Tag Archives: Saguache Mayor

Latest News – August 3

Mayor Addresses Town Resignations in Letter

Last week, the Town of Saguache was a buzz of news that “something” had happened on July 21, but no one seemed to know anything more than that. And while the social media platforms continue the discussion under veiled accusations, the Town of Saguache’s Mayor Greg Terrell finally released an official statement yesterday.

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Saguache Mayor Greg Terrell (left) listens to a town resident during a visit to the 4th Street Food Store in Saguache, Colorado. Photo: Saguache Today/Kathy Bedell

Saguache Today had reached out to Mayor Greg Terrell last  week and while he didn’t respond at the time, here is his thoughtful point of view on the situation. Also please note that the next Town Trustee meeting is next Tuesday, August 8 at the Saguache County Road & Bridge meeting room at 6 p.m. As always, they are open to the public. There has also been discussion from citizens that someone will be in attendance to live stream, Saguache Today will keep you posted on that opportunity to join the conversation.

Letter from the Mayor of Saguache 08/02/2017:

I received the resignations of four Town Trustees on the afternoon of Friday, July 21st. Each one of these Trustees has been a valued and committed member of the Town Board. Their work dedication has benefitted the welfare of our Town. Trustees Hansen, Wilson, and Torrez brought to the Board a vast experience from Federal and County government, and private sector management. Being life-long residents of Saguache, their unique insight will be missed on the Board. Trustee Engquist deserves special praise. She has spent considerable time, energy, and expense representing and working for the Town of Saguache. Her devotion to the best interests of the citizens of this Town will be felt for many years, her mark on the Town, for generations. I sincerely thank them for that service, and for the privilege of serving with them. I hope that citizens will reach out and thank them all for their service.

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Saguache Mayor Greg Terrell

I have waited until now to make a statement about the resignations that occurred on the 21st, in hopes that I might have a more clear understanding. At present, I have no more insight or clarity, than I did on the 21st. Three of the former Trustees stated the resignations were due to “an unforeseen chain of events.” Having no forewarning and having no further information or explanation, I am left puzzled, confused, and dazed. Former Trustee Engquist referred in her resignation to “actions taken today concerning the Deputy Clerk.” The Deputy Clerk resigned earlier on the 21st. I can only speculate that the Deputy Clerk’s choice to resign was the action referred to by Trustee Engquist. I have not spoken with Trustee Engquist since, so I remain puzzled. I know I certainly did not desire for the Deputy Clerk to resign. I did, in fact, express to the Deputy Clerk my earnest desire for her not to make that choice, prior to her insistence that she resign.

I am disappointed in all the resignations. I sincerely wish that the former Trustees had remained at their posts. The Board’s responsibility is to set policy and solve problems. The Board currently lacks a quorum, so until that is resolved, neither can happen. Their four votes on the Board could be making a difference. That is the true disappointment I now feel.

My hope now, is that citizens will come forward to serve on the Town Board, with the intent of the best interest of the Town. The Town’s business does not stop. The Town is still faced with problems to be solved, and a future to envision, and work toward, to function as a Town.

Again, I ask citizens to come join the remaining Board to take action and put forth the effort needed to solve our problems and keep the Town providing services and structures that benefit everyone’s well being.

Yours sincerely,

Greg Terrell, Mayor
Town of Saguache

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Latest News – January 26

Town to Propose Sales Tax for Law Enforcement

 By Kathy Bedell © Saguache Today

“You’re either part of the solution or you’re part of the problem,” stated Saguache County Sheriff Dan Warwick at a special work session with Town of Saguache Trustees and residents on January 21.

Saguache County Sheriff Dan Warwick (left) addresses Town Trustees and residents at the special work session concerning law enforcement in Saguache. Photo: Saguache Today.

Saguache County Sheriff Dan Warwick (left) addresses Town Trustees and residents at a special work session concerning law enforcement held in Saguache on January 21. Photo: Saguache Today.

More than 30 residents attended last week’s meeting to address growing concerns over an increase in criminal activity, ranging from residential break-ins, to car thefts, to speeding issues through town. In the end, the solution for local officials is to present a one percent sales tax increase to Saguache voters on the upcoming April 5 ballot, dedicated to providing additional law enforcement within the town.

Saguache Town Trustees Kate Vasha, June Savage, Luana Lovato, Andrew Virdin, and Tony Sandoval along with Town Clerk Therese Garcia were present, in addition to Saguache Mayor Greg Terrell and Sheriff Warwick, to discuss growing concerns regarding the town’s lack of regular patrols. Initial discussions during the regular town board meeting on January 19, led officials to call a special work session to discuss ways to curtail a recent spike in crimes within Saguache. Foremost in many residents’ minds was the need to reinstate a dedicated law enforcement officer to provide more regular patrols in town, as well as quicker response time from county deputies.

In the past, Saguache did have a town constable, but budgetary constraints and personnel issues saw that position eliminated. However, most in attendance at last Thursday’s meeting were willing to revisit the situation. The end result was to present town voters with Resolution No. 2016-D which would increase sales tax in the Town of Saguache by one percent, thereby generating “at least $30,000, which would provide needed funds for law enforcement.”

Town Trustee Kate Vasha (left) explains the board’s decision to bring the issue to Saguache voters in April. Saguache Town Trustee June Savage is pictured on the right. Photo: Saguache Today.

Town Trustee Kate Vasha (left) explains the board’s decision to bring the issue to Saguache voters in April. Saguache Town Trustee June Savage is pictured on the right. Photo: Saguache Today.

While the increase, if approved by voters, would not go into effect until January 1, 2017, the Board of Trustees also made the commitment to accelerate the process by committing $50,000 from the town’s reserves to initiate securing a dedicated officer as soon as possible. Ultimately this decision would cover the costs through 2016, even if local residents decided against the ballot measure in April.

During the meeting Sheriff Warwick presented the nuts and bolts of hiring a “mid-range” deputy and what the time line would be to hire and train an additional officer. The salary, which would include benefits, amounts to $50,000/annually.

“I’m short man power and I can’t take someone and put them in town, thereby neglecting other parts of the community,” said Sheriff Warwick. He went on to explain that as things stand now the county department falls short of personnel and resources compared to other counties with even smaller territories and populations. Currently the sheriff’s department has eight full-time deputies, although between one officer being out for medical issues, as well as juggling schedules and vacation time, the staff basically operates with six officers.

Town Law enforcemnet ballot initiative Resolution 2016_DThis stark reality led town officials to take matters into their own hands and move forward with an intergovernmental agreement between the Town of Saguache and the Saguache County Sheriff’s office to pay for dedicated patrols and law enforcement for the community of about 500 residents. It was during this point in the meeting, when former agreements were re-visited, that Sheriff Warwick expressed his strongest opinions in the matter, declaring that the past arrangement put a burden on every single deputy in the department. It seems in the past, a dedicated Town of Saguache patrol car, which was not always well-equipped, complicated the situation. 

“I’m not going to have an officer needing help and have the town board dictate that the officer can’t take the patrol car that far – tough crap! If an officer needs help, another officer is going to back him up, I don’t care what the cost,” said Sheriff Warwick.

Current town officials agreed, indicating that the scheduling and training of an additional deputy would be left to Sheriff Warwick’s discretion and experienced leadership. In addition, Warwick expressed that he would also look into available programs that could help defray some of the expenditures associated with an extra deputy.

After the work session, the Town Trustees went into special session where they voted unanimously to put the resolution to voters on the April 5 Saguache Town ballot. The next steps are as follows, Sheriff Warwick and Trustees will develop a contract, which will be presented to Saguache County Commissioners for approval. Then the process of hiring and training an additional deputy will commence. This action will be initiated regardless of the election outcome, in light of the town’s decision to move forward with securing extra law enforcement detail with reserves funds.

Once the contract is inked, the Sheriff has committed to additional patrols in the Town until a full time officer is hired.

“I will at least get someone patrolling in town as much as possible to try to fulfill the full term of the contract,” Warwick concluded. “And we will reduce the cost for those months where we are lacking before we get someone hired on fulltime.”

Town of Saguache Trustees and Mayor voted unanimously to bring a one percent sales tax increase to voters on the April 5 ballot to cover costs of additional law enforcement patrols in town. Photo: Saguache Today.

Town of Saguache Trustees and Mayor voted unanimously to bring a one percent sales tax increase to voters on the April 5 ballot to cover costs of additional law enforcement patrols in town. Photo: Saguache Today.

Because the sales tax revenue would not kick in until January 2017 the trustees would have to go into the reserves to make up the difference. “We don’t like to go into those reserves,” stated Trustee Kate Vasha, “but I feel like it’s kind of an emergency situation.” She added that if the sales tax measure does not pass in April, then the town will have to figure out where to get that money. At present the Town of Saguache sales tax is at 3%, the increase would bump that up to 4 percent.

At their next regular meeting on February 16, the town board will vote to take the additional balance – over the $20,000 already set aside for 2016 – in reserves to fulfill the balance of the contract. Residents are encouraged to attend and make their voices heard.

“It would be nice to see this kind of participation on every issue that the town deals with,” state Mayor Terrell, adding. “I want to personally thank the deputies; we have fabulous deputies in Saguache!”