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by Eric Mullens

WALSENBURG — The Huerfano County Commissioners met in regular session Tuesday and approved a resolution that will add funds for a ‘seasoned’ felony prosecutor for the district attorney’s office for Huerfano County.

In a unanimous 3-0 vote, the commissioners approved a fiscal year 2018 increase of $63,000 to supplement the county’s annual contribution to the Third Judicial District Attorney’s Office of $133,669.

Resolution 18-09 says the commissioners would like DA Henry Solano to meet with the Huerfano County Sheriff, with the commissioners attending, once per quarter. This was added to the resolution to enhance communication between law enforcement, prosecution and the commissioners. The resolution asks the communication meetings begin in April 2018. The funds will come from a transfer from Huerfano County’s Emergency Services Fund to the General Fund.

Huerfano County Treasurer and Public Trustee Debra Reynolds presented the Public Trustee Office report for the final quarter of 2017 and an upswing in the housing market reflected good news the county’s economy. Reynolds told the commissioners there have been four foreclosures and 125 releases (people resolving property tax issues) compared to 18 overall foreclosures in the past year. The report covered the time frame ending Dec. 31, 2017. There were 27 foreclosures in Huerfano County in 2016. Reynolds also told the commissioners her office will be changing money market accounts within the Colorado State Investment Pool to CDs (Certificates of Deposit) which will increase interest rates paid on funds to the county from approximately 0.04 % to approximately 1.5 %.

In other economic news, commissioner Max Vezzani thanked both state representative Larry Crowder and Lola Spradley for their efforts to get the temporary contract to hold 250 prisoners at the Huerfano County Correctional Center while remodeling takes place at a Canon City facility. The prison is owned by CoreCivic, formerly known as Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). Vezzani said he hopes the contract will last for up to two years as the state remodels the other prison.

In other business: • Unanimously approved Resolution 18-08 proclaiming Jan. 28, 2018 Robert M. Serrato Day in Huerfano County in recognition of his U.S. Army service in Vietnam. “I’m proud to accept this in the name of the 5th Infantry Division and the men who served and gave their lives,” Serrato said. Serrato was a Specialist and was decorated with the Bronze Star, the National Defense Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Combat Infantry Badge, Army Commendation Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross and a Unit Citation award.

• The commissioners approved the Cuchara Mountain Park Advisory Committee bylaws in a 3-0 vote.

• The commissioners unanimously approved Resolution 18-10 appointing and reappointment members to the CMP advisory committee. The appointments included: Lois Adams, Sue Alt, Bob Bennhoff, AnnaLee Hickey, Janet Richards, Bill Coppola, Bob Kennemer, Jim Littlefield, and Mike Moore. The commissioners also approved Dennis Hoyt as a liaison representing Huerfano County Parks and Recreation and Shannon Shrout as the liaison representing Cuchara Sanitation and Water District.

• Approved a consulting contract with Sno Engineering Group (SE Group) who will advise on the CMP strategic plan. The county will contribute $5,000 towards the overall $40,000 contract while a DOLA grant will fund $20,000. The remaining cost will be funded by the Virginia Wellington Cabot Foundation and the Cuchara Foundation with contributions of $5,000 each.

• Approved a grant application for $25,000 for master planning funds for the proposed new judicial center.

• Approved the local PILT application for $941.52 from Colorado Parks and Wildlife for state owned property that cannot be taxed by the county. • Approved the grant application through the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management which funds, in part, the salary for the county emergency manager, Larry Sanders.

Vietnam veteran Robert M. Serrato accepts the congratulations and proclamation marking Jan. 28, 2018 as a day of recognition in his honor as a Huerfano County veteran from the county commissioners Tuesday. Serrato said he was proud to accept the honor in the name of the men he served with, and those who lost their lives in the conflict, who served with him in the 5th Infantry Division. Pictured left to right; commissioner Gerald Cisneros, commissioner Ray Garcia, Serrato, and commissioner Max Vezzani. Photo by Eric Mullens.

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