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All fire restrictions rescinded in Gilpin County

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Tax Lien Properties For Sale – Make Offer!

By Randy Beaudette

On December 8, 2020, the Gilpin County Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) held a regular online meeting to discuss topics such as a new amendment to the County Employee Handbook, an amendment to the Fund Reporting Policy, new trash and recycling fees, and the long-awaited decision to rescind all fire restrictions.

Board-Chair Gail Watson opened up the meeting promptly at 9:00 am along with Commissioners Ron Engels and Linda Isenhart. Joining online were County Manager Abel Montoya, County Attorney Brad Benning, Deputy Clerk Sharon Cate, and members from the Senior Leadership Team.

Public Comment

Gilpin resident Melissa Harless commented on the new fee structure at the solid waste transfer station. Ms. Harless is not opposed to the higher fees, but she is concerned about the method in which the Transfer Station personnel will measure the recyclables and will the complexity of calculating the waste cause further delays on those days when the dump is really busy? This is not an efficient process for the employees or for the residents of Gilpin County and should be further reviewed before implementation. Commissioner Watson agreed that a work session  needs to be scheduled that includes employees and residents to discuss solutions on implementing a process that will be easier on all who utilize and are employed at the Transfer Station.

COVID-19 Update

Public Health Coordinator Bonnie Albrecht reported that Gilpin County has recorded 99 COVID cases and one death since March 2020, with a current two-week total of 14, which is a big improvement. Last week testing revealed two positive tests out of 44 tested with a 9.4 % positivity rate. With those numbers, Gilpin County will remain at COVID Level Orange.

Gilpin County Emergency Manager Nathan Whittington reported that the focus of the Emergency Operation Center (EOC) lately has been on a mass vaccination program. The ultra-cold freezer has been delivered to Gilpin County and is operational. Tiers will establish who get the vaccine and when. As such, First Responders and Health Care Workers will be in the first Tier, with the remainder of the community to be vaccinated soon after.

Employee Handbook Amendments (Resolution #20-29)

People, Culture and Finance Director Lori Schrayer introduced an amendment to the Gilpin County Employee Handbook to incorporate changes such as revisions to the Short-Term Disability and Leave policy, Timekeeping policy, a change from Columbus Day Holiday to Mother Cabrini Day, and non-binary gender references. Employees will soon receive the new revision of the Handbook. Gilpin County BoCC approved Resolution #20-29 unanimously.

PUBLIC HEARING

Application for a New Liquor License

Gilpin County Board Chair Gail Watson recessed the BoCC meeting and opened up the Local Licensing Authority (LLA) at 9:37 am. Gilpin County Deputy Clerk Sharon Cate presented a new Liquor License to be reviewed by the LLA on behalf of Z Stop Convenience Store located at 1351 Highway 119. Because this application falls under the new process according to recently adopted Colorado State Statute for new licenses, the BoCC only has to determine the “Needs of the neighborhood” with the State approving the final issuance of the Liquor License. There were no comments in support or in opposition of this issue. After much debate on the subjects of neighborhood definition and hours of operation, the LLA approved the application and recommended the application be further reviewed for approval by the State.

Annual Liquor License Renewal Application

Clerk Sharon Cate also presented a Liquor License to be reviewed by the LLA on behalf of Mid County Liquors. Application reviews were found to be satisfactory with no violations. The LLA reviewed and approved the application for the annual liquor license renewal. Commissioner Watson closed the LLA and resumed with the BoCC regular meeting at 10:05 am.

Financial Audit Engagement Letter

Gilpin County Finance Director Smith presented an Engagement Letter for Audit Services with Hinkle & Company for the year ending December 31, 2020. Financial impact will be $20,000 for a single audit with additional services not to exceed $3,000. At this point, the Financial Department is anticipating that only a single audit will be necessary. Gilpin County Commissioners approved the Audit Engagement letter unanimously

Finance Fund Balance Policies (Resolution #20-23)

Gilpin County Finance Director Clorinda Smith also presented a Resolution #20-23 that will update the Gilpin County Finance Fund and Fund Balance Reporting Policies. This document is usually reviewed once a year with little or no changes. This year’s review incorporated the Parks and Recreation Fund, which in previous years came out of the General Fund. On November 3, 2020 voters approved a Parks and Recreation mill levy increase and the Library Fund mill levy increase, thus creating the new fund plus changing the Library fund as justification for generating this resolution. Gilpin County Commissioners approved Resolution #20-23 unanimously.

Rescinding Fire Restrictions (Resolution #20-28)

Gilpin County Commissioners unanimously approved Resolution #20-28 which removes all stages of Fire Restrictions County wide.

Loss of Revenue

Gilpin County Treasurer Mary Lorenz presented the September and October 2020 Treasurer’s report. The loss of revenue from gaming and the loss of interest collected made for a couple of dismal reports. Total Cash Balance for September 2020 is down a little more than $4 million dollars with 98.8 % taxes collected. The October 2020 report is slightly better, indicating the Total Cash Balance is $2.2 million down from 2019 at nearly $17 million dollars.

County Tax Lien Properties For Sale – Make Offer!

County Treasurer Mary Lorenz also presented a report that two more properties were added to the County’s list of Tax Lien unsaleable properties. A series of lots in Central City and another parcel of land labeled “Illegal Tract” are now property of Gilpin County. According to County Manager Abel Montoya, there are approximately 70 properties that are also Tax Lien properties that went up for auction, no bids were recorded, and they become property of Gilpin County through the Treasurer’s lien process. The Commissioners agreed that these properties need to be sold to generate the estimated $750,000 in property tax revenue that these properties lose every year while they’re held by the County. Manager Montoya agreed to join forces with County Attorney Benning and get these properties listed for sale with the disclaimer of “Buyer Beware.”

Inmate Health Services Agreement Amendment

Gilpin County Sheriff’s Office Detentions Division Chief Sean Wheeler presented an amendment to the Inmate Health Services Agreement with Southern Health Partners (SHP). Effective December 1, 2020 SHP agrees to provide an on-site staff plan consisting of 40 nursing hours per week. Cost of the new contract will be $232,000 which will save the County about $76,600 compared to contracts approved in previous years. Gilpin County Commissioners approved the amended agreement unanimously.

Child Support Enforcement IGA

Gilpin County Human Services Director Laura Solomon presented a Child Support Enforcement InterGovernmental Agreement between Gilpin County and Clear Creek County. In the IGA, Clear Creek agrees to provide administrative services for a Child Support Services employee who will be shared with Gilpin County. This will include and is not limited to providing office space, processing payroll, and billing Gilpin County for one third of the cost based on sharing a full-time employee. In the past, Jefferson County provided these services to Clear Creek and Gilpin Counties with the guarantee that all State incentives be returned back to Jeffco. The approximate cost to Gilpin County this year will be about $50,000 due to office set-up and training for the new full-time employee. Some of those costs will be reimbursed back to the counties through incentives from the State. In 2019 Gilpin County received $12,800 from the State in incentives which will partially cover the new full-time employee. Gilpin County Commissioners approved the IGA unanimously.

Denver Metroplex Flight Plan Brief Filed

County Attorney Brad Benning reported that the County has filed a Petitioner’s Brief as requested by the District Court against the Denver Metroplex flight plan. The Brief included arguments that there are five flight paths over Gilpin County that are having noise and visual impact to the County, the FAA did not conduct meetings with Gilpin County, and that noise studies were not properly conducted within the County. A copy of the brief is available on the Gilpin County website at www.co.gilpin.co.us. Select “County Commissioners” page and select “Metroplex Information Page.”

Graybar Hotel Bookings Down

County Manager Abel Montoya presented the October 2020 Detentions monthly report to the Commissioners and the folks online. Overall the 2020 jail population has been a fraction of what it has been in previous years. In October the Sheriff’s Department only had 18 bookings which is 99 less than October 2019. There have been 348 total bookings so far in 2020, which is down 75% from the totals experienced in 2019.

Legislative COVID Aid

Mr. Montoya also provided an update on the Colorado General Assembly Special Session that addressed legislation related to COVID. About $280 million dollars in stimulus packages have been released to help out impacted businesses and schools. Other packages provide relief to Colorado residents with evictions, utility assistance, and help with food bank and child care available. This information is fresh from the State as it was just released last week. According to Mr. Montoya, “Some program applications haven’t even been printed up yet.” Gilpin County intends to keep abreast of the information coming out from the State to maximize assistance for County residents.

County Volunteers Recognized

Gilpin County Commissioners held a Volunteer Recognition presentation to honor Gilpin County volunteers who stepped up and helped out during the COVID-19 pandemic and the most recent wildland fires. Volunteers that were recognized are from organizations such as: Gilpin County Animal Rescue Team (GCART), Gilpin County Food Bank, Friends of the Gilpin County Community Center, Meals on Wheels Program, CSU Extension Master Gardeners, 4-H Program, CSU Extension Advisory Board, Library Board of Trustees, Public Health Advisory Board, Historic Preservation Board, Planning Commission, Ermel’s Thrift Store, Axe and Snacks, Red Cross, High Country Auxiliary, Friends of the Gilpin County Library, Central City Fire Department, Timberline Board of Directors, and Gilpin Arts. Congratulations and a heartfelt “THANK YOU” to all the volunteers of Gilpin County.

Meeting Minutes

The County Commissioners unanimously approved the minutes from the November 3, 12, and 17, 2020 meetings with some corrections. Commissioner Watson requested that the minutes from the November 20, 2020 meeting be revised to include the numerous problems experienced on the Zoom platform including the very disturbing Zoom “bomb.”

Public Comment

Resident Bill Marline commented on the proposed increase in fees at the transfer station. Mr. Marline proposed that the County increase the fee for trash and keep the recycling program free. Colorado has low recycling participation rate as it is, so imposing fees to recycle will lower that participation rate further.

Next Meeting

The last scheduled 2020 online meeting of the Gilpin County Commissioners will be on December 15, 2020 at 9:00 am. For more information, go to www.co.gilpin.co.us.

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