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Population continues to plummet in Huerfano County

by Larry Patrick
WALSENBURG- The population of Huerfano County is estimated to have dropped nearly 3% since the 2010 census was taken two years ago this month. According to the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) State Demography Office, the population has gone down from 6,711 in April of 2010 to 6,475 in July of 2011, the latest figures available.
The discussion came up at the Huerfano County Commissioners meeting on Wednesday. Chairman Scott King said the lack of jobs in the County is having a continued negative impact on the downward population trend. Also accounting for a drop in population is the aging population of residents in Huerfano County. There were 58 deaths during that 15 month period. Huerfano County has the oldest average age population in Colorado.
The population of Huerfano County was near 8,000 in the 2000 census. The closing of the CCA prison two years ago affected the population as prisoners in a county are counted as citizens. That was a net loss of around 700 in the population count. Some CCA employees also left for other positions in the company which further reduced the population numbers.
In other news, the commissioners received learned from Gerge Tinker of County Technical Services Inc (CTSI) , the county’s insurance carrier, will issue refunds on premiums due to good property and casualty, and workmen’s compensation safety records. Chairman Scott King thanked the county supervisors and employees for the good safety record.
The DA’s office is going forward in its prosecution of Ron McWillis, who was charged with poaching last year. McWillis’s alleged action is subject to Samson’s Law, which could assess fines of $20,000, if McWillis is convicted on the charges of poaching two trophy elk north of Walsenburg.

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