The Otero County Commissioners Monday renewed the memorandum of understanding with the North La Junta Water Conservancy District which enables flood control measures and considered county finances and other business.

At the request of Otero County Public Works Director Lex Nichols, the Otero County Commissioners Monday renewed the annual memorandum of understanding with the North La Junta Water Conservancy District with only one change from the agreement of the previous year. The county will still control all the flood gates into North La Junta except, at the landowner’s request, the west gate. The landowner wishes to use that gate for irrigation. NLJWCD Secretary Rose Ward, present at the meeting, expressed thanks to the commissioners for their continuing work and Chairman Kevin Karney thanked her for her tireless efforts for the North La Junta Water Conservancy District.

Although there is still groundwater standing in some places in North La Junta, major flooding has been avoided for two years by a joint effort of the NLJWCD, Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District, Otero County and the City of La Junta working together.

Sharon Jones of the County Treasurer’s Office gave the semi-annual financial report for the county. The grand total banked by the county, including all divisions, is $18,191,202.18 (city and school funds are included in this total). Treasurer Dennis Smith gave the quarterly investment report. The total for the half year is $87,763.90, which is over the amount budgeted, due to some higher than expected interest income. Although the main part of the invested money remains in local banks, the county is now allowed to invest in other out-of-state firms, NBS and Morgan Stanley. Their reports have enabled some higher returns from reinvestment of funds.

Smith also gave the trustee’s Second Quarter Report for 2017. There were 15 foreclosures as compared with 13 for the first quarter. Foreclosures continue to run at a normal rate, as they have for the past five years. Total to the Otero County Treasurer was $2,728.94, as compared with $2,345.94 last quarter.

Special Counsel Marni Nathan Kloster of Nathan Dumm & Mayer P.C. of Denver was appointed by the Commissioners to represent Otero County in a recently filed discrimination lawsuit.

The Otero County EMS Annual Plan for 2017-2018 was approved. The budget is $10,000, to be spent as follows: $5,000 for Automatic External Defibrillation, $2,500 for updating tactical communications equipment and $2,500 for replacing cots in ambulances.

Shana Santistevan, Otero County Health Department, was appointed to the Southeast Colorado Regional Emergency Trauma Advisory Council to replace Shawn Mobley, Otero County Sheriff.

Otero County Economic Development Coordinator Danelle Berg reported the Small Business Administration is no longer handling the loans through the Southeastern Colorado Economic Development District. Loans will continue to be made through the revolving fund, but the county attorney will handle the legal matters. The manufacturers’ group received its $30,000 grant ($24,000 plus $6,000 match) to continue its work with local youth.

Human Services Director Donna Rohde received one bid for remodeling services, although three firms attended the pre-bid meeting. The bid, from Arc Valley Construction, was $65,000 to remodel current vault into offices, break room work $6,350 and restrooms $48,750. The bid will be taken into consideration and Rohde will report next week.