Walsenburg to help fund fee for master appraiser

HUERFANO — The Walsenburg City Council will join Huerfano County and the RE-1 school district in hiring a master appraiser to help fight an assessment appeal from Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), which, if successful, could cost thousands of dollars in tax revenues for entities throughout the county.
The valuation of the prison is $27,000,000, but the owners are seeking a valuation of $15,000,000, which would cost the city $57,550 in tax revenues; $75,934 for Huerfano County and $107,031 for the school district. The $5,000 fee for master appraiser A.J. Hill, will be funded by $2,000 from the county and $1,500 each from the school district and the City of Walsenburg.
Hill will be hired to conduct a thorough appraisal of the facility, so the taxing entities will have documentation to support the prison’s current valuation.
Walsenburg was able to make the contribution due to the recent resignation of one police officer that will save the city from paying unemployment benefits.
In other business, the city council approved two Ordinances Tuesday night; one, an amendment which will open additional zones to medical marijuana related operations and another which must be in place to allow residents to purchase federal flood insurance.
The planning and zoning board recommended the change for medical marijuana businesses due to the fact the city’s zoning requirements, coupled with state regulations, made it nearly impossible for this type of business to operate anywhere adjacent to the downtown commercial district.
Council awarded the city hall complex cleaning bid to Rebecca Salazar for $500 per month ($100 lower than she received in 2013); renewed Walsenburg East Ranch Manager Joe J. Corsentino’s contract, for 10 % less than the previous year; approved liquor license renewals for Crown Lanes and Loaf & Jug, and approved a ‘housekeeping’ Resolution appropriating additional funds to defray expenses in excess of budgeted items, a routine governmental practice that comes at the end of the year, to adjust final numbers in the current year budget.
Council also approved keeping the AJ Apartments on a single master water meter as potential new owners plan a remodel of the buildings to help meet the demand of lower rent housing for adults in the community.