(Las Animas, CO) -- When Bent County Commissioners hold a special meeting Tuesday the 17th it will include members of the McClave School District asking for an answer.
The district is asking Bent County to consider helping them move forward in a BEST Grant application process that includes securing use of land currently used by the county's east-end road and bridge shop. In a letter sent to commissioners, the following is requested. There are two proposals the district is requesting.
1) The McClave School District purchasing or trading for Bent County’s property in McClave where the east-end road and bridge shop is located,
2) The McClave School District transferring ownership of a portion of the existing McClave School building to Bent County to be used as a McClave Community Center with both entities equally sharing in the future utility and property insurance costs.
The school district has an upcoming deadline of February 6th to have a plan in place in order to apply for the BEST grant. The letter reminds the county they agreed in a public meeting on December 20th, 2022 to give support to the project. There were concerns brought up in that meeting, however, by commissioner Jean Sykes of the possible costs of moving the road and bridge shop to another location. The district's letter states they are running out of time to work that out but offered to table the discussion and request for a community center.
The talk is expected to center around only asking to buy the road and bridge property. The district states they would lease that property back to the county to continue to use for road and bridge operations until the county could find and secure another piece of property to move and build.
The McClave school board explained this would not only allow the county to use the land but also provide a way for the district to apply for the BEST grant this year.
Commissioners stated they would need time for the County attorney to look at the MOU Memorandum of Understanding the IGA, Intergovernmental agreement brought forth by the McClave School District.
Bent County citizens attending the December 20th commissioner meeting made known their fears of moving forward at the moment. Resident Darrel Sykes read a letter stating he had been approached by people who didn't understand how it would work. He furthered to say he's worried about the costs associated and that the recent bond question (on the November ballot) passed by a slim margin and was contingent that the district received the BEST grant before the bond would be in affect. The letter went on to explain that McClave School District Voters were told the old school wasn't in good shape and that a new one would need to be built. Sykes felt saving money for the school could be passed onto the county. He asked for a pause to consider the possible fiscal impact entering such an agreement could have on the county.
The county will hear from members of the McClave School District at the special meeting set for Tuesday, January 17th, 2023. A posted agenda on the Bent County website does not give a specific time for the meeting only that it will follow an executive session which starts at 9:15am.
The only agenda items posted for that meeting is the meeting with McClave School District and an IGA (Intergovernmental agreement) with Otero County concerning use of the Bent County jail for inmates. Sheriff Jake Six is expected to be in attendance for the special meeting.
The public isn't allow in executive session when legal matters or personnel matters are discussed.