Longtime Otero County Director of Land Use and Public Works Darryl Schulz is retiring this year. A reception in his honor will be held following the regular meeting of the Otero County Commissioners on July 5. Deputy Director of Public Works Brent White will assume most of his duties.

Landscaping project
Jo Jancar reported to the commissioners on her recent trip to the Denver Botanical Garden Plant Select conference. Jancar has planted numerous specimen plants on the south side of the courthouse and, with the help of financing by the commissioners and building by Sam Thompson, a sun shade over a picnic table immediately adjacent to a bird feeder. She has been working on the project since 2005. Her visits to the Garden Select conference help her select new plants for the experimental garden. Data is collected about the plants’ success in coping with the hot, dry climate. The exhibit is open to the public at all times.
This time Jancar brought back 71 new plants.  The question to be answered is how the plants will cope with the heat from the concrete when planted closer to it. A hummingbird feeder has also been hung.
Jancar and groundskeeper Thompson suggest a new strip between the curb and parking lot be planted with native grasses and flowers. Buffalo grass plugs are available from a sod farm in Pueblo. Thompson also suggests removal of a bush from under a shade tree to make available space for a shade flower bed.
Courthouse picture is now on the www.plantselect.org/demonstration-gardens website.

Human services
The Otero County Commissioners Monday approved a Memorandum of Understanding Agreement for the Colorado Works Program and the Colorado Child Care Assistance Program from July 1, 2011 up to and including June 30, 2012 between the State of Colorado Department of Human Services and the Otero County Commissioners. The current MOU remains unchanged.

Primaries moved back, farm truck rules change possible
County Clerk Sharon Sisnroy reported that primaries next year are slated for the  last Tuesday in June to allow enough time to elapse before ballots must be mailed out for overseas voters. Next year is a presidential election year. Caucuses will probably be the first Tuesday in March, but the party may opt for a February caucus.  Proposed Colorado house bill 11-1004 would allow anyone living on land designated agricultural to get farm plates for trucks. Proof of insurance is either to be included on the state data base or excluded for farm trucks if this bill passes. For complete information, Google Colorado HB 11-1004.

OCLI strong
Commissioner Keith Goodwin reported that the Otero County Landfills, Inc. are in a strong financial position. The fee schedule appears to be working well.

Runoff from western slope well contained so far
Commissioner Kevin Karney said that imports from the Frying Pan basin were coming through very well. It was snowing in the mountains again on Monday.  Karney said that the rains were widespread, covering Prowers and Baca counties also. It was a good start, he said. Most areas got one to two inches of rain, with some areas getting as much as three to four inches.

Bridges to be replaced
Immediately following the commissioners’ meeting, the Colorado Department of Transportation representatives met with the commissioners to make plans for replacing or repairing bridges over Fort Lyon and Holbrook Canals on Colorado 266 and  one bridge over the Fort Lyon on 71.