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Commissioners consider parks funding, fire-related expenses

Sunshades, service plan amendments and fire costs were considered at Tuesday evening’s meeting of the Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners, in addition to much discussion concerning government transparency (see related article).

During the meeting, the board approved giving up to $2,000 to be used toward the purchase of a sunshade for the playground area of Yamaguchi Park.

The request was brought to the county Parks, Recreation Open Space and Trails committee by Christine Funk, who at first proposed getting $3,000 from the county’s remaining 1A Parks and Recreation fund, but was then asked to raise approximately $1,000 toward the goal, with PROST members voting to recommend that $2,000 be given to the project.

Funk said she was able to raise $1,425 and refigured her idea for the park, finding a way to put two sunshades up at the park. Funk said if the county would be willing to up its contribution to $2,300, she would raise $200 more to buy the two shades.

County Administrator Greg Schulte noted that all projects go before the PROST committee before receiving funding, with only one sunshade on the day’s agenda, but that the request could be taken back to PROST.

Funk noted that time is of the essence, but said she wanted more for the money, stating she could buy one structure and save the project’s leftover funding for a second structure.

Commissioner Steve Wadley warned, however, that whatever decision was made, further funding was not a given, especially in light of the end of 1A and several county parks and recreation projects in the works.

The board also, per state statute, scheduled a public hearing for its Aug. 7 meeting to hear information concerning a Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District service plan amendment.

The board requested an amended service plan from PAWSD last year.

Upon the document’s filing with the county and other entities, the county is required to, within 30 days, schedule a hearing for its next regularly scheduled meeting, which is the Aug. 7 meeting.

The board also discussed the cost of recent fires within the county on the heels of a cost estimate coming in for the King Fire (in southern Archuleta County on June 19) at $42,000. The cost was discussed as the board considered a policy that would allow emergency meetings, such as in the case of a fire that demands an immediate response from the board (see related article for more information).

In response to hearing the estimated cost of the King Fire, audience member Vivian Rader asked if there were funds to help the county pay the cost.

County Administrator Greg Schulte informed the audience that the total cost of the fire is about $70,000, with the state and federal portions totaling $28,000, leaving the county to pay $42,000.

Schulte said the county has a contingency fund of $75,000, which the county will also have to use to pay for the 151 Fire (June 25), for which the county has yet to receive an estimate.

The Little Sand Fire, however, was on public land and will not cost the county beyond the use of county resources, which the county will be reimbursed for, Schulte said.

Also noted was a fire relief fund the county pays $8,000 into on an annual basis — a state fund that was depleted by early June due to fires throughout the state.

The next regular meeting of the BoCC will be Aug. 7, though a fifth-Tuesday community meeting will be held July 31 at the courthouse and will include the unveiling of the draft master plan for the county’s 95-acre tract located along U.S. 84.

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