Commissioners declare February as Black History Month
By Randy Beaudette
After a work session with State representatives Tammy Story and Judy Amabile on upcoming State legislations, and another work session about parking on County roads, the Gilpin County Board of County Commissioners got to work tackling issues such as the supplement to 2021 budget for costs associated with the County’s vaccination plan, a discussion concerning the Clear Creek/ Gilpin County shooting range joint venture, and an update on the Human Services/ Public Health building renovation.
Board-Chair Linda Isenhart opened up the meeting at 12:30 pm along with Commissioners Web Sill and Sandy Hollingsworth. Also joining online was County Manager Abel Montoya, County Attorney Brad Benning, Deputy Clerk Sharon Cate, and members from the Senior Leadership Team.
Black History Month
The Gilpin County BoCC passed a proclamation declaring February as Black History Month to recognize the contributions of African Americans to the County of Gilpin.
Gilpin County Treasurer Mary Lorenz presented the dismal Treasurer’s Report for December 2020 which reflected the financial impacts from COVID-19 to the County. Though 99.2% of total taxes collected is a bit over last year’s 99.18 %, the Grand Total reported is down by more than $4.4 million dollars from December 2019.
Gilpin County Public Health Coordinator Bonnie Albrecht reported that there have been 149 cases in the last eleven months, with eight being in the last fourteen days, and one additional unconfirmed death. Positivity rate is reported to be 1.8%. The state is rolling the latest revision of the COVID Dial which will be based reported metrics in a seven-day period rather than the current fourteen-day period. Positivity rates may also be lower in the new revision. Testing has been halted for at least two weeks due to the inaccuracy of the curative test. Public Health is looking into some more accurate testing methods. There have been 459 first doses administered, and 187 second dose vaccinations in the County to date.
Gilpin County Emergency Manager Nathan Whittington added that vaccines are now being administered at the Ameristar Casino on an “appointment only” basis. A request has been submitted to Gilpin County Animal Response Team to provide administrative assistance at the vaccination site.
Supplemental Budget Costs for Vaccination Plan
Gilpin County Emergency Manager Nathan Whittington requested a supplement to the 2021 budget to cover the additional costs of the vaccination plan. The itemized, request which included salary and supplies to carry out the vaccination plan, added up to $167, 000 plus a 20% buffer from the County General Fund. All or some of these costs may be reimbursed through the new FEMA Public Assistance money and the various available grants. Commissioner Sill asked Mr. Whittington to amend the request to exclude the 20% buffer and trim the request down to $150,000. A motion was made for $150,000 supplemental funds to be added to the 2021 budget to implement the vaccination plan, which passed unanimously.
Clear Creek/ Gilpin County Shooting Range Update
The Gilpin County BoCC conducted a discussion concerning the partnership between Clear Creek and Gilpin Counties to develop a sport shooting park. The proposed park will be on the site of the current Clear Creek shooting range. Cost of the new complex will be around $2.8 million dollars. An application for a $850,000 grant from Colorado Parks and Wildlife will soon be submitted. A $1.35 million dollar grant from Great Outdoors Colorado and a partnership contribution of $400,000 from Gilpin County will be used, with the remainder of the cost being provided by Clear Creek County. The purpose of the discussion was to consider utilizing recreation money from the Conservation and the Frei Quarry Funds and to align the newly installed Board with the previous Board’s decision to support this effort. A motion to continue support of the Clear Creek and Gilpin Counties sport shooting park passed 2 to 1, with Commissioner Sill voting “no,” citing the need for fiscal responsibility.
County Attorney’s Report
26 Hornblend Place Zoning Update
Mr. Benning submitted a request for direction from the Board of Commissioners regarding the zoning violations located at 26 Hornblend Place. The owner has been cited with zoning enforcement action to clear several disabled vehicles form the property. A judgement was awarded to the County last fall for the unresolved zoning violations in which carried a penalty of $100 per day and $1,000 court fine. An action was filed in court to enforce the awarded injunction and issue an administrative warrant that will allow the County to remove the cars from the property at the owner’s expense. The owner has not had any correspondence with the Attorney’s office regarding this issue since the awarding of the judgement. On February 1, 2021 the owner’s caregiver contacted the Attorney’s office stating that they were unaware there was a judgement on the property and ensured the attorney that an effort will be initiated to resolve the zoning violations. The Commissioners agreed that as long as an effort is being put forth to clean up the property, they were willing to extend the deadline to the end of March then the County will take further action to enforce the judgement
Gilpin County Attorney Brad Benning and Treasurer Mary Lorenz addressed the moratorium on HUD foreclosures through a Presidential Executive order. Currently there are three HUD foreclosures in process in Gilpin County. Colorado Revised Statutes according to Mr. Benning states that mortgages cannot be extended for more than twelve months. The Executive Order extended the moratorium beyond what is stated in the state statutes. Some counties in Colorado are adhering to the State statutes, whereas other are conducting business under the Executive order. Currently Gilpin County is basically adhering to the moratorium, but the final decision is made by the lenders and their attorneys.
Xcel Pipeline Noise Update
Attorney Benning also provided an update on solutions that have been or will be implemented to reduce the noise emitting from the Xcel natural gas pipeline located on Dory Hill Road. Xcel project manager contacted the Attorney’s office and informed Mr. Benning that natural gas pipelines do make sounds from the gas flowing through them and that Xcel is working to reduce the noise. A reduction of flow, insulating of pipes and a housing be installed around the pipes will be solutions that will reduce any noises emitting from the pipeline.
County Manager’s Report
Human Services/ Public Health Building Update
Gilpin County Manager Abel Montoya presented the latest update on the Human Services/ Public Health building renovation. First floor furniture was installed on February 3, but the countertops have yet to be installed, due approximately a week after that. The final inspection is scheduled for February 11, with the final move in date expected to take place February 22 and then will be open for business.
Gilpin County BoCC unanimously approved the minutes from the January 19, 2021meeting with no corrections or amendments.
A motion passed to adjourn into Executive Session per CRS 24-6-402(4)(f)(l) to discuss personnel matters regarding specific employee(s) and CRS 24-6-402(4)(b) to confer with the County Attorney to receive legal advise on specific legal questions regarding personnel.
The next online meeting is scheduled for February 16, 2021 at 9:00 am. Go to www.co.gilpin.co.us for further details.