by Carol Dunn
LA VETA- At an April 13 meeting in La Veta, elected officials of the City, County, Towns and fire protection districts heard a “State of the Dispatch Center” report from Don Mercier. Mercier, who has been communications director for three months, reported on sweeping changes that have taken place. Mark Brunner, Chairman of the La Veta Fire Protection District, told the Journal, “It has been a huge change having Don. He’s taken dispatch and changed it all around. It’s going well.” Entities using dispatch services are being billed $25 per call. Some of the calls logged by the Communication Center through March include : 1472 to Walsenburg Police; 628 to County Sheriff; 162 to Huerfano EMS; 108 to La Veta Marshal; 99 to Animal Control; 33 to City of Walsenburg; 25 to La Veta EMS; 22 to Walsenburg Fire; 15 to La Veta Fire; 13 to the Coroner; 8 to Gardner Fire and 7 to Gardner EMT.
There was discussion at the meeting about the possibility of installing a “Reverse 911” system in the County. Brunner said, “It’s expensive, but it would be big for this area.” Now that the public can see the positive changes that have come about in the County’s communications, several participants suggested going back to the voters in November to try again for a 1-cent sales tax to support the emergency communications system. Last year’s question failed by only 70 votes.
The County announced that the waste transfer station will open on May 1, 2009. Bagged trash will be $3 per bag, and loose household waste will cost $23 per level pickup load. For only $6 each, the station will also take electronic components, for instance old computers, monitors, TVs and microwave ovens. Gardner has agreed to participate by sponsoring a dumpster for use by town residents. La Veta trustees at the meeting were not prepared to commit to placing a dumpster in town. There is also an option for La Veta to share the cost with Walsenburg for a free or half-price clean-up day. Both topics are yet to be decided by the La Veta Town Board.