County Hears Holly Saddle Club Building Project, Receives ARPA Update


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The Prowers County Commissioners have offered an initial letter of support to the Holly Saddle Club, which plans to secure funding for the construction of an indoor/outdoor community pavilion at the Holly Racetrack fairgrounds.  The commissioners discussed an outline of the project which includes a 120 by 80 foot pavilion featuring a community kitchen, concession, restrooms and shower facilities.  Another 30 foot roofed addition would be used for outdoor gatherings. 

Saddle Club members, Kammie Cathcart and Jerome Seufer and Holly Town Administrator, Marsha Willhite said the concept would be brought before the Board of Trustees for their input on the project.  An intergovernmental agreement between Holly and the County would be required on the administration of the project, although all concerned felt that the grant applications would best be handled through Holly offices.  Commissioner Chairman, Joe Marble said, “We’ll be able to offer in kind support, particularly earth moving and dirt fill for the project, but I believe the grant needs to be approved before the county can become officially involved.”    The Saddle Club will also apply for a non-profit 501C3 designation to help secure the funds from GOCO and other sources.  Although the building would be used for Club purposes, the facilities would be available for a host of community events. 

ARPA General Manager, Rick Rigel, met to update the commissioners on the latest developments with the power authority.  Rigel said the company is in better financial shape this year than it has been in the past, but despite requests for lower rates, ARPA will not be able to consider such a move.  “We’re looking at cost increases from various areas,” he said and pointed out one example, “Major suppliers such as Xcel and Black Hills are making adjustments on some of their grandfathered transmission fees.  Black Hills is terminating a grandfathered 1980 contract for transmission service into Las Animas which means we’ll have to pay out an extra $100,000 a year for transmission costs on new contracts.”  He said it will also mean a cost of about $16,000 to the Las Animas community per year.  Regarding the Lamar Repowering Project, Rigel said the boiler design manufacturer, Babcock and Wilcox has engineered a fix for meeting the emissions standards, but they are refusing to pay for the costs of the additional equipment to implement the repairs.  Rigel said that right now that cost obligation is the sticking point between the designers and the ARPA board.  There are other financial settlements B & W needs to resolve with ARPA and Rigel said there won’t be any repairs made to the light plant until those issues are settled.  He said the lawsuit between Trinidad and ARPA over the cost of the Repowering Project have been put on hold until February 2014 because of trial date conflicts.  He said that through discussions, in the meantime, the suit could be settled before it goes to trial. 

Several meeting dates were set by the commissioners to finalize the 2014 county budget.  Janet Lundy, County Finance Director and Budget Officer said next year’s budget will need to incorporate $70,000 for new voting machines, as the state secretary has stipulated that every county in Colorado will use the same type of equipment by next year.  Budget talks will begin in mid October to come up with sufficient funding or cuts to balance next year’s budget.  Revenues for 2014 are projected at $17,633,000 while expenses are currently set at $18,318,888.  Approximately 30% of the budget funds are discretionary, leaving the balance at fixed, mandated expenses.

Commissioners with Theresa Butler and Sam Rink

Commissioners with Theresa Butler and Sam Rink

Lacey Mann, CSU Area Extension Agent presented two officers from the 4-H group, Theresa Butler and Sam Rink, as the commissioners gave official designation to National 4H Week for 2013.  The annual Liquor/Beer license renewal application for the BPOE Lodge 1319 Lamar Elks was approved.  The commissioners approved an annual memorandum of understanding for control of confidential data from the State Department of Revenue.  County Clerk Jana Coen was appointed to oversee confidential information on various tax payments in the county.

Approval for use of the Prowers County fairgrounds was granted to Jack Martin of Cowboy Evangelism Ministries for their annual supporter appreciation dinner in early November.  Lawrence Brase received a rental agreement for the fairgrounds for next May for the annual Southeast Colorado Shrine Club Circus. 

As this year’s November general election will be by mail in ballot only, the County Clerk and Recorder’s duties and those of the election judges will require a secure and locked room.  Beginning October 24 and until all the results of the election have been confirmed, by mid to late November, the Commissioners meetings will be held at the Lamar Senior Center on East Olive Street.

By Russ Baldwin


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