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Council takes another step in annexation bid

by Eric Mullens
WJ  250x55WALSENBURG —  The Walsenburg City Council unanimously approved an ordinance and resolution concerning the First Ranch Annexation in a special session Tuesday, August 25.
The eight members attending the session passed Ordinance 1075, which annexes 550.24 acres of the city-owned ranch into the city limits of Walsenburg.  The vote came during the council meeting portion of the evening following a public hearing on the issue.  
Walsenburg City Administrator David Johnston was the only person to testify during the public hearing, questioned by municipal attorney Dan Hyatt regarding the findings of fact laid out in Resolution 2015-R-23; which was also unanimously approved in the special session.
The ordinance appears in full in the legals section of today’s World Journal, and will come back before the city council in another scheduled special session on September 9th.  The city council will meet in regular session the day before, but adminstration wants to ensure the legal timelines are met, thus the scheduled special session was necessary.  Following the special session, if the ordinance is approved as expected on second reading, there will be a 30-day period before the ordinance goes into effect.
Michael McCoy representing Martra Holdings attended the special meeting this week but did not testify.  McCoy, in response to a question concerning closing on the company’s purchase of land on the city ranch, said he estimated that date would be around October 9, 2015.
Council also passed Resolution 2015-R-24 making some changes to the city’s personnel handbook regarding paydays in relation to holidays and approving a specific dollar amount uniform and equipment stipend for police officers who have been employed with the city at least one year.  Councilman John Salazar II, a Walsenburg police officer, abstained from the vote. Resolution 2015-R-25 was approved in an 8-0 vote that calls for establishment of a Public Improvement Fund bank account for money raised through the PIF from Northlands businesses.
Council election news
Walsenburg residents Gregory Daniels and Troy Reeves have turned in petitions for the council election in Ward One; incumbent Clint Boehler’s current term will expire in 2017.  Dennis Hoyt turned in his petition for Ward Two; incumbent Craig Lessar’s term expires in 2017.  John Salazar and Don Lewis, both serving on city council via appointment in Ward Three, have turned in petitions to run for the open seat this November.  Incumbent Charles Montoya’s term expires in 2017. Incumbents Mayor James Eccher, Clerk Wanda Britt and Treasurer James Moore have turned in election paperwork and are unopposed for their respective offices.
Official write-in candidates have until August 31 to file the paperwork necessary to have a blank write in line included in the 2015 city council ballot.

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