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Informational meeting to be set on Fifth Street closure proposal

WALSENBURG — The Walsenburg City Council Tuesday night voted to hold a coordinated public meeting in the near future with the Huerfano County Commissioners to inform the public of the details of the proposal to vacate West Fifth Street to accommodate construction of a new judicial building. Commission Chairman Ray Garcia, county administrator John Galusha and commissioners Max Vezzani and Gerald Cisneros attended the meeting with an agenda item before city elected officials concerning closure of the street. Garcia presented the bulk of information in a lengthy work session concerning the proposal saying after reviewing numerous plans, the one that would see the new courts facility located adjacent to the county jail was the most cost effective choice. Gaye Davis, and Karen Wilson of the Downtown Revitalization committee strongly urged the city council to hold a meeting with the public seeking their views on the proposal. Jill Davis-Homerding, also in the audience voiced her agreement the public should have a voice in the matter. Davis said the city should make available the

preliminary drawing presented by county officials to the public so they could see the proposed configuration. It should be noted the concept drawing appeared on page one of the World Journal last week. The topic took up over an hour of the pre-meeting work session, and once into the regular meeting, Mayor Pro Tem Craig Lessar made the motion to hold the public informational meeting with county officials. The motion passed unanimously. The time, date and location will be announced soon. In regular session, the city council voted to offer the position of interim administrator to Lew Quigley at $40 per hour, plus travel expenses on a month to month basis. Following a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to adopt Ordinance 1081 that will allow for used car sales in zoned C-2 (Community Commercial District). Provisions in the amended zoning ordinance say used motor vehicle sales, leasing and service may only be done by an individual holding a current, valid motor vehicle dealer’s license or a used motor vehicle dealer’s license issued by the Colorado Motor Vehicle Dealer Board. On first reading city council unanimously voted to adopt Ordinance 1082, an amendment to Ordinance 1009 which establishes a highway special sign district. The ordinance mandates a sign must be within 600 feet of the highway right of way, affecting areas within the city limits of I-25, U.S. Hwy. 85/87 and state highways 69 and 10. Council voted unanimously to pass Resolution 2015-R-34 which appropriates additional funds to defray expenses in excess of the 2015 budget. The Internal Service Fund was increased $40,000; the Water Park Fund was increased $20,000; the Water Fund was increased $40,000, and the Sewer Fund increased $316,300. Council also directed administration to contact San Isabel Electric Association to begin negotiations on replacement of all street lights on Main Street, with an estimated cost of $120,000. Council also passed the Miners Plaza Park bids. Acting as the Walsenburg Downtown General Improvement District Board of Directors, council members voted to approve three budgetary resolutions. Ward II councilman Dennis Hoyt, who is chairman of the Downtown Revitalization Committee was not allowed to vote on the resolutions. On a 4-to-2 vote, Cathy Mullens was reappointed Walsenburg Municipal Judge. Mayor Jim Eccher and Walsenburg Police Sgt. and K9 handler John Salazar II voted against Mullens. While Hoyt was precluded from voting on the downtown GID resolutions, Salazar, whose police dog’s maintenance and expenses are funded in part by a .50¢ surcharge on every citation written by city police where the defendant is found or pleas guilty, not only was allowed to vote on the judge selection, he was also on the city’s municipal judge interview committee.