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Las Animas County Commission asks for study on road closure

by Bill Knowles

TRINIDAD — After several county commission meetings, work sessions, and special meetings, the Las Animas County Commission still needs to take a closer look at the requested closure of County Road 85.5.

They approved, with a 3-0 vote, the relocation of gates to ensure the safety of families living on 85.5, and set the times for seasonal closures of the road, and began looking at a study to be conducted next year that will determine how and by whom the road is used in an effort to arrive at a decision that is fair for all.

County Road 85.5 will be closed from the end of October to the first of June each year. The landowners along the county road will also use the gates to maintain security, with each owner placing his lock in a chain of locks so that each owner may still access the road.

Other considerations looked at the placement of signs warning of the seasonal road closure at both the south end at the New Mexico border and at the north end within Las Animas County. The relocation of the gate at the south end was also considered. If the gate is relocated it will give road users an area they can use to turn around in.

All told at the end of the discussions and the voting, the board spent around 40 minutes looking at the issue.

The passage of a 1% sales tax by Las Animas County voters last month has resulted in a frenzy of work by the county. They’ve had to send out about 1,150 letters to vendors that there is a sales tax. The county has also had to provide the state with all the information they’ve collected concerning the elections; the vote count, the special questions on the ballot, and answer questions from the state concerning the structure and the roof of the courthouse.

County administrator Priscilla “Pete” Fraser also noted there is a movement statewide for the counties to bring a lawsuit against the pharmaceutical manufactures for their role in the nationwide pandemic of opioid abuse. Statistically in Colorado, Las Animas County leads in the number of opioid overdose deaths.

The commission tabled a consideration of a jet aviation filtration and piping upgrade for Perry Stokes Airport. There were questions concerning the contractors and the bids that need to be answered, along with aspects of funding that need to be looked into such as where the funds would come from for the $13,000 filtration upgrade to the fuel pumps. The consideration was tabled with a 3-0 vote. The commission has until Dec. 19 to pass the consideration and select the bidder or they will be out of compliance with FAA regulations.

The commissioners also tabled with a 3-0 vote a consideration from Jeremy Yoder to place a 15-inch water pipe on a corner of county property just outside the wildlife fence on the south side of the airport. The pipe needs to cross the property so that two pieces of property owned by Yoder can be joined to one irrigation ditch.

The commissioners went into executive session at 12:15 pm.

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