City of Walsenburg’s changing of the guard
by Bill Knowles
WALSENBURG — The first city council meeting of 2012 saw a changing of the guard as Mayor-elect Larry Patrick and Council member-elect James Baca were sworn in by 3rd District Court Judge Claude Appel.
In a closing statement, Mayor Patrick spoke about the contrast between an optimist and a pessimist. He cited the new Spanish Peaks Library and the expansion and remodeling work at the Veteran’s Nursing Home as two examples of optimism at work. “They succeeded because they had vision.” He said that Walsenburg should be a leader in the economic development of the county because it has the land, the water, and many other resources it can lend towards that goal.
He credited past city councils as having put the wheels of economic development in motion, and recognized the efforts of citizens in providing “the fuel to keep it moving.”
In a comment to the Huerfano World Journal, Patrick said he had worked very hard on a previous city council and was glad he has the opportunity to see some of those projects move forward. “The number one thing for me is the Northlands area, because I believe that can solve several different problems we have. And it is very rare that you can take one issue and have it take care of a number of different problems that have been plaguing the city of Walsenburg for a number of years.”
Other issues the mayor hopes to tackle are the raw water line along Highway 160, repair or replacement of the water tank, road repairs and helping out the downtown businesses.
Council member Craig Lessar retained his position as Mayor Pro Tem on a 6-2 vote. Lessar abstained from voting. He’s held the position for the past two years under former mayor Bruce Quintana.
In a unanimous vote, the city council awarded the newspaper of record contract to the Huerfano World Journal. Patrick abstained from the vote as he works for the newspaper.
The council, on a 9-0 vote, chose to retain current City Attorney Dan Hyatt. Hyatt has served as the city’s attorney for about six years. He has served as a City Adminstrator for Rocky Ford and city councilman in La Junta.
Cathy Mullens was chosen, on a 9-0 vote, to be the Municipal Judge for the city, replacing James Lusero. Mullens had served briefly as the city’s judge in 2004. She has extensive experience serving as both a deputy district attorney in the San Luis Valley and she served a term, from 1992-1996, as the district attorney in the San Luis Valley.
She has also served, from 1998-2004, as the deputy district attorney in Huerfano and Las Animas Counties and as deputy district attorney in Pueblo County from 2005-2008.
The City Council voted 8-1 to re-advertise for the position of city treasurer. The only letter of interest for the position was from former council member Dave Mockmore. However the letter arrived after the deadline and the council will open up the process again.
The new mayor will also sit on the city’s planning committee. Two council members, Gary Sporcich and Rick Jennings, were re-appointed to their seats on the committee. The mayor appointed Jennings and the council selected Sporcich on a 9-0 vote. This left one seat that was to be filled by a vote of the city council.
Two letters of interest for the empty seat on the planning committee were received. Stephen Savageau and David Roesch were the interested parties. The council, after hearing from each candidate voted 6 to 3 in favor of Savageau.
Rebecca Salazar won the bid to clean City Hall. Her bid of $600 per month fell in the middle of the three bids received by the council.