Discussion Stalls on Granada Police Department Financing



Granada Water Tower

Granada Water Tower


Stating that the Granada Trustees had listed an incorrect state statute on their August 13 meeting agenda to conduct an executive session, Granada Police Chief David Dougherty told the board that civil action might be a result if they held that session to discuss disbanding the Granada Police Department. The statute listed was CRS 24-6-402 (4) (b) which was noted on the agenda to pertain to budget/downsizing departments and various negotiation policies.  Dougherty said he had researched that specific statute which he said called for discussions with the town attorney who was not present at the Trustees meeting.  Darla Scranton Specht is Granada’s legal representative.  He said his research of the statute showed no mention of reorganizing or closing down departments.  “So, I just wanted you to be aware if you proceed with an executive session, you will be opening the town up for a potential action being filed with the Prowers County District Court against the town by a citizen injunction.”  He continued, ”If you go ahead and hold it anyway, and the matter is taken to the court, then the town can be responsible for paying all attorneys fees and court costs even if it’s not found that it has done anything wrong.  Even if it’s dismissed you can still be responsible for those fees.  Restructuring is in your purview, if that’s what you need to do, but I hope your discussion will be based on what’s best for the town as a whole and not for any views of a few people or personal agendas or anything like that.  If the executive sessions are not done correctly this could damage the town so I don’t want to see that happen.”

With that in mind, the trustees voted to table the executive session to explore their next best course of action under the statute guidelines.  This has been the third discussion regarding either eliminating or downsizing the town’s police department, based, according to the trustees, on limited town finances to continue operating the department.  Two or three dozen persons were in attendance, Wednesday, who voiced their desire to have the department continue in Granada.  Martha Medina presented trustees with copies of a 93 signature petition requesting the town to continue to operate the police department.

The Granada municipal government operates on a shoestring budget, with the trustees and town clerk stating several years ago, for example, that a new ink cartridge for their fax machine wasn’t in the budget at that particular time.  There are only a handful of retail outlets in the community for any tax revenue and most of the funding comes from utility fees paid by customers of SECPA.  Dougherty has stated that given his work hours and salary, he can’t afford to take any kind of a pay cut or hourly reduction.  The trustees have also stated at a prior meeting, they don’t believe they could find a police officer who would be willing to locate to Granada for 25 to 30 hours a week.

On another employment matter, the trustees voted to advertise for a part time helper’s position for John McMillan, town maintenance supervisor.  “Right now, I’m way behind by about two months in some areas and there are some jobs that I can’t do alone.  I need somebody during the day,” he explained to the board.  Granada had employed one individual to assist with mowing, but that individual is now working a daytime schedule for the school department.  McMillan said he would take whatever hours the trustees could afford to employ someone, with either limited hours during the day or limited days during the week to help get caught up.  McMillan said he would install a two light system at the corner of the complex to illuminate the flag and brighten the side door entrance on the northwest corner.  He said he hasn’t received any word from CDOT on the proposed purchase of approximately 12M gallons of water from the town over the life of the bypass bridge construction project east of Granada.

Joel Woelk, owner of D.W. Waste Management, asked the Trustees to consider allowing him to use the landfill as a dump site for his business operation.  Woelk said the recent rate increase from $7 to $16.25 per yard at the Lamar landfill is adding to his overhead and it’s no longer feasible to go there.  “We’re hauling around 200 yards of waste a month and would like to see if your landfill could accept a portion of that,” he inquired.  “I’m already working in this area and your landfill is only seven miles from the Lamar operation,” he explained.  Right now, he said, he does about 70 yards a month around Granada, Holly and Bristol.  He said Holly’s landfill is priced similar to Lamar.  Mayor DeForest told Woelk the Trustees will consider his proposal, but their landfill is currently working with some exemptions because they are a small scale operation.  “If we go over our limitations, the state will be back and we could lose those exemptions and eventually see the landfill get closed,” DeForest stated.  He told Woelk the Trustees will discuss their options and contact him.

Crystal Cook and Dee Melgosa, representing LiveWell Prowers County, received approval to develop a volleyball court at the town park.  They will seek a grant to fund the equipment and framework and will gather volunteers to do the construction work.  Discussion continued for moving the town’s horseshoe courts nearer to the green building on the property.  They are intended to be replaced with a pavilion and the building will be moved to Camp Amache in the future.  There was also talk about installing a soccer field adjacent to the park with funding to provide for seeding and the town to provide maintenance to the grounds.  Town Clerk Jackie Malone would explore insurance issues.

In other action, the town’s used computers will be recycled at the bi-monthly site at Thriftway in Lamar once the hard drives have been removed.  Discussion on additional pest control spraying was tabled for more information on costs as well as maintenance for the Complex’s floors.  Rentals at the Complex were approved for a September 21 birthday, the Methodist Church Harvest Dinner on November 9 and the NRCS Annual meeting on November 13.  The town will look into zoning on a request for a tornado shelter from Manual Cacique. The license for Sylwas Liquors was approved.

By Russ Baldwin


Filed Under: BusinesscommunityCountyEconomyEmploymentFeaturedGranadaHollyHot TopicsLamarLaw EnforcementProwers CountySchool


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