Walsenburg Council meets via the internet in the age of COVID-19

Brief special session tests Zoom connections for future sessions; Updates on finance director position and

Lathrop Youth Camp land deal presented by administration

 

by E.E. Mullens

WALSENBURG — The Walsenburg City Council met in a 40-minute long special internet session March 31 to ensure their Zoom meeting connection was working and to receive updates from staff and administration.

Mayor Brian Lalander, council members Nick Vigil, Don Martinez, James Hudgens and Mayor Pro Tem Greg Daniels all attended with either a full video and audio connection, or in the case of Vigil, Martinez and Daniels by audio connection only.

The special session live on the internet was a test to work out any bugs in the electronic connections between individual council members and the Zoom system. City clerk Veronica Vigil and deputy city clerk Terry Martin were also online, as were a few members of the public, the local working press, and interim city administrator Greg Sund.

Sund reported the deal with the state to finally transfer the buildings at the former Lathrop Youth Camp to the city could be just days away. Sund said he believes the governor’s office, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and the city have all signed the agreement. Currently the only signature needed to complete the transaction is that of Jeremy Hill, deputy executive director of the state department of human services. There is a deal in place between the city and DHS if the buildings are needed for emergency health care response before the final agreement is signed that allows the city to lease the buildings on an interim basis for $1.

During the meeting Lalander said the federal government, state government, and health departments have set all the necessary rules and no new restrictions on social distancing above those already imposed by other authorities will be implemented by the City of Walsenburg.

Sund presented a brief overview of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act from the U.S. Department of Labor concerning new employer paid leave requirements as related to COVID-19. A local ordinance encompassing the federal guidelines is expected to be before city council at next week’s regular session on April, 7.

Sund also announced the hiring of Harry Staven of Richland, Washington, as the new city finance director. Staven is currently shopping on-line and is engaging in discussions with local real estate agents regarding the purchase of a home here. He will be working long distance until it is practical for him to relocate to the community.

The mayor and administrator both commented on the large amount of small jobs, for example pot hole repairs, city crews have been able to get done during the past two weeks.

The internet city council meeting adjourned at 6:49 p.m.

 

Walsenburg City Councilman James Hudgens attended a special meeting of the city council Tuesday evening via a Zoom connection. Council members, municipal staff, the press and some citizens all attended the 40-minute long meeting utilizing the available technology while still keeping with social distancing protocols. Photo by Eric Mullens

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