County Commissioners address variance


ALAMOSA — Wednesday Alamosa’s Board of County Commissioners had a virtual meeting in the morning hours where they collected various updates as well as addressed the variance request. In a developing situation that doesn’t seem to have any easy answers, the Board and city officials are being pulled in multiple directions.

On one side is a growing concern for the virus which seems to be peaking at the wrong time in the San Luis Valley garnering 40 new cases over the course of four days. On the other side is a struggling business sector that has been starved for customers for the past two months. Dining businesses will be given a small buoy being allowed to accept dine-in restaurants at 50% capacity since Wednesday. The Commissioners spoke on the state putting Alamosa’s variance request. Darius Allen shared a story about communicating with deciding members on the variance board listening to his concerns while not sharing the fact that they had already drafted the denial letter with him.

In the letter, the state also acknowledged Alamosa as the central hub of the San Luis Valley taking both the domestic Rakhra Mushroom outbreak and the Mountain King Spud Grower outbreak in Saguache County into their consideration of Alamosa’s variance. Something that struck a chord with Allen, “All of a sudden we’re responsible for the whole San Luis Valley.” The Board took public comment which pressed the Board to advocate for the ‘non-essential businesses’ at the June 1 deadline for Phase 2 of reopening, Safer at Home.

Alamosa Public Health Director, Della Cox-Viera, fielded the question stating that a meeting with the acting advocacy body with the State Health Department and Governor’s office later that day. Alamosa Noxious Weed Control’s Brian Maestas delivered an update to the board. Maestas declared that they had brought on seasonal help and placed a proposal with CDOT to spray 33.5 miles to see earnings of $11,725 when completed. Department of Human Services delivered by Catherine Salazar, painted a picture of a $1.68 million expenditure against a $1.77 million revenue stream for the month, which Salazar credited to April property taxes being paid.

Salazar shared that the expectation is that moving forward that will slow down significantly. But the outlook was positive. Tax based relief was spared from cuts and Alamosa was fully funded under tax-based relief, which Salazar estimated could mean a potential $500 thousand dollar shortfall for the county.

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