by Larry Patrick
WALSENBURG — Nick Faris had a proposal for the Huerfano County Commissioners on their waste transfer station after hearing that the commissioners might consider closing it if business didn’t pick up.
Commissioner Scott King quickly told Faris that the county has not entertained selling the waste transfer station and would have to take bids if they were to do so. Faris said he had ideas on turning it into a profit center. King said the county can’t just turn it over to a private business because it was built with grants funding.
Faris said there is a lot of illegal dumping continuing in the county and that a lot of it is on land owned by the Faris’s. He said, “Dumping can be stopped. It’s a disgrace and the Faris family is getting the brunt of it.”
County administrator, John Galusha said that he is checking with the two trash hauling companies serving Huerfano County to get any ideas of how the waste transfer station can be operated better. Galusha would also like to look at recycling efforts at the station.
Faris suggested the county could consider “dump passes” for citizens unable to afford the facility; offering rewards for people turning in illegal dumpers; and having the news media print more articles making people more aware of the problem.
Galusha said he has talked to the Walsenburg finance director, Dave Johnston, about the possibility of working with the city on spring and fall cleanups and splitting the cost of hauling away the refuse. The county is not meeting the volume requirements set up with Otero County for using their landfill to dump the trash from the waste transfer station.
The commissioners want to see the waste transfer station be used more and built it in hopes of preventing dumping of trash in arroyos in the county.
In other county news, Galusha said a study on building a second floor on top of the county jail to handle new courtroom facilities is not viable or feasible structurally. That is the word from Reilly Johnson Architects.
Work on runway improvements at the Spanish Peaks Airport in Walsenburg should begin this summer. The 1.9 million dollar project should be completed later this year. Commissioners said airport manager Gary Hanisch deserves much of the credit for the mostly grant-funded project.
The county and CCA prison have to restructure their agreement on property tax fees. The State of Colorado said it couldn’t authorize it as written. Galusha said the agreement is the same but will be done in two separate contracts.