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City can no longer pay Depot utilities

By: Martha Garcia, Colfax Record Editor
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As in most municipalities, money is tight for the city of Colfax. Colfax City Manager Bruce Kranz said Tuesday the city can no longer continue paying for utilities at the Colfax Passenger Depot, where the Colfax Area Historical Society runs the Colfax Heritage Museum and the Colfax Area Chamber of Commerce maintains a visitors’ center. Amtrak also makes regular daily stops at the recently restored building, located at 99 Railroad Avenue. On Aug. 10, Kranz issued 60-day notices to the historical society and the chamber terminating the lease agreement between each non-profit and the city. “The city wants them to stay … All we’re asking them to do is to pay their own utility bills,” Kranz said. “The way the current lease is written, the city and the taxpayers pay for all the utilities.” Kranz said that because of all the money the city has been forced to pay as a result of the lawsuit brought against the city regarding its sewer, “which is $800,000 to date, or more, we can no longer afford to subsidize the chamber of commerce or the historical society by paying their utility bills.” Kranz said he’s confident that the city will be able to work out a solution with the historical society and the chamber of commerce. Colfax Area Chamber of Commerce President Connie Heilaman said she feels the problem can be solved. “I think it’s something we both (the chamber and historical society) will have to deal with … We’ll try to come up with ideas on how we can deal with the situation,” Heilman said. “Then we’ll have a meeting with the city manager.” Helen Wayland, Colfax Heritage Museum director, said she wants to meet with Kranz to discuss the city’s needs and concerns. “We’ll be discussing how we can solve this problem,” Wayland said. “The city has been very generous and supportive. I appreciate everything they’ve done.” Wayland also said that regardless of the outcome, museum artifacts “will remain in Colfax, and be protected and displayed.”