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Walsenburg wants to take proactive stance on water

WALSENBURG- City water attorney Tim Beaton  described the current water line situation and made recomendations in an hour-long meeting with the Walsenburg City Council Tuesday afternoon. That evening, Council voted unanimously to begin seeking a grant writer  to start the process of replacing aging raw water lines.

    The raw water lines begin at the upper storage lakes east of La Veta, then run eleven miles to the water treatment plant.  They have approximately 27 taps on them for residences, in exchange for easements across their property.  This goes against the Colorado Clean Water Act, and it will catch up to the City sooner or later.­

    City Administrator Alan Hein wants to run a water line back up the hill, sending treated water to the people currently tied-in.  He is hoping to get an engineering report done then see if the State would partner up on the project.  “This is a fairly simple project,” Hein told the council. “Not a lot of engineering to it.”        Hein also gave the council an update on the Martin Lake valve replacement project.  City officials held a meeting with State Park & Wildlife  people and the engineering firm doing the work, which went very smoothly.  The plan for water release is to clean up the old Walsenburg Ditch and send the water that way.  Water release is tentatively scheduled for late September.  The City is looking into liability issues regarding having workers working inside the proposed coffer dam.  The final hurdle for the plan is state approval.

    Hein also discussed the status of several pending grants, with the railroad depot top aming them.  Administrative Assistant Beth Neece pitched the railroad grant to the Council of Governments last week, and they report that it is at the top of their priorities.  A USDA grant has also been turned in.

    Independent Auditor Ron Farmer gave the Council his final report on the 2008 audit.  Farmer’s firm has been auditing the City’s books for 12 years, but the City is looking for another firm to do the job.

    The City received an unqualifed audit, and for the first time in five years has a positive fund balance in the general fund.  The enterprise fund balances are up and down, which is something he urges the City to get a handle on.  His final words on the matter were that getting the accounting software is finally paying off, and the City is getting inforamtion it can really use.

    In other business, Police Chief Larry Baldonado reported he plans to meet with parents and school officials about parking and police presence in the schools next year. He also reported the department has a new handler for their K-9 police dog.  Baldonado’s estimation of traffic in town is that it is no worse than when I-25 southbound traffic was diverted.