by Eric Mullens
WALSENBURG — The Huerfano County Commissioners this week unanimously voted in favor of a resolution that supports the county hospital district’s mill levy increase question that goes before voters in the May election, noting how important the hospital and state veterans nursing home are to the local economy.
Resolution 18-35 says the board of the county commissioners supports the 3.5 mills for all real and personal property for the Huerfano County Hospital District. “Whereas, the Board of County Commissioners is of the opinion that it is in the best interest of the citizens of Huerfano County to support a general mill levy increase of 3.5 mills for the purpose of increasing the revenue and resources of the Huerfano County Hospital District,” said the resolution passed Tuesday. “Even though I’m against tax increases, I support this for the vets home and hospital,” said commission chairman Ray Garcia.
Spanish Peaks Regional Health Center and Spanish Peaks Veterans Community Living Center are the largest employers in Huerfano County and the loss or downsizing of either, or both facilities would have adverse effects on not only available health care, but on the general economy of the county.
The mail-out ballots for the hospital district election, which includes the mill levy question and selection of three board members out of a field of 12 candidates will be sent to eligible voters on April 16.
The commissioners approved the plan of Scott Walker and Pharm Aid Pharms to establish an outdoor marijuana cultivation project at their location approximately 20 miles northeast of Walsenburg. The commissioners approval will include an amendment to the firm’s Conditional Use Permit # 17-019 regarding the 1,000 foot setback rule, and will allow plants started in greenhouses to be moved to a three acre outdoor site that is fully hidden from any county road view. Walker will have to obtain letters of support from adjacent land owners and will be allowed to use a construction trailer and portable restroom facilities at the site until the end of 2018. The county planning and zoning board recommended approval of the request following Walker’s presentation to them last week.
In other marijuana related business, the commissioners Tuesday also approved Temporary Use Permit 18-006 for the upcoming August 2018 Colorado Invitational (Bong-A-Thon) to be held at the Hummingbird Ranch. The event is for cannabis industry members and will be held at the ranch for the second year in a row. Organizer Christine Gillson said she expects no more than 600 attendees over the August 3 through 5 event, and commented at the meeting that “Hummingbird Ranch is ideal for this event.” Final approval of the permit will be granted when all conditions from the 2017 event are met and approved by the planning office. Some of the plans Gillson must have in place include potable water, solid waste disposal, medical and security contracts, sound control (music amplification) and notification of county fire chiefs, especially in regard to open fires if conditions warrant any county imposed burning restrictions. Bands playing at the event will have to cease the performances at 11 pm each night.
In other business:
• The commissioners agreed to write a letter of support for a phase two grant application regarding the historic Roof & Dick building in downtown Walsenburg that currently is the home to the Museum of Friends. Maria Cocchiarelli-Berger made the request to the board and said the letter would need to be completed to meet the current grant deadline.
• The commissioners also approved a letter of support to the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance on behalf of La Veta Trails.
• The board approved a total $2,885 in expenditures for ceiling tile and insulation replacement for the community center in Walsenburg with Common Construction. They approved a $1,780 expenditure with the same firm (winning bid) for ceiling repair, tile replacement and painting of the ceiling in the courtroom at the county courthouse. While exact tile matches are no longer available, there have been some tiles located within the courthouse in other rooms that may be utilized. The repair work is due to water leak damage and age.
• The commissioners unanimously approved Resolution 18-34; which proclaims March 31, 2018 as Robert L. Maldonado Day in Huerfano County as recognition of his U.S. Army service in Germany, Europe and Vietnam. During his enlistment as an Army Specialist, Maldonado was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal and the Sharpshooter Marksmanship Badge.