Fort Lyon Canal officers attended the Bent County Commissioners’ meeting on Nov. 14 to discuss heavy truck traffic on county Road 10 and the need for the road to be graded frequently. The officers requested that the road be treated as a priority county road until the construction is completed no later than May 15.

County Sheriff Dave Encinias’s monthly report showed the current jail inmate count at 39. Only 13 inmates are from Bent County. Eighteen are from Otero, four from the Department of Corrections, and one each from Crowley, Cheyenne and Pueblo Counties.

Encinias stated October revenue was $36,161.17 and year-to-date revenue $332,142.82.

The sheriff said jail deputy Tyson Duran resigned effective Oct. 11, bringing deputy vacancies to three. Seven broken windows at the Sheriff’s office have been replaced. He stated the 2011 Tahoe vehicle had been taken off line and would be sold at auction.

Vicky Mandell, administrative assistant to the Sheriff, explained discrepancies in the monthly financial reports. She said she would mail invoices in one amount based on head counts but the counties would pay amounts different from what was billed, according to inmate category. She stated she is working with the counties on the problem.

Department of Social Services Director Jonna Parker presented the department’s monthly bills and payroll. The director told of problems in hiring certified social workers. The department advertised recently for a certified social worker and didn't receive a single application. Parker commented that people do not want to move to the area.

The new Director for Bent County Economic Development Foundation, Sammie George, was introduced by Commissioner McDonnell.

Jim Collins, Director of the Lower Arkansas Valley Area Agency on Aging, spoke to the board on services provided in the six-county area and the four year plan he is developing. Collins spoke of the need for volunteer drivers to transport seniors for medical appointments and treatments.

Collins is also the Mayor of Las Animas and mentioned the problems in shaping the regulations for the sale of Marijuana and his desire to have local people establish such businesses in order to benefit the area and not have big city owners drain the money from the town. He announced a meeting will be held 6 p.m. Nov. 30 at City Hall for all interested citizens who wish to serve on a committee to develop rules and regulations for the sale of marijuana in Las Animas.

Commissioner Tom Wallace announced Bill Long, former commissioner, will serve as a consultant through Sam Vigil, County Attorney, on water issues and the 1041 process.

Wallace also stated the swearing in of new county officials will be held Jan. 8 at a time to be determined. Immediately following the ceremony, commissioners will meet for reorganization of the board.

In 2019, the board of commissioners will meet on the first, second and fourth Thursdays each month with work sessions to be held on Tuesdays. 

Further research is required regarding the ability of the software system desired by the finance officer and treasurer versus the system needed by the county assessor to meet the needs of all three departments.