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Public hearing date set for city annexation

by Eric Mullens
WJ  250x55WALSENBURG —  In an 8-0 vote Tuesday night the Walsenburg City Council passed Resolution 2015-R-19 which set a public hearing date for the First Ranch Annexation Petition.  The hearing was set for 6 pm Tuesday, August 25 at City Hall.
The annexation will cover approximately 200 acres of land on the city owned ranch, plus the approximately 330 acres the city plans to sell to Martra Holdings for their marijuana growing industrial park.
In his report to the city council, Walsenburg City Administrator David Johnston said he had been busy with the annexation issue and has talked with other parties interested in bringing new businesses to the community.  But, no details of future possible annexations or potential new businesses were presented.
The city council passed four new ordinances on second reading dealing with tobacco and marijuana smoking clubs (won’t be allowed); business incentives for new commercial water and waste water tap fee waivers; putting the question of term limit elimination for the city clerk’s position before voters this November, and allowing chicken hens and rabbits to be kept within city limits.
While three of the ordinances passed unanimously; there were three no votes on the chicken hens and rabbit ordinance; Silvana Lind, Craig Lessar and John Salazar.  The ordinance will take effect 30 days from July 21 and calls for a $15 fee and compliance with all terms of the ordinance.  A number of members of LiveWell Huerfano County were present in the audience to support passage of the ordinance.
In other business, the city council voted 8-0 to enter into a multi-year contract with the Colorado Divison of Water Resources to set up a satellite-linked water resources monitoring system for the Gomez Ditch.  Council however did not pass a similar contract concerning the Lake Miriam Ditch, with Mayor Pro Tem Lessar making a motion not to move forward with this contract and instead direct administration to research other monitoring options.  The Lake Miriam Ditch only sees approximately six weeks of water flow per season.  The Gomez Ditch contract calls for a city expenditure of $8,864, plus $200 per month for seven months for operation of the monitoring system.  In addition taxpayers will have to foot the bill for construction of the guage shelter and stilling well.  This brings to a total of six monitoring stations for Walsenburg.  In making the motion to approve the contract for the Gomez Ditch monitoring system, Lessar said it was an important move to ensure the city’s water rights are protected.
Spanish Peaks Community Foundation Chairman Art Bobian appeared on behalf of the organization’s request for a special events liquor permit for the community center for the August 15, 2015 All Class Reunion.  The request passed unanimously.
An executive session was held on personnel matters and Johnston said Wednesday no action was taken.

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