Finance and Maintenance Discussed by Granada Trustees

Granada Water Tower

Granada Water Tower

Granada will host an information session on September 19 for a gathering of elected officials and staff from Granada, Holly and the Prowers County Commissioners. Prowers County Development Incorporated Executive Director, Lance Benninghoff, told the Granada Trustees, Wednesday, September 10, DOLA and OEDIT representatives will provide information on how to qualify for a REDI Grant to help develop business projects in a community.  DOLA representative, Lee Merkel and Darci Track from the state Office of Economic Development and International Trade will offer an overview of the rural economic development program, how it works and what types of projects can be funded.

“I believe an ag-oriented project might best benefit Granada, but there is some infrastructure work that’s needed in the community and that’s one of the areas that a potential business reviews before deciding to locate,” said Benninghoff. He said the seminar can provide information for an assessment study of the community’s needs.  “It’s a competitive grant, but as much as $500,000 can be requested,” he told Granada Trustees during their monthly meeting.

The town’s need for continued maintenance weighed against budget concerns was discussed. Trustee Shannon Venturi asked board members for suggestions on hiring two full time public works positions.  “What if we upgraded our part time employee to a full time position, is that something that we could afford?” she asked.

John McMillan, the full time supervisor said, “We have some OSHA safety issues, as I can’t go up in the bucket truck alone to do tree trimming or some electrical work. Someone has to be on the ground with me.”  Granada finances have been tight, especially in the past several years, to the point that some earlier discussion on disbanding the police department to save money was optioned.  Though not completely off the table, the idea hasn’t been dismissed.  Several residents suggested  adding a match fee for the landfill use to help keep the department in Granada, or just assessing all the residents an equal amount to make up for a budget shortfall.  Mayor DeForest will contact Holly Mayor Brad Simon to see if Holly would want to discuss ideas for combining both communities under one police force.  Holly has been discussing either renewing police coverage for another year with the Prowers County Sheriff’s Office, or financing its own police department.

Combined utility fees for Granada water and electrical services came to $56,127 last month. The town receives a franchise fee for electrical sales.  There have been three applicants for the part time maintenance position and the board decided to have McMillan conduct the employment interviews.

The Trustees voted to approve the CIRSA insurance premiums for 2015, at $17009 for Liability and $7,548 for Health. A list needs to be compiled of persons who volunteer for community-oriented projects to provide them with insurance coverage.  A request from the American Legion to hold a beer garden in the park at some future point was rejected.  There are no qualifying businesses in town that have the appropriate liquor license to umbrella the event with a permit.  More effort will be made to post operating hours at the town landfill and to have it staffed when it is open.  The Trustees ratified two earlier votes to permit Debra Choat to bring in a storage building and for Madonia Aguirre to being in a mobile home.  There was sufficient funding in the budget to allow Police Chief Dougherty to spend $2,961 as the town’s share of matching funds to purchase new software for integrated communications with the Lamar Police Department, Sheriff’s Department and the county communications center.

By Russ Baldwin


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