Clear Creek Canyon now has AT&T cell phone service

Gilpin County to receive $1.4 million from DOLA to offset gaming impacts

By Randy Beaudette

Once again, the Gilpin County Commissioners meeting was called to order at the historic Gilpin County Courthouse November 1, 2016 promptly at 9:00 a.m. with Commissioner Chair Linda Isenhart and Commissioners Schmalz and Watson. Also in attendance were County Manager Roger Baker, County Attorney Brad Benning, and Deputy Clerk to the Board Sharon Cate.

Agenda review

Agenda review revealed that the Equal Employment Opportunity Plan and the designation of the EEOC Coordinator will be postponed to a later date. Added to the agenda, was a presentation by Ray Rears concerning the new Enterprise Zone initiative.

Tri-County Workforce

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the provision of services in the Tri-County Workforce area was presented to the Board of Commissioners Tuesday. The MOU is an operational agreement that allows Tri-County to provide Career, Training, and Employer services to the residents of Gilpin County. The Jefferson County based operation also services Clear Creek County. Jill Howard from Tri-County also introduced Kevin Ashcroft, a new member of the team that will serve Gilpin County. Tri-County Workforce is also partnered with Jefferson County Human Services, SER-Jobs for Progress, Red Rocks Community College, and other related organizations. Questions brought up by Isenhart concerned the increase in collaboration with the Gilpin RE-1 schools and the Alternative High Schools in the area. Howard responded, “Tri-County has already been working with the schools meeting with the councilors and the students.” Isenhart also asked about Veteran services. Howard stated that the veterans are referred to Tri-County from the local Veterans Service administrator and they receive top priority when seeking training and job placement. The MOU complies with the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act which went into effect, July 1, 2015. The Gilpin County Commissioners approved the MOU unanimously.

Enterprise Zone 

  Central City Community Development Director Ray Rears presented an overview of the Enterprise Zone (EZ) initiative to the Board of Commissioners. Central City is working with the Association of Governments for  Northwest Colorado (AGNC) and the Office of Economic Development and International Trade to be included in the Enterprise Zone program. EZ program provides businesses located within the designated areas a tax credit against their state income liability. To cover the administrative costs to assist Gilpin businesses, they suggest an annual fee of $2,000 to provide the following services: Technical assistance to businesses and accounting firms, pre-qualify businesses who wish to use the tax incentive, and assist with inquiries about the incentive program. Credits are earned for investment in personal property and job training, adding employees, providing health care benefits, increased research and development expenditures, and rehabilitation of vacant buildings for commercial use. Rears requested that the Board of Commissioners draw up a letter of support to be presented at the November 16th AGNC meeting. At the November 16th meeting, Gilpin County will be considered for inclusion into the Colorado Enterprise Program.

Treasurer’s Report

Alynn Huffman presented a favorable County Treasurer’s report to the Board of Commissioners. The report stated that 99.71 % of the taxes collected so far this year resulting in a $5.4 million dollar total over last year’s. Huffman credited the hard work of her staff and the fact that folks don’t like to see their names in the paper for overdue taxes.

Public Trustee report

Alynn Huffman also presented the Gilpin County Public Trustee Report for the 3rd quarter of 2016. Total quarterly Income was $4,203, and quarterly Disbursements totaled $7,769. Bank Balances from June 30, 2016 to September 30, 2016 dropped $3,566 to $21,199. The report was accepted unanimously.

Wells Fargo Status

Alynn Huffman introduced Deanna Ostertag and Ron Hostetler from Wells Fargo to address questions from the Board of Commissioners. Isenhart led the questioning, “Where are we at with our County as far as any additional safeguards. We would like to hear from you once again to assure us that the funds are safe and where are we going forward from here?” Huffman informed the Commissioners that her office has a series of checks and balances that detect any problems in all the County accounts. If there are any inconsistencies, her office is in contact with Wells Fargo to resolve any and all issues. Huffman continues “I have full trust in Wells Fargo. They have handled my personal accounts for twenty five years.” Hostetler replied to the Board, “Wells Fargo has performed two relationship reviews with the County prior to all these issues that came up in September. We do meet with all of our customers on a regular basis to review their accounts, services charges, and the functionality, security, and fraud protection associated with their accounts.” Hostetler continues,” We have a long list of actions that will prevent these issues in the future.” The Gilpin County Commissioners seemed satisfied with the results of the meeting and will continue to utilize Wells Fargo for the County accounts.

Isenhart recessed the Board of County Commissioners and convened as the Board of Adjustments at 9:46 a.m.

Variance Requests

Community Development Director Tony Petersen presented to the Board a request on behalf of Carl Schembri. (BOA 16-04) The variance request is for the location at 435 Golden Dollar Rd, Russel Gulch. The applicant is requesting a variance that would permit the placement of a ground mounted solar power array 40 feet from the centerline of Golden Dollar Road. Current code requires 55 feet setback. Rational for the variance is that the location is on a severe south facing slope and Golden Dollar Road is an unimproved non-county road. Locating the array on the 55 feet setback would compromise its effectiveness, require the removal of several trees, and would be locate the array near a neighboring house. Commissioner Isenhart’s comment is that she is in favor of attracting alternative energy sources to the county. There were no arguments against the request. The Board approved the request with a general comment made by Commissioner Watson, “People should purchase property that they can build on without a requesting a variance.” Watson continues, “We are willing to move away from those general requirements for compelling reasons, but I get a little nervous that we don’t want to set a precedence saying come on – ask for a variance, no problem, and you’ll get one”

Another variance request that Tony Petersen presented was on behalf of Ben Crabb of 138 Elk Place (BOA 16-05). The application is for a variance that would permit the construction of a 1,200 square foot garage (30’X40’) within 15 feet of both the west and south property lines fronting Lake View Drive. Current code requires a 30 foot setback from both property lines. Arguments for the variance:  The house is accessed from Elk Place but the garage needs access from Lake View Drive because there is no available space alongside the house, the severe slope of the lot makes access from Elk Place impractical, the height of the cut-bank between Lake View Drive and the south property line is less severe, the southwest corner of the property is less steep, and the proposed garage site will avoid the existing leach field. Arguments against the variance: The 30 foot setback is designed to maintain a 60 foot separation between structures on adjacent Gilpin County lots. Presently there are no structures near the proposed site, any future building on the adjacent lot would likely be utilitarian in nature as the house on the effected lot is accessed from Elk Place, the owner of the affected lot to the west has stated that she is concerned that approval could have negative effects on her and/or her property, and the proposed building would interfere with County road maintenance. Judith and James Peltier approached the Board of adjustment with an emotional protest to the building of the garage citing that this is a small lot that they put a large house on and adding a large garage will be too much for the property. Mr. Petersen presented several alternatives such as building a smaller garage or moving the garage closer the west property line. After much discussion, Gilpin County Commissioners approved a continuance on Variance Request BOA 16-05 to be placed on the November 15th agenda at 9:05 a.m.

Isenhart closed the Board of adjustments and reconvened as the Board of County Commissioners at 10:17 a.m.

County Manager Report

County Manager Roger Baker reported that along with the normal status report, there are a couple of items that will be presented at the November 15th meeting. First County Attorney Petrock will report on the Dakota Mountain Lease, and second Bill Cook will do the insurance self-funding presentation. These two long-term projects are moving right along. Baker also pointed out the awarding of the DOLA grant money to Gilpin County. According to the letter, a little more than $1.4 million dollars was awarded to Gilpin County Sheriff’s Office, Gilpin County Ambulance, Gilpin County Victim Services, and others that will help offset the cost impact of gaming on our community. Also of note, the 2016-2017 Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative, Matching Student Scholarship Grant was awarded to Gilpin County. A total of $12,333 will be available for Gilpin County students to attend Red Rocks Community College.

Central City Cemeteries

  USFS has committed to an OHV parking area; timeline unknown. Central City and Gilpin County have both committed $10,000 each for fencing in the area.

Cell phone availability in Clear Creek Canyon

  AT&T has activated the cell on the Sheriff’s tower. There is now AT&T phone service in Clear Creek Canyon.

Gilpin Senior Living, the shooting range, and the County broadband access are issues that are ongoing.

Gilpin County Commissioners approved the minutes from the October 18th regular meeting.

Gilpin County Planning Commission Appointments

Gilpin County Commissioners approved the appointments of the following folks to the Planning Commission: Bob Haxel, Jane Billings, and Laura Jeney.

Next Meeting

The next Gilpin County Board of Commissioners meeting will be November 15, 2016 at 9:00 a.m. at the historic Gilpin County Courthouse, 203 Eureka St, Central City Colorado.

For this and any information on Gilpin County business or departments, visit

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