by Carol Dunn
CUCHARA— At the regular meeting of the Cucharas Sanitation and Water District on January 11, General Manager Bob Northup told the board that he is getting all the preparatory details taken care of so the district can proceed with the water tank project at the Cuchara plant. Northup said all the paperwork is in place so the US Forest Service can process the permit, and the USFS only has a question about the type of equipment that will be on site during the project. The permit covers an area of USFS land 100-feet by 200-feet in size. The project will also encroach on a half-acre parcel of land owned by Red McCombs, for which Northup said the district would like to obtain a permanent utility easement. Northup passed around the easement offer so the board members could review it. A conditional use permit will also be required by Huerfano County Planning and Zoning.
Northup also reported that the staff is in the process of repairing a 35-year-old float valve at the Cuchara plant. He said a new float valve would have cost more than $2,000, but the old one only needed new O-rings, which he located for $95. “We may get another 20 years out of it,” he said.
There have been a few houses that, in Northup’s words, “froze and broke” in the past month. The employees are also figuring out the meter reading routes to cover for the regular meter reader, Larry, as he goes through chemotherapy.
The ponds involved in the district’s substitute water supply plan (SWSP) have been frozen over since November 12. Northup said he got photographs of the ponds at that time and will get another set when they start to melt in the spring. The photographs will be used as evidence of the evaporation rate, which is part of the calculation to determine the amount of augmentation water required under the SWSP.
Northup pointed out on the treasurer’s report that the cost of electricity has gone down $400 per month due to improvements at the wastewater treatment plant, in addition to the seasonal decline in residents.
In an effort to cut costs, the district office has been closed on Fridays. Northup said that only a few calls have come in on those days, and he feels the plan is working well.
The district passed a resolution that its meetings will be posted at least 72 hours in advance at the CSWD office, the Cuchara Country Store and the Cuchara Recreation Center.
Gary M. Vezzani was elected Walsenburg’s mayor in Tuesday’s special mayoral election/recall vote. Preliminary results announced Tuesday night show that both Nick Vigil in Ward