Saguache County Commissioners discuss future of courthouse

Photo by Mechel Meek Saguache County Commissioners are considering putting the building of a new County courthouse before the voters.

SAGUACHE — The regularly scheduled Saguache County Commissioners meeting on July 20 covered a variety of topics, including auctions, repairs and future goals. It was held in person and via Zoom.

On the schedule was the Commissioner’s reports, County Administrator’s report, needed repairs to the Saguache County Museum, and a request for office design ideas by the Department Heads.

The meeting began with the Commissioner reports as each member described what activities and meetings, they participated in related to county business.

Of note was Commissioner Tom McCracken’s report about attending a “native plant workshop for education regarding xeriscape landscaping in case the county adopts the kiosk in Crestone.”

Next, the County Administrator’s report was given by Wendi Maez. Maez discussed the progress of several auctions that the County has been holding online to sell off old vehicles and property. The auction is held online and the highest bid wins. Recently sold was a 2009 Ford Crown Victoria. Other auction items were not bid upon, and it was decided by the Commissioners to lower the starting prices by 25%.

An issue that was brought up next was the current state of the Saguache County Museum. The adobe walls are in need of repair, and the possibility of other portions of the building needing repair.

The Saguache County Museum is on the National Register of Historic Places and is filled with artifacts from Saguache’s history such as a defibrillator from 1908.

The commissioners discussed the fact that an adobe expert and a structural engineer would need to be brought in to look at the structure to figure out how to fix the problems in the building within historical standards.

As the museum is a county asset, sales tax funds can be used to help pay for repairs, along with any payout from the current insurance coverage. The discussion regarding the museum was sent to a later work session to decide how to proceed.

Commissioner Lynne Thompson then began a discussion regarding a proposed new County courthouse. Her idea was to have the department heads submit what they would like to see if a new courthouse was approved by voters. What would they need in an office space, and what they would need to make it useful for their individual departments?

Thompson said, “I would like to see what the department heads would like in a plan, and what they would need in each office.”

Thompson stressed that this would be an idea only, not a resolution by the commissioners or a commitment to build a new courthouse as that is a decision for the voters. She proposed that the department heads submit ideas by Dec. 31.