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LAC Commission hears new airport manager

 Commissioners agree to try new County Clerk and Recorder hours

TRINIDAD — The number of items handled by the commissioners at their regular commission meeting Tuesday, Aug. 4 made it an eventful meeting. The Las Animas County Clerk and Recorderʼs office is changing its hours of operation. It is now open from 7:30 am to 5 pm. Making his first public statement, new Airport Manager Elliot Grupert gave a report on the condition of the Las Animas County Airport. He is seeking bids to repair the roof on one of the buildings and repair damage to several other buildings in preparation for a visit by Ron Neihoff from the Federal Aviation Administration. He noted clean up continues and that there is a lot of scrap metal on the property that can be recycled. Grupert is also looking for a larger mower. “It took me 12 hours to cut the grass on the unpaved runway.” He is looking for a mower with a 15-foot deck that will allow him to cut the same area in three hours. “I have, according to FAA regulations, about 1.3 million square feet of grass to cut. And I am eager to get the airport in shape.” Revenue for the

airport is generated from hanger rentals and fuel sales. Grants are used to help with maintenance of the buildings and runways. Fuel sales average about $20,000 per month. In old business, the county considered vacating 3,686 feet of County Road 52.4. During a public hearing on July 7, both sides of the issue were aired and a workshop meeting later in July allowed the commissioners to view the situation from the ground. County Road 52.4 is located west of Aguilar. Commissioner Anthony Abeyta in making a motion stated he was not an attorney or judge and did not feel right in making a decision to approve the application for vacating a section of the road. “I have empathy for the property owners,” Commissioner Abeyta said. He made a motion to deny the application. Commissioner Mack Louden made the second and agreed with Commissioner Abeyta. The motion to deny the application carried 3-0. In new business, the commissioners voted 3-0 to approve a consideration of Energy Impact Assistance Fund (EIAF) Grant 7728. The value of the grant is $658,000. The grant fund itself is $260,000 with the county putting up $398,000 in kind. The funds will go to road repair and maintenance. Commissioners also approved, voting 3-0, the purchase of 7,200 gallons of diesel fuel, awarding the $12,715 contract to La Junta Valley Fuel. Also on a 3-0 vote, the commissioners approved the appointment of Ron Rankin to a two-year term on the Las Animas County/Huerfano County Board of Health. In 2009 the state overpaid county administration reimbursements across the state a total of $7.1 million. As a result, Las Animas County owes the state around $15,000. The administration dollars went to the Department of Human Services which will see a reduction in their fund balance. The commissioners went into executive session at 10:15 am and adjourned around 10:30 am.