The issue to sell Granada’s electricity distribution assets to SECPA, Southeast Colorado Power Association, will appear on the November 8th General Election ballot. A similar vote was defeated in a town wide election in April of 2014 by a vote of 53 to 30. The sale price two years ago was $475,000 and has increased to $600,000 for a single cash payment for 2016. In the new offer, residents will also receive a one-time bill credit from SECPA, broken into residential and small and large commercial categories. An electricity franchise fee would also be paid to Granada for general administrative costs. The town currently purchases its power from SECPA and resells it to local customers. The Granada town government derives its operating expenses from the proceeds of the electric sales. If the sale of the assets is approved, the town’s annual operational expenses will be maintained by the $600,000 lump sum. Pros and cons for the sale were discussed during a public work session at the Granada Complex prior to the October 12th Trustee monthly meeting. Trustees also discussed which areas of the town budget could be reduced in the event of the sale of the utilities. A rough estimate of $100,000 in cuts was discussed.
The Trustees discussed the costs associated with the proposal for revamping the town’s water infrastructure system, outlined by GMS engineers earlier this spring and summer, but tabled the matter pending additional information on how to pay for the $1,748,000 bill. The town’s share would be $618,000 which could be paid for through grants, provided they are awarded. In-kind contributions to the project, such as town construction equipment, could also help fund the project by another $65,000. Several of the Trustees said they’d contact Stephanie Gonzales of SECED, for information on the grants.
Trustee Argie Thrall told the board he had visited with LAWMA officials regarding the closing of the XY ditch which runs through a portion of the town. “The ditch will never be used again or filled with water,” he said, adding, “they can’t transfer water from the well into the ditch and the transport is old and unusable.” Thrall said he viewed maps which show the ditch is on city property and borders abandoned streets and alleyways. The best case scenario will be; fill the ditch which would allow property owners to increase their property lines to meet in the middle of the ditch. Filling the ditch would also eliminate trash that collects at the bottom.
Granada Police Chief, David Dougherty, discussed options for ticketing motorists speeding through the town on main highways. He said he allows a rule-of-thumb, grace period, depending on speed reductions by the time a driver has reached a reduced speed limit sign. Dougherty said he’s also considering citations for residents using golf carts or ATVs to travel the streets in the evenings and will issue warnings first. He explained the same rule will hold for unlicensed or at-large dogs, a first warning followed by a citation for the second offense.
Lamar Community College President, Dr. Linda Lujan and Chad de Bono, VP of Enrollment Services, briefly addressed the Trustees during the Wednesday evening meeting. Lujan, who has been the LCC president for the past three months, has been on a fact-finding mission among the four counties served by the college, listening to concerns and issues among local residents. “We’re looking for ideas and comments regarding our curriculum and our performance at the college,” she explained, adding that suggestions have included emphasizing skilled trades and greater involvement in teacher’s preparation for high schools in southeast Colorado. “The college is planning to revamp our construction technology program to create more pathways for students in areas such as plumbing and electricians, as well as auto body repair, a course that was offered several years ago,” she said. Lujan added that these courses will follow an apprentice program and from there, to journeyman status. The president noted that she’s been communication with other colleges for short-term adult studies than can be taught online or during the weekend.
The Trustees approved the use of the Complex for a youth Halloween party on October 29th and there will be about eight adult supervisors on hand. Once students leave they won’t be able to return and parents will be notified of their departure. Plans are underway for a November party that will include fund-raising donations at the door for personal grooming items as well as socks, shampoos, soaps and so forth.
Mayor Pro-tem, Glenn Otto, read a letter of resignation from former mayor C.W. Deforest who is stepping down because he no longer resides within the community.
By Russ Baldwin
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