Commissioners approve modified fire restrictions for Gilpin County

Telecommunications feasibility study, Public Works truck loan

By Lynn Volkens

Gilpin County Commissioners Buddy Schmalz and Connie McLain met the morning of June 25, 2013. Commissioner Gail Watson and County Manager Roger Baker were absent. Commissioners approved the lease-purchase of a Public Works truck, set electronic waste disposal fees, readied a telecommunications feasibility study and ratified fire restrictions put in place by Sheriff Bruce Hartman on June 12th, and then modified on June 24th.

Fire Restrictions

  Commissioners adopted Resolution 13-08, ratifying Sheriff Bruce Hartman’s June 12th decision to impose temporary fire restrictions in Gilpin County. Hartman modified the restrictions on June 24th which you can read up on if you click here. The restrictions prohibit building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire or recreational campfire except a recreational fire within a permanently constructed fire grate in a developed campground or picnic area. A stove fire is defined as “a campfire built inside an enclosed stove or grill, portable brazier, or a pressurized liquid or gas stove, including a space-heating device.”

Open burning, including “bon-fires” that require a permit, are prohibited during the restricted time and burn permits issued prior to the restrictions, but the burn has not yet occurred, must wait until after restrictions are lifted-unless the permit issuing agency authorizes the burn on the day of its occurrence.

No fireworks of any kind.

No smoking is allowed unless in an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area at least six feet in diameter that is barren or has been cleared of all flammable material. Also prohibited is the operation of a chainsaw or off-road vehicle without a working spark arrestor.

Per the modified restrictions, the use of liquid or gas fueled appliances (propane grills with a shut-off valve) is allowed. Charcoal grills, welding and cutting torches , recreational fires, chiminea heaters, and liquid or gas-fueled Tiki torches may be used in areas no closer than 30 feet from an undeveloped area.

“Recreational Fire” is defined as “An outdoor fire burning material other than rubbish or debris where the fuel being burned is not contained in a portable outdoor fireplace, or barbeque grill and has a total fuel area of 3 feet or less in diameter, and 2 feet or less in height, for pleasure, religious, ceremonial, cooking, warmth or similar purposes. This includes fires in barrels and drums; fixed, permanent outdoor fireplaces; and barbeque pit fires.” Wood pellet stoves are allowed. Individuals implementing any of the above exemptions are required to take adequate measures to prevent uncontrolled fires. Having shovels, fire extinguishers or other extinguishing agents nearby is advised.

Governmental Lease-Purchase

  Inadopting Resolution 13-09, Commissioners authorized a Master Governmental Lease-Purchase Agreement, with Wells Fargo Equipment Finance, Inc. to acquire a roll-off truck used by the Public Works department to haul trash to the landfill. The purchase price had been included in the 2013 budget. Cost of the new vehicle: $179,093.

E-Waste Disposal and Fees

  In order to meet State law (Senate Bill 12-133: the Electronic Recycling Jobs Act) which bans many electronic devices from landfills, and provide Gilpinites with a local way to dispose of electronic items (e-waste), such as televisions, computer equipment, cell phones, batteries, DVD players, etc., it was determined that the County would collect these items at the trash compactor site. The County must charge fees to cover these items as they are handled by a hired Certified Waste Recycler. Adding those fees required a revision of the Solid Waste Fee Schedule. Commissioners accomplished the revision byadopting Resolution 13-10, setting the fees (for County residents) to dispose of copy machines and printers at $40 each for full-size and $10 each for desktop; televisions, $1 per diagonal inch; personal computers (PC”S), DVD players, VC’s fax machines, scanners and routers, $5 each; hard drives, keyboards, mouse, PDA’s and circuit cards, $1 each. Disposal of auto, truck and commercial batteries will be $10 each; motorcycle and lawnmower batteries, $5; and batteries “smaller than a brick” are $2 each. Fees for non-residents are higher for some items. Public Works Director, Curt Logsdon, said he anticipated having to revise the fee schedule after the program has been in effect for a year and it is known how much and what type of e-waste Gilpinites are recycling. “If anything, the fees will probably go down,” he said. The items being collected are “100% recyclable,” he said.  Logsdon commented that e-waste programs, which are being set up by local governments statewide to accommodate the new law, will provide more jobs as well as keeping hazardous waste out of landfills.

Special Events License

  Commissioners, acting as the Local Liquor Licensing Authority,approved a special events permit for the annual Gilpin County Fair which will be on August 17-18, 2013. The license includes a beer tent. Commissioners conducted the required public hearing prior to the approval; no one from the public spoke either for or against the license.

Internet and Telecommunications Cooperative

   Internet3 Telecommunications (i3) of Denver, was selected to do a two-stage assessment of the Broadband environment and need for Clear Creek and Gilpin Counties. Stage 1 is to identify the gaps in network and provide a strategy to fill those gaps, including cost estimates. Measures would be taken of existing data speed, (wireline, fixed wireless, mobile) to show what is actually available vs. what is advertised as available. i3 will also look at where the most challenged areas of the counties are located and where outages occur. They will inventory middle mile assets of fiber optic cable routes (terrestrial and aerial), and microwave. Because different providers have added infrastructure in various areas and at differing times, the County doesn’t have up-to-date data on what types of cable and other infrastructure is already in place. i3 will also inventory last mile providers and switching facilities. Finally, in Stage 1, i3 will identify deficiencies in cellular services and ways to document them. Cost of Stage 1 is $70 per hour for 26 hours, for a total of $1,820.

Stage 2 is a more comprehensive assessment of needs, including infrastructure and services, to be done through surveys, public meetings and asset mapping. i3 wants to determine the total aggregate demand for bandwidth in Gigabits and dollars per month per county. This stage includes county and municipal governments, school districts, public safety, healthcare, private sector, service providers, casinos, utilities and other buyers of big bandwidth. To do the research and compile a comparative analysis is estimated to take 30 days at a cost of $4,480 ($70 per hour for 64 hours).

Commissioners approved the contract, not to exceed $6,300 and conditioned upon that amount being split evenly with Clear Creek County, subject to approval by Clear Creek County Commissioners.

Departmental Reports

  The Sheriff’s Office/Detentions Division May report shows 71 bookings for that month (51 male). The breakdown of arrest, by agency: Gilpin County Sheriff’s Office, 30; Black Hawk Police Department, 26; Central City Police Department, 8; Division of Gaming, 4; and Colorado State Patrol, 3. Of those arrested, six were Gilpinites. Gaming-related arrests numbered 58. The average daily population at the County jail was 42 inmates.

At Gilpin County Public Library, the may report shows 2,134 items circulated for the month with adult DVDE movies and television series leading the way (471 items checked out). Children’s and young adult materials followed with 452 items checked out. E-book circulation was 104. The library was open 23 days in May with the estimated count of visits at 1,150. The new Artists-in-Residence summer program on digital photography is underway, as is the children’s summer reading program. Seven new computers had been ordered for patrons’ use, as well as three new computers for library staff. These were purchased with donated funds. The library is in the process of labeling library materials with bar codes so that its new AspenCat automation system can be implemented. Much of the cost was covered via a grant from the Colorado Library Consortium.

Employee Handbook Change

  As Commissioner Watson and County Manager Baker were not present, Commissioners tabled their decision regarding proposed changes to the Vacation Leave section of the Employee Handbook. Human Resources Director Susie Allen told Commissioners the changes had been initiated by the County Manager. Among the proposed changes is allowing the County Manager to waive the 208-hour limit on accrued vacation hours for full-time employees. Normally, vacation hours do not accrue after the 208-hour limit. When a person leaves the County’s employ, he or she will be paid 100% of accrued unused vacation time up to 208 hours. For the first year of employment, full-time employees earn vacation time at the rate of 3 hours per bi-weekly pay period. Full-time employees who have been with the County 2 – 5 years earn vacation time at the rate of four hours for each bi-weekly pay period; 6-10 years earns six hours per bi-weekly pay period; and for employees of 11 or more years, eight hours per each bi-weekly pay period. Part-time employees, who work at least 24 hours per week, earn vacation time at half the rate of full-time employees. The same waiver and unused vacation pay policies apply for part-timers, but the limit is 104 hours. County employees are encouraged to take their earned vacation time each year.

Commissioners will consider these changes at their July 9, 2013 meeting.

PILT Distribution

  A letter received June 14th from the Secretary of the Interior notified Commissioners that $88,266 was on the way to Gilpin County as the 2013 Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILT). PILT is Federal funding that compensates local governments for Federal lands within their jurisdictions. There are costs associated with maintaining support services for the Federal lands, but the lands are not taxable. PILT payments help defray those costs.  Nationally, there are currently about 1,900 local jurisdictions receiving PILT payments – a total of $399.8 million this year. For more information on PILT, visit

Attorney’s Update

County Attorney Jim Petrock told Commissioners that the County, as well as the two other defendants named in the case brought by Brannan Sand & Gravel, had filed their latest briefs in that case, which Brannan has asked the Colorado Supreme Court to hear. “Stay tuned,” Petrock advised, adding that after this, “There are no more appeals possible.” The case has been ongoing for five years.

Public Comment

  A resident of Aspen Springs subdivision asked Commissioners to honor the County’s agreement, made in 2003 with residents of Coyote Circle, to not use magnesium chloride on their roads. She also asked that the County notify these resident, about ten families, she said, ahead of time, preferably by letter as not all Gilpinites use Twitter and Facebook (or even have internet), when changes were going to be made. She suggested there be a public meeting with the residents prior to making changes. Notice of the proposed changes could be included in the weekly County Manager’s column that runs in the local newspapers, she added. She said the 2003 agreement had been the result of a meeting with CDOT officials, Road & Bridge personnel, and County Commissioners at that time, and had resulted in the County’s agreement to maintain the roads in her area more frequently and use an environmentally safe organic material vs. chemicals. She complimented the Road & Bridge department on the maintenance of the road, but said magnesium chloride had recently been used and the leaves of the aspen trees were turning brown. Commissioner Schmalz responded that Commissioners would check into it and have the County Manager get back to her.

An Apex Valley Road resident asked Commissioners for details on proposed improvements to her road that she said she had read about in a County Manager’s column in the local newspaper. She asked where to get more information. Commissioner Schmalz asked that she call the County Manager directly.

 Heads Up

  Gilpin County Commissioners meet next on July 9, 2013.

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