Latest News – February 8

Two Votes Determine Saguache’s Dunn Purchase

By Kathy Bedell © Saguache Today

There’s no doubt that the concept of every vote counts is alive and well in Saguache Today, as it only took two votes to deny the Town of Saguache’s  purchase of the historic Dunn Block Building in today’s special town election. The “nays” won at the polls with 72 votes cast against the measure, to 70 votes in favor of the purchase of the Dunn Building.spacer

Pictured (left to right): Carla Quintana, Kathy Geddes and Kate Vasha do their part for democracy with their service as Election Judges in The Town of Saguache special election regarding the purchase of the historic Dunn Building. By a two vote difference, voters denied the purchase. Photo: Saguache Today/Kathy Bedell.

Pictured (left to right): Carla Quintana, Kathy Geddes and Kate Vasha do their part for democracy with their service as Election Judges in The Town of Saguache special election regarding the purchase of the historic Dunn Building. By a two vote difference, voters denied the purchase. Photo: Saguache Today/Kathy Bedell.

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The response to the vote weighed in on social media quickly, with one reader posting on the Saguache Today Facebook Page:

Very disappointed here. I wonder what motivated people to vote against the betterment of our little town and what they think ought to happen to the building…just let it continue to deteriorate? To become a pubic nuisance? A hazard? Home for squatters? Or are folks simply inclined to say no because…you know…. The gument is out to get ‘em…take their money.

While other residents saw the Town’s plate as full with keeping up with basic services, in addition to the sizeable water and sewer project scheduled to begin in the Spring, and the ongoing Vista Grande situation. Another reader posted:

I am against buying. There are other things that need to be done in this town. Why can’t we have our streets fixed right? Or is that too hard?spacer

Saguache Works continues to thrive as a private/ public partnership on 4th Street in downtown saguache. Photo: Saguache Today.

Saguache Works continues to thrive as a private/ public partnership on 4th Street in downtown saguache. Photo: Saguache Today.

spacerAnd while a “no” ballot didn’t necessarily signal an anti-growth/improvement sentiment, emotions generally run strong directly after such a close vote.  Saguache Today offers other options that are still on the table for the Dunn Building Block. In an interview with Saguache Mayor Greg Terrell before the election results were tallied, he explained how the conversation even started with the purchase.

The historic Dunn Block Building in downtown Saguache.

The historic Dunn Building in downtown Saguache.

The Masons had been contacted by a number of private interests, according to Mayor Terrell. However, the organization expressed they were concerned about whether or not those parties had the funds to actually restore the building and since none of the perspective buyers seemed to have a solid plan in place when pressed for more details about how they were going to “fix it up,” the Masons approached the town.

“The Masons saw the Town as being able to take this on and run it to completion,” explained Terrell. It seems, the group figured that the Town of Saguache had the most opportunity for grants and funding through state historical entities and family foundations/trusts. However residents wanted a place at the discussion table and forced the hand of the Board of Trustees last fall by having the decision be put to a vote of the people.

That answer was no, but only by a couple of votes. And while the public may not be interested in becoming the new owner of the historic Dunn Building, clearly there has been interest expressed in the private sector. With the recent sale of The Saguache Hotel (story coming) and the continuing success of Saguache Works, which is quicklyelection_ballot_saguache-today emerging as a leader in how public/private partnerships work best,  it’s safe to say there is still good will and positive momentum working its way down 4th Street in Saguache Today.

In other Town news, Mayor Greg Terrell told Saguache Today election evening at the polling place that he has NOT able to confirm that the contract presented to Lawyer Karen Lintott for the position of Saguache Town Attorney had been accepted, signed and returned. A requests for proposal (RFP) for a new attorney was issued by town officials earlier this year. That decision, explained Saguache Mayor Greg Terrell, was prompted per the recommendation of the town auditor, who explained it’s a healthy part of checks-and-balances for municipalities to issue RFPs for a number of town positions including legal counsel.

So stay tuned as to what will happen with legal counsel, as the six Saguache Town Board of Trustees (Loren Aldrich, Susan Collins, May Engquist, Wyoma Hansen, Janice Torrez, and Amber Wilson) move forward, along with Mayor Terrell into this next chapter of Saguache history.

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