SB 10-181 (Municipal Authority To Lease Land) passes Senate Local Government and Energy Committee

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Patrick Malone):

[SB 10-181] (pdf) would allow Walsenburg and about 150 other statutory cities and towns in Colorado to lease the land that they own with water rights. Under current law, only home-rule municipalities have that authority. In Walsenburg’s case, the benefits of SB181 are on its doorstep. A proposed 100-tower wind farm has offered to lease 2,300 acres of land in Huerfano County owned by the city of Walsenburg. The wind farm proposed by Denver-based Viento Claro Energy would be built by Torch Renewable Energy. Viento Claro is eyeing a $23 million investment on the land owned by Walsenburg and adjacent property owners. If Walsenburg were allowed to lease the land to Viento Claro, the city would realize about $11 million in royalties over a 25-year span, according to Viento Claro…

Sen. Ken Kester, R-Las Animas, and Rep. Wes McKinley, D-Walsh, are sponsoring the bill…

And it’s not just Walsenburg that would benefit, according to the city attorney, Dan Hyatt, who also represents the city of Rocky Ford. Hyatt said Rocky Ford — another statutory city — also has land with water rights that could generate long-term revenue if it were allowed to lease it. “The potential benefit of this bill is immense,” said Geoff Wilson of the Colorado Municipal League. Next, the bill will be placed on the consent calendar in the Senate for preliminary approval.

More 2010 Colorado legislation coverage here.

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