Motor vehicle appointments booked up through mid-February
By Randy Beaudette
Gilpin Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) held their regular meeting on January 19, 2021 to address many issues such as the Emergency Management Performance Grant, the application to the 5 Star Program, and the Family First COVID Relief Act extension.
Board-Chair Linda Isenhart opened up the meeting promptly at 9:00 am along with Commissioners Web Sill and Sandy Hollingsworth Also joining online were County Manager Abel Montoya, County Attorney Brad Benning, Deputy Clerk Sharon Cate, and members from the Senior Leadership Team.
Public Health Coordinator Bonnie Albrecht announced that numbers are trending in the right direction, with only nine cases in the last two weeks, which brings our positivity rate to 4.9%. 404 vaccinations have been administered within the County with no recorded major side effects. Testing continues on Tuesdays between 10:00 am until 11:30 am at the Public Health Building at 101 Norton Drive. The state was going send a van up to assist with testing on January 15, but cancelled due to high winds. Gilpin County has had 138 positive cases with two deaths since March 2020.
Emergency Manager Nathan Whittington reported that the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) has been experiencing some logistical challenges at both the testing and vaccination sites. High winds and cold temperatures are posing some challenges for the ambulance crews assisting the EOC. One solution for these challenges is to move operations to a fixed unnamed site somewhere close to the Black Hawk/ Central City area.
Annual Emergency Management Performance Grant
Emergency Manager Nathan Whittington also presented an application for the annual Emergency Management Performance Grant (EMPG) to the Board for approval. The EMPG is a Federal Grant that passes through the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management down to County Emergency Managers. The grant will fund Gilpin County’s Emergency Manager’s annual salary and partially fund expenses. Funds requested in the grant application total $73,158. Total EOC Office support expenses total around $146,000. With the EMPG coupled to a $60,000 Colorado State grant, actual expenses to the County will be around $12,850 for this much needed service. Gilpin County BoCC unanimously approved a motion to submit the EMPG application.
BOARD OF HEALTH
5-Star Program (PHO #21-01)
County Manager Abel Montoya requested that the Gilpin County Board of Health approve a Public Health Order (PHO) #21-01 that will allow the County to apply to the 5 Star Program. The Colorado Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) 5 Star Program requires businesses certified through the program to implement safety measures beyond what is already required by Public Health Orders and guidelines that will help slow the spread of COVID-19, and in doing so, they will be able to expand operations. This program is for responsible businesses that are following public health guidance, and going above and beyond to prioritize the health and safety of their staff and customers. If approved, businesses will be allowed to operate at a lower level on the State COVID Dial. For instance, if the County is in COVID Dial “Orange” status, approved businesses will be able to operate in “Yellow” which will result in higher capacities in those approved businesses. Inspections and compliance checks will be administered by the Cities of Black Hawk and Central City to businesses within those municipalities. Inspections conducted in unincorporated Gilpin County will be accomplished by Gilpin County Public Health. Gilpin County Board of Health approved PHO 21-01 unanimously.
BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
5-Star Program (Resolution 21-04)
Gilpin County Commissioners also unanimously approved Resolution 21-04 which approves application to the CDPHE 5 Star Program.
Clerk and Recorder’s December Report
Chief Deputy Clerk Ashley Martin presented the Clerk and Recorder’s Report for the month of December 2020. Ms. Martin reported that increased recordings added $23, 500 to the County’s revenue with a large increase in motor vehicle recordings of a little more than $191,000 which is shared between the State and County. She also announced that the Clerk’s office is booked for motor vehicle appointments thru February 15, 2021. The Clerk and Recorder’s Office hours are Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 8:00 am to 11:30 am, and on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm. Commissioner Hollingsworth commented on the report that she was pleased that there was an increase in marriage licenses recorded in the County.
Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) Resolution #21-03
Gilpin County Manager Abel Montoya presented Resolution #21-03 which establishes a new Energy Improvement District in Gilpin County and approves participation into the C-PACE initiative. This program will help finance improvements to existing commercial buildings along with energy efficiency and sustainability in new construction. State Legislation passed in 2015, created the New Energy Improvement District which is recognized statewide. Individual counties need to voluntarily opt into the C-PACE program in order to receive any benefits. This legislation allowed the State of Colorado and Colorado Energy Office to develop the privately funded C-PACE program. Energy improvement loans taken through C-PACE are “Assessed” loans meaning that payments are made through the assessed County taxes rather than individual payments to the program. If an owner sells a building, the new owner is responsible for the assessed taxes plus the repayments back to C-PACE. As an incentive for the County to opt in, CPACE will reimburse 1% of the project cost back to the County for administrative costs. There are 36 of the 64 total counties in Colorado that have opted in, and C-PACE has financed 82 projects across Colorado with a total value of around $95 million dollars. Gilpin County Commissioners unanimously approved Resolution #21-03.
Director, Attorney, and Manager Salaries Approved
Gilpin County Manager Abel Montoya presented contract updates for the County Manager, County Attorney, Human Services Director, People/Culture & Finance Director, and the Parks & Recreation Director. The amendments to the contracts for 2021 added language that will make them consistent with the Gilpin County Employee Handbook. Other changes included vacation accrual language, contract durations, and language prohibiting these persons from running for an elected position. A motion to accept the updates to these contracts was approved unanimously with some additional minor changes. No salary figures were provided.
Potential Gaming Legislation
County Manager Montoya led an informational presentation of potential future gaming legislation that is currently being heard in this session of the Colorado General Assembly. Bills introduced to the State legislature, if passed, have the potential of changing the method in which gaming funds are distributed to the counties that participate in gaming activities. Debates concerning these bills range from adding “Negative Impacts due to Gaming” language, County support of a wholesale revision in regards to how gaming dollars are distributed, and County support of direct distribution of gaming dollars rather than going through the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) grant process for gaming revenue distribution. The exact language in these bills have not been released by the bill sponsors yet, but there is a potential of that these revisions will impact the method that Gilpin County receives those gaming dollars.
Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) with Library District
County Attorney Bradford Benning announced that IGA with the Library District is not ready for ratification yet. The Library District has not replied back to the attorney’s office with comments, so a vote on the IGA will have to be postponed.
Family First Corona Relief Act (FFCRA)
County Manager Abel Montoya and People/Culture & Finances Director Lori Schrayer presented the Family First Relief Act to the Commissioners. Family First Relief is a federally mandated act that ensures an employer will temporarily give an employee a number of time-off hours for COVID related issues. The Federal program ended on December 31, 2020 and Mr. Montoya requested a decision from the Commissioners to either continue the program locally or end it and have the Gilpin employees use sick and vacation time for such circumstances. To date, the County has paid out around $35,000 (1,000 hours) to employees through the FFCRA.
Option 1 is to continue with the FFCRA through the federal government which is not mandatory at this time. If the County elects to continue FFCRA, then the County is required to follow the Department of Labor requirements.
Option 2 would be to offer additional sick time not under the FFCRA guidelines.
Option 3 would be to not allow additional sick time for COVID and require employees to utilize the sick time that they currently have.
According to Ms. Schrayer, most surrounding counties adopted Option 2 which eliminates additional administrative processing and keep employees home if they are sick.
A motion was made to adopt Option 2 which will continue a local version of the FFRCA retroactive January 1, 2021. A motion was approved, 2 “yes” to 1 “no” vote. Commissioner Sill sited fiscal responsibility as the reason for his “no” vote.
The Gilpin County Board of County Commissioners approved the Meeting Minutes from the January 12, 2021 regular meeting. Commissioner Sill was excused from approval due to his absence.
The next Gilpin County Commissioners online meeting is scheduled to occur on Tuesday, February 2, 2021 at 9:00 am. For more information check out www.co.gilpin.co.us.