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Walsenburg discuesses plans for Martin Lake water

by Brian Orr

WALSENBURG- The Walsenburg City Council eked out a quorum Tuesday evening with four out of nine members away at other meetings or on vacation.  One of the main topics of discussion was water.

    City Administrator Alan Hein told the Council that the drawdown on Martin Lake should begin on Oct. 15, and take 45 days to complete.  At that time, work to replace the aging dam valve will  begin in earnest.

    As Martin Lake’s water flows downstream, Walsenburg has signed storage agreements with the Cuchara and Holita reservoirs. Later, when the Cuchara and Holita reservoirs get their ‘call’ for their share of Cuchara river water, Walsenburg will use their share to help refill Martin Lake.

    The Huajatolla Valley Estates group had hoped that Walsenburg was just going to let that water roll downstream unchecked, and were hoping to buy one-time augmentation rights to put towards their own water debt.  Board members Jessica Newton and Lonnie Brown were disappointed to learn Walsenburg was planning to catch all the water.

    Councilman James England was ready to play Let’s Make a Deal however, noting that Walsenburg was in the rare position of having enough water that it could offer augmentation- for a price.  With the Oct. 15 drawdown deadline looming, the Council authorized Mayor Edi Sheldon and City Administrator Hein to sit down with the HVE Board and negotiate a mutually satisfactory price for 14 acre-feet of water.

    In other City business, three Walsenburg citizens- Sally Hix, Sylvie Tafoya and Oress DeHererra- were sworn in by Walsenburg Judge James Lusero on to the city’s Grievance Committee.

    The Board adopted the draft of the  Inter-Governmental Agreement with the County for the Regional Building Authority’s building contractor’s licencing procedures.  Slight changes were discussed, and a big thank you went out the members of the RBA for all their hard work.

    Alisha Bryant came before the Council to request  a letter of support for building a skate park on the unused tennis courts at City park.  The Council agreed, and hoped their grassroot groups fundraising efforts would lead to a whole recreation area next to the Walsenburg Wild Waters.

    Finally, the council accepted the rough draft of the 2010 proposed budget.