by Larry Patrick
WALSENBURG- Arizona prisoners began leaving the CCA prison in Walsenburg this week and will continue to do so through March 22nd. Along with the prisoners go the hopes of getting 6.3 million dollars in federal aid from the 2010 Census count. The official Census Day is April 1 to count everyone in a community they are located in. The 700 CCA prisoners will be back in Arizona, meaning Huerfano County will get zilch for them.
Bob Kurtz, CCA Prison administrator, told the County Coalition last week that the prison is being readied for closing by April 2. He told those in attendance that there is currently nothing in the works to bringing additional prisoners back to the facility. However, they are keeping a skeleton crew for maintenance and security in hopes that the CCA facility may reopen sometime in the future.
The City of Walsenburg will begin losing utility revenue in April that will end up costing them $250,000 for the rest of the year. Also, numerous CCA employees in Walsenburg are moving to new jobs with the company in other states, others have sought work outside of the county while the rest are getting unemployment benefits while trying to find work elsewhere. All in all, the financial losses to Walsenburg and Huerfano County are mounting with the loss of 180 jobs at the prison.