by Carol Dunn
CUCHARA- Bob Reece of Summit Solutions Marketing Group was on hand at the January 9 meeting of the Cucharas Sanitation and Water District to recommend that the District install a web-cam and weather station on the District’s office building. A web-cam is a camera that takes continuous footage of an area, in this case the Cuchara valley, and broadcasts it on the Internet. Reece said the camera, operating 24 hours a day and seven days a week, would be a “window on the world,” encouraging more visitors and economic activity for the area. “This view is what I call an ever-changing picture postcard,” Reece said. Chairman Leon Skaggs pointed out to Reece and the audience that the District has “no fluff in the budget” and would need to reallocate operating reserve funds if the Board determines that such a plan is useful as a public service. Reece also encouraged the District to refresh its web site to improve the experience for visitors to the site. Director Jim Howard expressed his concern that the District’s computer records be isolated and protected from the security issues of having the camera linked to the District’s computer network. Director Dan Brewer added that the District should obtain two other bids for the web-cam/weather station plan, in order to shop prices. The Board voted to look at the information, consult the District’s attorneys, consider the security issues, and postpone a decision until the Board is ready. Chairman Skaggs said, “I think we’re all in favor of this, mainly from a customer service standpoint.” Director Bob White added, “We’re several months away from a decision.”
December was “uneventful” through the eyes of Bob Northup, General Manager, who has seen his share of busy. “We did a lot of snowplowing,” he told the Board. A new flow meter was installed at the wastewater plant, and only two freeze/breaks were discovered at the ski resort. The Board agreed that was fortunate; in past years there have been as many as fifteen to seventeen breaks in December as cold winter temperatures settle in. Northup reported there are four water leaks, or “bleeders,” at the Spanish Peaks subdivision resulting in a loss of about 20,000 gallons of water per day. That subdivision, he told the Board, has some of the oldest portions of the District’s water system. Northup said the next major project the District undertakes will be to address water line bleeders.
The Board reviewed a comparison of District annual operating expenses for the past ten years, noting that 2008 expenses were lower in some categories and higher in others, like utilities and transportation. Overall, the Board members expressed their satisfaction with the financial situation. “In a team that works together, you get things done in a more economical manner,” said Chairman Skaggs. “I’m quite proud of you guys.”
Skaggs gave details of the Board’s last executive session, during which the District’s certificates of deposit were discussed. According to Skaggs, the District has three “jumbo” CDs over $100,000, and the Board endeavors to keep the funds invested at the local banks in Huerfano County. Skaggs reported that one CD was renewed at 4.2% and, after some finagling with the management of Community Banks, the second was renewed at 3.4% and the third at 3.5%.
The Cuchara Chapel Association sent letters of appreciation to District staff for their assistance in providing five dump truck loads of fill dirt for the new “Memorial Walk” sidewalk/ramp at the chapel. “When we have the time and the wherewithal, we do things like this for the good of the community,” said Chairman Skaggs.