The Otero County Commissioners, meeting in regular session on Monday, learned from County Administrator Jean Hinkle the sole bid for the remodel of the restrooms at the 4-H Barn on the Arkansas Valley Fairgrounds has to be rejected.

The Otero County Commissioners, meeting in regular session on Monday, learned from County Administrator Jean Hinkle the sole bid for the remodel of the restrooms at the 4-H Barn on the Arkansas Valley Fairgrounds has to be rejected. That bid is from Bassett Construction. The Bassett bid was $123,798 and outdoor lighting had to be added for $879, for a total of $124,677. They would need 60 days to complete the project after the building permit is secured. Hinkle rejected the bid because it would interfere with the building’s use during the Arkansas Valley Fair.

Hinkle thought the restrooms would be a good project to apply for to Greater Outdoor Colorado, since the barn is a recreational facility. Applications for matching grants are available in July, due in November and awarded in March 2018. Economic Development Director Danelle Berg also suggested another source for grant money, and Chairman Kevin Karney suggested the offices might be included in a grant through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The projects may also be eligible for renewable energy grant for the LED lights. So it’s back to the drawing board for the improvements to the 4-H Barn, but in the long run the projects may cost less and do more.

Berg was delighted with the Otero Partners Inc. meeting in Las Animas last week. Six lenders were present and agreed that two of the projects being considered were better fits for the OPI revolving fund loans than for their organizations. The Southeast Colorado Business Retention, Expansion Attraction meeting concentrated on the aging infrastructure of the six-county region (Baca, Bent, Crowley, Kiowa, Otero, Prowers). The organization decided to concentrate on electricity to see if availability of electrical energy can be brought up to a standard to attract industry.

The health sector will apply for a grant similar to that obtained by the manufacturing sector to try to bring youth back to the area or give them a reason for staying. These educational grants are $30,000; $6,000 match and $24,000 grant. The manufacturers have their tours; the health sector will concentrate on career fairs and other means to show young people they can have jobs that pay well here in their home counties.

Sharon Sisnroy reported that implementing the senate bills which allow independents to vote in party primaries will be expensive. Two ballots will need to be mailed to the independents. At that point, the independent voter must make up his mind and vote on one ballot or the other and return that ballot. Returning both ballots will result in having them thrown out. Torrens property titles will be eliminated in the records, a task she will try to accomplish before the end of her term.