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Granada Trustees Rescind Landfill Closing Vote, Appoint Hernandez to Board

 

Mayor Otto Swears In Peter Hernandez

 

The Granada Trustees voted to rescind the decision they made on September 27th, to close the town landfill.  The new vote was taken during their October 11th monthly meeting after they had received an update from the Prowers County Commissioners who attended the Wednesday meeting.

The Trustees, as well as the Commissioners and other regional elected officials, met with John Swartout, a senior advisor to Governor Hickenlooper on the local landfill problems on September 26th.  Many smaller communities are having problems maintaining their landfills in a manner prescribed by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.  Granada, in particular, had enough violations to warrant a $52,000 fine from the state by October 1st.  Faced with that mandate, the Trustees voted to close the landfill during a special meeting held on the 27th.

A suggestion to request a moratorium on any fines or actions regarding landfills was made during the regional meeting until such time as the communities and the CDPHE were on the same page for the regulations pertaining to small landfill operations. Many of the representatives said they had received conflicting regulations from the CDPHE depending on who they had spoken with about their landfill problems.

The commissioners said efforts are underway to legislate a one year moratorium on any closings and according to Commissioner Wendy Buxton-Andrade, “The efforts are building steam. We’re getting a committee together and there is an outside organization who is offering aid.”  She said the group is composed of the Colorado Municipal League, CDPHE and Colorado Communities Incorporated and recommended the trustees not submit their landfill closing application to the state.  “I think we can save it,” she said.

Buxton-Andrade replied about the legislation, when asked by Granada Mayor, Glenn Otto, “The exemption we’re seeking is for landfills of 20 tons a day or less and Granada should be in there. There are also regulations on either a fabric or clay liner and we’re working on legislation about test wells at the landfill site.”  She added the group’s goal, among others, is to make the CDPHE aware of the impact their regulations have on small towns and how they’re restricted by their finances.  She said another goal is to have CDPHE rejoin the partnership with communities to work with them and not against.

The commissioner cautioned the Trustees that the state will not go away once their landfills have been closed. “That’s where the nightmare can begin,” she said, alluding to problems other communities have had with the CDPHE over monitoring regulations once they’ve closed their operations.  She said the lack of accountable paperwork or contract between both parties allows a different inspector to set their own stipulations.

Commissioner Grasmick told the Trustees that the state can force you to drill test wells and if there’s any contamination, they the towns are forced to finance the cleanup that will be required. He said the Trustees need to work with the Commissioners on this, “We’re fighting like heck with the state on your behalf over this problem.”  He suggested that because the last vote to close is now a matter of public record, a motion to remain open and another vote should be taken by the Trustees which would rescind their earlier action.  The motion was made and the vote was unanimous.  The Trustees thanked the commissioners for appearing at their meeting with the update and the work they had done on their behalf.

Commissioner Buxton-Andrade said she will be in Denver this Friday for a legislative update and will have some information for the Trustees, probably by Monday. Commissioner Ron Cook said the yearlong moratorium will give Granada and other towns time to work on pricing the costs of using a transfer station if it comes down to that.  “Right now, only Haswell has closed their landfill in the six county region,” he said.  Two Buttes pulled back their closing decision and has remained open.

In other action, the Trustees appointed Peter Hernandez as a replacement for Martin Jensen who resigned his seat once he had moved out of state. Hernandez will fill the remaining time left for Jensen’s term as well as his new commitment as a Trustee.

The Trustees granted a building permit to Ricardo Marquez to put a house on property on South Cline Street in town. There was discussion regarding the location of a sewer line and Marquez said the location of this house would not interfere with the line.

The Trustees will help prepare the holiday treats for area youngsters on December 3rd for the visit from Santa Claus at the Complex at 6pm on Monday, December 4th.  They also voted to purchase 101 new Led streetlights which will replace the old ones.  Police Chief, David Dougherty, suggested hiring a new reserve officer for the town, but the Trustees said they would not take any action until they had a budget meeting.  Dougherty said he’ll be attending a seminar later this month regarding victim assistance and the costs will be covered by a scholarship provided to the department.

The Complex will be used by the Bristol/Granada Cemetery District on October 19th; a private birthday party on the 21st, the NRCS annual meeting on November 11th and the Granada/Bristol Harvest Dinner on November 12th.

By Russ Baldwin

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Filed Under: City of GranadaCity of LamarCountyEnvironmentFeaturedPublic SafetyTransportationUtilities

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