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New mayor and mayor pro tem sworn in: City Lake project underway; REO firetruck going back to showroom

Walsenburg Municipal Judge Joel Shults ( in gray jacket) administers the Oath of Office to new Walsenburg Mayor Dennis Hoyt (in red) and Mayor Pro Tem Greg Daniels Tuesday night. The terms of office expire with the November 2019 city election. Photos by Eric Mullens

by Eric Mullens

WALSENBURG — Walsenburg Municipal Judge Joel Shults Tuesday night swore Mayor Dennis Hoyt and Mayor Pro Tem Greg Daniels into office for terms that will be in effect until the November 2019 municipal election.

Hoyt formally resigned his position as a Ward II city council member and the full six member council decided to advertise Hoyt’s former city council position to any qualified elector residing in the ward. The position will be open and letters of interest will be accepted at city hall through Monday, January 14, with a selection expected at the following night’s regular city council meeting. City council will meet in its first regular session of 2019 on Wednesday, Jan. 2, with the second meeting set for the 15th.

Brian Lalander, who has volunteered hundreds of hours of his time on the city’s new website and on the municipal code codification project, has submitted his letter of interest in the open council seat.

City Lake Engineering Services Contract:

On a unanimous vote the city council selected RJH Consultants, Inc of Englewood, CO as the engineering oversight firm to work with Kirkland Construction, the general contractor, of the dam rehabilitation and enlargement project that is already underway.

The engineering oversight contract was included in the project cost and the city’s 2019 budget. The contract approved Tuesday night was worth $778,900. Engineer Mike Graber, P.E. a senior project manager of RJH, was on hand at the council meeting to answer any questions from council members. In their proposal RJH noted state dam safety regulations and the state engineer’s office requires engineering oversight and documentation of the project on site until completion. Graber said their final costs could be slightly higher or lower than the bid depending on the amount of work needed.

Vintage fire truck:

An item that has become near and dear to many Walsenburg residents, the fate of the 1938 REO fire truck has been resolved with formal action expected in early 2019. The city council did vote this week to immediately move the truck back to the Huerfano County Fire Protection District showroom on Main Street. City administration and the fire protection district will work together to create a document, likely an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) which will ensure the fire truck stays in Walsenburg and is reconditioned to running status so it may be used in parades or other promotional settings. “The fire truck will not be sold,” Walsenburg Administrator James Toth said. The agreement is expected to include language that protects the vehicle, in effect saying if the fire district is ever at the point they do not want the truck, it will come back to the City of Walsenburg’s inventory.

In other business:

The city council on unanimous votes approved two resolutions this week. Resolution 2018-R-17, which in effect has the city rejoin the Cuchara River basin collaborative. Council took this action regarding use of collaborative reservoirs on advice of the city’s consulting water attorney.

Resolution 2018-R-16 was also approved which names Mayor Hoyt and Mayor Pro Tem Daniels as signatories for city bank accounts as council representatives and administrator James Toth and finance director Mark Ellis as signatories as city staff representatives. In a later action in the evening, the city council unanimously voted to name Ellis to fill in as acting administrator for Toth when he is out of town. The resolution also removes former treasurer Jim Moore and current, but inactive city treasurer Craig Lessar from the check signing lists.

• On a recommendation by Gaye Davis, chairperson of the city’s historic preservation board and other board members, city council appointed Itanka Wasaka to a four year term on the board.

• Directed city attorney Dan Hyatt to proceed with the transfer of the deed for West Fifth Street to Huerfano County as part of the judicial center construction project.

• Council also directed Hyatt and administration to look at the recently approved retail and medical marijuana dispensary licenses issued to Monte Fiore LLC for their now-open operation located off of I-25 at Exit 49. A question of necessary Special Use Permits and Use By Right designations within the city’s marijuana ordinances may have been incorrect or omitted in the permitting process. Research into the issue was slated to begin Wednesday. The possible oversight was brought to city council’s attention during the public forum segment of the meeting by another retail marijuana license holder, Greg McClendon.

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