Cost of Granada Levee Study will Impact Town Budget

The Granada Town Board could be facing an $84,000 bill for a study on needed improvements to the town’s levees. FEMA representatives have been touring the country and the nation, providing a town by town assessment of the levee systems in each community. Granada Board members were told they’d have to conduct an engineering assessment of their levee system in order to begin repairs. Failure to do so, and a non-certified levee system would eventually mean property owners in each community would be required to purchase flood insurance. The lack of coverage could also impact future mortgages or even business loans in non-certified areas. Board member Jarene DeBono said, “The $84,000 is just to cover the cost of the study, and we don’t have an idea of what the cost of repairs and improvements will be!” She and other board members discussed a few financing alternatives, and suggested contacting the Colorado Water Board for options, as well as DOLA, Department of Local Affairs. The town has accrued about $10,000 this year and last, in a set aside account for various dyke improvements. Although the engineering firm that made first contact said the town will need to raise some levee areas by less than a foot to become certified, there is no way to judge the entire cost until an engineering firm as made a complete study.

Another water expense discussed by the board this past Wednesday, November 9, centered on the need for a new well pump and motor. The estimated cost of replacement, plus 10 sticks of four-inch galvanized pipe is about $13,000. The board approved the cost and directed John McMillan to start repairs. He told the board that the pump has quit, but he was concerned that the motor was running rough and not pulling an electrical load. He said that if just the pump is replaced, the motor will probably do future damage. The current pump was bought in 2004. The town will try to get the replacement paid by insurance, if they can prove that a lightning strike damaged the pump. The town is filling in the burn pit and digging a new pit for future use. Some signs will be posted describing what materials can and cannot be dumped at the site. The town will check on the original color of paint that was used on the old police and fire building before some renovation work is done. An information kiosk is planned at the location for tourists entering the state, and the board wants an authentic look to the building. Police Chief David Dougherty said a final $500 is needed to cover the cost of a separate sign welcoming travelers to Granada, and a request may be made to the Prowers Lodging Tax Panel or Granada Pride Committee.

A resolution was passed to establish a five member Granada Recreation Board. The Town Board decided that a separate board, operating under their own by-laws would be in the best interests of the town and to provide equal representation of all sports being played by the community’s boys and girls. Mayor Leslie Baca said the town already had seven applicants for board members. Following discussion about the establishment of the organization, length of term for members and other variables, Board Member Tom Grasmick suggested that if and when needed, the Town Board can amend the resolution as needed to fit the requirements for the new board. Town board members also passed a resolution which disbanded the Electrical Board.

Police Chief David Dougherty introduced Stephen Keith of Texas, a representative of Watch Guard security devices for police vehicles. Keith demonstrated his device which, he said, is used by over 5,000 customers, coast to coast. For $5,000, the town police department would receive two cameras to be mounted on cruisers, two microphones and two recording devices which use generic DVD’s for record keeping and court presentations. The board said they would discuss the merits of the equipment, as well as the cost during their 2012 budget discussions. Chief Dougherty and Officer Groton discussed a recent problem developing with stray dogs in the community. At present, three stray pit bull dogs are roaming the town with no evident owner, and both lawmen inquired that even if the dogs could be captured, how they would be dealt with. As the town has no pound or cage, sending the animals elsewhere in the region is the next best option, but so far, no one has been able to assist. Mayor Baca said she’d contact Lamar officials to see if their pound could be used or if they could offer suggestions. Chief Dougherty asked for advisement for over-crowding in the town’s evidence/storage room. Some of the more dated items, such as non-working computer equipment can be properly disposed of, but Dougherty said any evidence material should not be co-mingled with other items. One suggestion was to build a 12 by 12 cage to separate the items, as well as some shelving in the room.

The issue of fencing off junked cars and derelict equipment was addressed when Granada resident Denise Tirado said she felt she had been singled out from other residents, during her efforts to construct a fence to cover vehicles on her property. Passing around photographs of other delinquent property owners, she asked, “Why haven’t others been given letters or notices when they have junk on their land, too?” she asked the board. Letters are sent when a non-operable, uninsured and unlicensed vehicle is not moved after notification from the police. Property owners can either build a fence or get the vehicle up to code. Chief Dougherty said he’s sent out 18 letters last year and so far, 22 letters this year, but a mass mailing does not work. Officer Groton explained that now that he is on the force, matters can proceed more quickly, with both lawmen sectioning off the town. Tirado was given an extension to November 15 to comply. Helen Mendosa appears before the board with a similar question. She said she’s putting up a fence in sections, but had a question over property boundaries. She said a survey would be too costly right now, and was told she had the option of fencing in just the specific vehicles, and not her entire yard. She too, was given an extension on her project. The board tabled a request from Glenda Tyree, to have a “Dead End” sign posted on the corner of Grooms and Snowden Streets. Apparently a culvert was built over a ditch that now allows through passage to her property. Vacating the street is an option the board will consider at their next meeting.

In other action, the board ratified an email vote on the annual Christmas Tree lighting on December 1. They approved the expenditure of approximately $1,000 for new billing software for the city clerk that will be used for payroll, utilities, water and other functions. Tentative approval was given to hiring a temporary, part-time worker from Rocky Mountain SER, once her hours and duties were ironed out. The board also decided to invite the Prowers County Commissioners to a budget work session this month, to determine a course of action over a contract with Prowers Count Senior Utilities and the town complex rental. Coach Gonzales and members of his high school civics class were in the audience, Wednesday evening, getting a first-hand look at town government in operation.

By Russ Baldwin









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