36,142.20 against its 2008 lien, but they did not post correctly in the District’s accounting system.  The correct amount owed by the Resort is $34,269.64, with another $15,558.09 owed by the Cuchara Lodge.

    Regarding the Water Court case involving Grandote Golf Course, Chairman Skaggs said the District will continue to work on an alternate settlement proposal to the one Dr. Randy Briggs previously submitted to the District.  Director Howard said, “When we negotiate, we win some, they win some; we lose some, they lose some.” Director Dan Brewer added, “I’m all in favor of helping out the Golf Course as long as it doesn’t hurt our position and our water.”

    General Manager Bob Northup told the Board that GMS Engineering had visited the District to gather information to do an assessment of the proposed resort water plant improvements and the Spanish Peaks sewer line extension.  Northup said, “This is the last part of the District that needs sewer service.”  He said the funding must be found after GMS issues its report and that most likely the District would “break ground” for the projects next year.

    Before he turned the gavel over to Van Nort, Skaggs said, “I want to thank all of those people who served on the last Board.” Dan Brewer also told the new directors, “You are working for the people who elected you, and they are counting on you.”

    After the new directors were seated, an election of officers was held, with Van Nort being named as Chairman, Howard as Vice-chair, Harnly as Secretary, and Bob White as Treasurer.

    Northup told the Board, “Everything that froze up last winter is finally thawed out.”  He reported that the La Veta 4th grade class toured the water and wastewater plants.  The workers comp insurance company recently conducted a safety inspection on all the District equipment, and according to Northup, “For the most part they had no complaints about any hazardous conditions.”

    Northup said he was recently approached by Huerfano County about possibly helping with the Gardner Water & Sanitation District problems, in the event the County may have to take over operation of that District.  “John Galusha asked if I could go and help them get their water quality straightened out,” Northup said, calling the water quality situation “the most important thing” to be addressed.

    At the end of the meeting, Van Nort presented a plaque to Leon Skaggs “in appreciation for 13 years of service” to the District.  Dan Brewer, who had already left the meeting, will also receive a plaque for his service.

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