Meet Lance Hostetter: New Poncha Admin | Local News

Born and raised in Alamosa, Lance Hostetter, Poncha Springs’ new city administrator, is no stranger to politics or life in central Colorado.

A fourth-generation Coloradan, Hostetter said his great-grandfather and grandfather were both ranchers. His mother, Sandra, raising four children on her own, began working an entry-level job at the Alamosa County assessor’s office. Today, she has served as the elected county assessor since 2001.

Hostetter graduated from Alamosa High School, earned a communications degree from Adams State University and earned a master’s degree in public administration with an emphasis in local government from the University of Colorado Denver.

His first job was working at the Valley Courier newspaper in Alamosa. He wrote a political column there for nine years. He said his favorite column he wrote criticized a poorly executed roundabout.

To clarify, he said: “I actually think roundabouts are a great way to move traffic and manage flow and speed. »

However, the one in Alamosa was “so small” that cars would drive straight over it.

Other past jobs include interning in Gov. John Hickenlooper’s office and mentoring with Julie McCluskie, current Speaker of the Colorado House. He also had some federal campaign experience and worked as a legislative aide. He then worked as a communications specialist for non-profit organizations, then in public education policy.

This is his first work experience as a city administrator, but his master’s degree proves it’s a career he’s considering.

How Hostetter ended up in Poncha is similar to many transplants. He and his wife Kate were married in Buena Vista. They began taking more and more trips to Chaffee County, and Hostetter said they began to feel sadness as they returned home to Denver.

So last fall, Hostetter decided to send her resume to every local government and school district trying to find a job.

Brian Berger, former Poncha administrator and current BV city administrator, told him he was “overqualified” for the job but should still apply.

When he applied, he was told he wouldn’t get an interview because his application was late.

But then he interviewed the next day. It was up to him and three other finalists. His first day of work was April 8.

Hostetter’s family, Kate and their 4-month-old daughter Piper, officially moved to town last week.

He said city staff, administrators and community members were all welcoming.

Short-term goals include those already identified by the city, such as road improvements and U.S. 50. Hostetter said determining public rights-of-way will be a major issue as the community grows.

“We will likely mandate an economic development commission to help inventory available properties throughout Poncha” to attract future businesses to the city.

He added that parks and recreation are “obviously a big priority for the entire community as well.” The 30 acres that we have completed the annexation of is a golden egg for some sort of recreational facility. I have no idea what that will look like yet; this will be a multi-year process.

Another major issue that will need to be resolved soon concerns public safety.

Currently, the city contracts with the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office to provide law enforcement.

“What they are able to provide in terms of coverage for Poncha is great and wonderful – but it is not enough. We need to find a solution for Poncha.

That could mean creating a separate police department for Poncha Springs.

Community conversations will be necessary, and figuring out how to fund this is the biggest hurdle.

Hostetter said Del Norte, a similar-sized community with a comparable economy, has its own police department and its budget for 2024 is about $650,000.

The question of whether it is viable to create a “Downtown Poncha” is another idea on the list of long-term goals.

Of course, the biggest elephant in the room is the sewer line lawsuit.

“Poncha is looking forward to resolving this issue. Looking forward to sitting down with Salida to do it. I believe this is not just a Poncha and Salida problem, but a community-wide problem.

He said both sides would attend mediation regarding the lawsuit in June.

Getting up to speed, meeting the players and learning the systems are part of Hostetter’s continuing education.

“I am very pleased to have the honor of serving as city administrator of Poncha Springs,” he said. “I grew up just over the hill in Alamosa, so I know and am excited to be back in a small community. Most importantly, my family loves Chaffee County and Poncha Springs, so this is a dream for us.