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Upcoming election draws caution on future county expenditures

Staff Report

WALSENBURG— Uncertainty about the outcome of three tax-cutting ballot measures on the state ballot has Huerfano County looking twice at expenditures before the Board of County Commissioners commit themselves to any large projects.

    In question is the refurbishing of buildings the county owns and uses.  The audit from Long Energy Solutions shows a total capital outlay of over $1.7 million with the biggest expenditure being the work on the Law Enforcement Center.  Cost of repair and replacement of lighting and air handler units are quoted at $1,079,199.  Payback on energy savings will take an estimated 100.5 years.

    In the work report County Administrator John Galusha said he threw out some items because of the expense and payback time.

    “However with the Law Enforcement Center we can spend a little over one million dollars to fix the problems with the building and improve the environmental working conditions or we can spend anywhere from three to six million building an new Law Enforcement Center,” Galusha said.

    John Tate with Long Energy told the County Commissioners that Long Energy guarantees the savings but it is up to the county to decide what measures to pursue in the building work and that financing was available to the county.

    Another item looked at is the windows in the courthouse.  Studies show that outside contaminants have been migrating through the framing of the old windows, especially on the upper floor.  Retrofitting of the windows would cost over $60,000 and replacing them would cost over $143,000.  A retrofit is putting new windows behind the old ones and replacement would mean new windows.  A replacement would stop outside contaminants from entering the building and would satisfy state inspectors.

    Lennece Saracino and Delores Maes addressed the county commissioners concerning a $15,000 balance left on a $29,000 loan taken out by the now defunct Gardner Water and Sanitation District board. 

    “The old water district took out the loan and received a $150,000 grant as well and if there is a default on the loan then the grant will have to be returned also.”

    The Board of County Commissioners put any action to be taken on the loan on hold until after the election and the issue of tax-cutting measures on the ballot was decided by the voters of Colorado.

    Resolution 10-19 concerning the Cuchara Recreational Park service plan received final approval during the County Commission meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 6.  The preliminary approval from last week’s meeting was designed to allow the county to draft Resolution 10-19 which was needed to conform to county and state regulations.