Gilpin Commissioners April 28th Meeting
By Randy Beaudette
On April 28, 2020 the Gilpin Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) held a special online meeting to discuss topics such as the Timberline Fire Impact fees for new construction, COVID Leave policy, and Employee Compensation for County employees. Commissioner Chair Gail Watson opened up the meeting at 9:00 am along with Commissioners Ron Engels and Linda Isenhart. Also present online were County Manager Abel Montoya, County Attorney Brad Benning, and Deputy Clerk Sharon Cates. Others from the Senior Leadership Team joined in as needed.
Emergency Manager Nathan Whittington informed the Commissioners that a special trailer will be set up next week in Adams County that will decontaminate up to 80,000 N95 masks per day. This service will be available to the Gilpin County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) pending finalizing plans for handling and transporting the contaminated masks. The EOC is reviewing plans and procedures for a possible second wave of COVID-19 expected in the fall. Lastly, The EOC continues to work with Clear Creek and Boulder Counties on a congregate sheltering and evacuation plans in preparation for a possible wildfire breaking out along the Highway 119 corridor. Any wildfires in the area will impact the three counties in some fashion, either by sending evacuees to them, or Gilpin County receiving evacuees from them.
Gilpin County Public Health Coordinator Bonnie Albrecht reported that the single COVID case that was reported in Gilpin County has been transported to a rehab facility and is on the road to recovery. The Stay-at Home order has been extended to May 8th and County roads remain closed to non-County residents.
Timberline Fire Impact Fees
Timberline Fire Chief Paul Ondr presented an Impact Fee proposal to the Commissioners. The Impact Fee will be applied to all new residential construction projects and all new non-residential commercial construction. The Impact Fee is determined by the assessing the amount of firefighting assets that are available in a district and using a mathematical formula to equate the amount of Impact Fees a district can charge a builder to pay into those assets. Timberline Board adopted by Resolution a $2,327 fee for new residential construction and a $2.82 per square foot fee for new Non-Residential Commercial construction. Once adopted by the BoCC, these fees will take effect on June 1, 2020 and may be added to the Building Permit Fees. Commissioner Watson inquired into the reason that these fees are higher in comparison to surrounding districts. The response from Chief Ondr was that the mil levy in the Timberline District is substantially lower than these same counties that were used in the fee study comparison. Another example is that Boulder County does not have an impact fee, but they do have strict requirements related to fire suppression for new construction. The Commissioners agreed to hold a final vote on the impact fees on Tuesday May 5, 2020.
Electronic Recording Grant Application
Gilpin County Clerk and Recorder Sahari McCormick informed the Commissioners that the grant for the Electronic Recording Technology Board will be soon be submitted for $280,000, which will get all of the Gilpin Clerk’s records online and available to the public. Matching funds are not necessary to receive this grant.
DRCOG Helps Gilpin Seniors
Denver Regional Council of Government (DRCOG) is the designated Area Agency on Aging (AAA) for an eight-county region including Gilpin County. DRCOG plans and provides comprehensive services that address the needs of the region’s population of older adults and people living with disabilities. They are responsible for the establishment of comprehensive, coordinated system of community-based support and nutrition for the Denver metro region of older adults. DRCOG Representative Jayla Sanchez-Warren joined the meeting with the Commissioners to address the needs of older adults in Gilpin County. COVID relief funding for nutrition is now available to Human Services, with additional funding for nutritional and non-nutritional items to be available for the next eighteen months. Gilpin County Meals-on-Wheels has experienced the highest volume ever in home-delivered meals due to factors such as the cancellation of the communal lunches at the Community Center. Commissioner Watson stated the Human Services has been receiving several requests for rent payment assistance. Ms. Sanchez-Warren responded that presently they do not provide rent assistance, but a request to the State for such assistance is not out of the question. “The last thing that the aging population needs is to end up homeless right now.” A donation of $5,000 to the Food Bank has been arranged by DRCOG to provide food for seniors and residents needing such support.
Gilpin County Human Services is still accepting Food Bank Donations in the way of non-expired food and money. For those wishing to do so, please make your checks out to “Food Bank of the Rockies.”
USFS – Public Land Information
US Forest Service Clear Creek Ranger District Manager Scott Haas shared that there continues to be regional forest closure for the developed recreation sites such as campgrounds and picnic areas. A stage one fire restriction remains in effect on all Forest Service areas until the end of May. There is no indication that these restrictions will be rescinded or extended at this time, and there is a very limited staffing in the field due to the Stay-at-Home order issued by the Governor.
Air Traffic on Monday Not the FAA Metroplex Project
Aerial firefighter training is taking place as evidenced by appearance of the Lockheed Martin C-130 and the Beach King Air spotter/ lead plane flying in the airspace over Gilpin County. These planes are part of the 302nd Airlift Wing of the Airforce Reserves and 153rd Airlift Wing of the Wyoming Air National Guard based out of Cheyenne, Wyoming. Aerial Firefighter Training and Certification is required annually to keep the crews up-to-date on new and existing techniques used in the field. Training drops will be executed on the Arapaho, Roosevelt, and Pike-San Isabel National Forests. This training is scheduled to continue through the week of April 27th weather permitting.
Unfortunately advance notice was received by the newspaper to let folks know ahead of time what would be taking place on Monday afternoon when the two planes made five very low passes over the subdivisions surrounding Fairburn Mountain and Cold Springs campground at Hwy 119 and Hwy 46. The press release received on Monday, April 27 stated that there would be a media briefing on Tuesday, April 28, after the annual Modular Airborne Fire Fighting Systems (MAFFS) certification training exercise. “During the training, pilots will conduct training drops with water on the Arapaho, Roosevelt and Pike-San Isabel National Forests and Bureau of Land Management lands in Southern Colorado.”
We appreciate the fire-fighting training and support, and the planes were interesting to watch and hear as they made tree top level passes overhead, but it would have been nice to know about ahead of time. Social media comments ranged from the FAA Metroplex Project started to war planes. Some residents were the recipients of oily water that covered their homes and vehicles.
Golden Gate State Park
Golden Gate State Park Manager Todd Farrow informed the Commissioners that the State Park personnel are aware of the State and County’s Board of Health orders and visitor education is being conducted by phone. Campgrounds, playgrounds, picnic areas, dispersed camping and camping facilities in the park will remain closed until further notice.
Legal FAA Update
County Attorney Brad Benning shared that the procedural filings that were sent in last week have been accepted by the court. These documents included a list of issues and some information on the parties that are needed get Gilpin’s case docketed on a petition against the FAA Metroplex. The more substantive item briefing will be coming up sometime in May when a briefing schedule will be released.
County Purchases One Water Share
County Attorney Bradford Benning also announced that Gilpin County won the bid for one share in the Denver View Reservoir and Irrigation Company with their bid of $100,001. This share will support the water augmentation plan for use at the Community Center. Gilpin County had approved $300,000 in the 2020 budget for this water share so they were happy that the final bid came in at one third of what was budgeted.
County Road Closure and Disaster Declaration
Gilpin County Board of Health extended the Stay-at-Home/ Road Closure order to May 8. 2020 and the disaster declaration has been extended to May 29th due to matters related to the COVID outbreak.
COVID-19 Leave Policy
County Manager Abel Montoya and Gilpin County Human Resources Director Lori Schrayer introduced a federally mandated COVID-19 employee leave policy. County Employees that have contracted COVID-19 or are caring for a family member that has contracted COVID-19 will be paid for the duration of the leave. This will cover every County Employee regardless of status. Gilpin County Commissioners approved the COVID-19 Leave Policy unanimously.
Emergency Closure Compensation
Gilpin County BoCC approved a policy that starting May 2nd, that the Emergency Closure pay will terminate and all County employees to be paid for actual hours worked.
Gilpin County Commissioners approved the meeting minutes from the April 23, 2020 Special meeting.
For More Information
To stay informed in the very dynamic environment, go to www.co.gilpin.co.us.