Walsenburg annexes Northlands…almost

by Brian Orr

WALSENBURG- Oh so close… the Walsenburg City Council voted Tuesday evening on Ordinance 975 to formally annex and incorporate the Northlands block of property.   Consisting of over 500 acres, it will be zoned concurrently into city districts “that most closely resemble the existing county zoning for each respective parcel.”  The final vote to seal the deal will be at the next City Council on July 15.

    City Councilman Larry Patrick, who heads the finance committee, reported that the outside auditing team was nearly done with this year’s audit, and Patrick expected the City to receive an unqualified assessment.  The auditing firm pointed out some areas where the City’s books needed improvement, but with the new bookkeeping software system in place, it should be ‘clean’ by next year.  The final report will be presented to the Council in August.

    In other City business, the Council heard from Carolyn Newman of the Scenic Highway of Legends, who asked the Council to honor a pledge made in 2006 to donate $2,000 towards a matching grant the Highway Board was putting together.  Mayor Edi Sheldon informed Newman that according to state law, a previous City Council cannot indenture a future City Council.  That being said, the current City Council voted to donate the requested $2,000, which will be used for signage along the Scenic Highway to explain what exactly the ‘Legends’ are.

    City Administrator Eric Pearson told the Council that the new mosquito sprayer the City ordered should be here next week.  It is a smaller and quieter unit, and will begin spraying twice a week during the evening.

    Pearson also reported that Ranch Manager Butch Corsentino was busy cutting the first hay crop on the City’s ranch, and was expecting to get $185 a ton for it; up $20 from last year’s crop.

    Wilma Martinez, representing the La Plaza de los Leones festival, came before the Council requesting a liquor license be granted for this year, and to ask the Council to once again help pay for insuring the festival.  The Council unanimously appproved both requests.

    The Council also approved renewing the liquor license for Alpine Rose.

    Councilam Lou Taylor, who chairs the Safety Committee, had initially requested a phone poll be taken to  approve the Stage One fire restrictions within Walsenburg.  City Attorney Dan Hyatt however, pointed out that to do so would require passing a specific ordinance, which requires two hearings, and essentially the City Council was out of time.  The Council voted to strongly support the county ban on fireworks, but allowed their use within city limits, while encouraging people to be responsible.  In a related topic, the Council approved a license for Duckwalls to sell fireworks.

    Mayor Sheldon brought up the idea of applying water restrictions in the City in light of the continuing drought.  Administrator Pearson pointed out that the City lakes are all full, with a year’s reserve in them.  He agreed however that prudent watering was a good goal for everyone, and that watering lawns should take place in the early morning or evening, as opposed to the heat of the day.