Posted by Shellie Peterson
Ronnie Maez, Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners, was our speaker last week.  Mr. Maez indicated that the Commissioners had reached the decision to utilize a financing instrument known as Certificates of Participation to provide the means to construct a jail facility on property donated by the Harman family in Harman Park.
Mr. Maez went on to report that currently the County is spending between $800,000 to $850,000 to house inmates and those awaiting trial in the La Plata County jail facility.  A Sales Tax Increase was voted down by the people in November so there will be no new funds to pay for the project, Mr. Maez indicated that it would have to be paid for by cutting other services.  He suggested that after a period of time, it may be possible to go back to the voters, perhaps in harmony with the Town, to ask for an increase in Sales Taxes to provide funding.    He also added that currently the County is spending about $30,00 to rent space for the Health and Human Services Department from the Town of Pagosa Springs and the town has already indicated that they will need that space in the not to distant future.  Which presents an additional challenge as well as additional space needed by the Treasurer, Clerk and Assessor.
Mr. Maez also indicated that a grant to study the existing Archuleta County Court building had been obtained from the State Court System.  The study will hopefully determine if the building is sound enough to warrant further investment.  Also to be determined is if the building may be sound enough for other commercial purposes but not meet the standards required for a court facility.  
There were a number of questions and comments regarding the November election and the process by which the Commissioners put the jail issue to a vote.  Mr. Maez reiterated that there are constraints to the type and timing of the kind of advertising the Commissioners are allowed to do after a resolution to place an issue on the ballot has been passed.