Gilpin casinos open for slot machine gaming Wednesday

Commissioners are working with State on opening table games soon

By Randy Beaudette

On June 9, 2020 Gilpin Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) held a special online meeting that featured topics such as preparations for the opening of Gilpin casinos, an Electronic Recording Technology Grant award, and a professional services agreement for the Human Services/ Public Health building renovation.

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

Local COVID-19 Testing

Gilpin County Public Health Coordinator Bonnie Albrecht announced that the COVID symptomatic testing on Saturday went very smoothly. Five or six tests were administered with results pending analysis. The CDPHE website case count for Gilpin County increased to five cases reported, but it is unclear if that additional case was related to the recent in-county testing or not.

Preparations for casino openings are currently underway with on-site inspections occurring later on in the week and the long-awaited opening is scheduled to occur on June 17th.

Gilpin County Emergency Manager Nathan Whittington mentioned that the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) continues to acquire supplies and PPE to support the next re-opening phase which will include casinos and the History Museum. Spray bottles and disinfectants continue to be hard to find at some retail outlets in the area, which basically turns a simple trip to the store into a scavenger hunt. With a little perseverance, most items can be obtained through outlets in the metro area.

Electronic Recording Technology Grant

Gilpin County Clerk and Recorder Sahari McCormick was pleased to announce that her department has been awarded an Electronic Recording Technology Grant of $280,528. The grant will allow the transfer all the property and tax records over to an electronic format. This will enable ease of access not only for the Clerk’s office, but the general public as well. Gilpin County Commissioners approved a motion to accept and sign the grant award as presented.

Underground Liquor License

Gilpin County BoCC Chair Gail Watson recessed the BoCC meeting and opened up  the Local Licensing Authority (LLA) at 9:08 am. Gilpin County Deputy Clerk Sharon Cate presented a Liquor License to be reviewed by the Local Liquor Licensing Authority (LLA) on behalf of Underground Liquors located at 15107 Hwy 119. 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 9:09 am.

Historic Cabin Preservation

Community Development Director Stephan Strohminger provided an update on the activities of the HPC starting with the historic Red Tail cabins. Gilpin County Planner and Historical Liaison Tami Archer joined in stating that the structural analysis report on the Red Tail Cabins has been received which identifies some critical deficiencies, including some foundation and roof issues. Other deficiencies noted in the report are not in immediate need of repair, but they will have to be addressed eventually. The report will be submitted to the Colorado State Historical Preservation Office (SHPO) for further analysis, approval, and grant recommendation.

The historic Moffat Tunnel cabins purchase continues to be in negotiations with Union Pacific. County Attorney Benning assured the Commissioners that his office is prepared to continue the negotiation process to resolve this issue as soon as possible.

Professional Services Agreement

Community Development Director Stephan Strohminger also presented a Professional Services Agreement between Gilpin County and SAFEBuilt. The Agreement is for Permit issuance and Inspection Services of the Human Services/ Public Health building renovation.  Total cost of the agreement is $3,500 for permit services and $105 per hour for inspection services not to exceed $5,200 for inspections. Gilpin County Commissioners approved the Agreement unanimously.

Legal Notes

Gilpin County Attorney Brad Benning announced that the FAA has requested and was granted an extension to July 8th on matters concerning the Denver MetroPlex air traffic project.

His office is also resolving matters concerned with the opening up of the casinos. Orders and protocols are being reviewed and information is being passed along to the casino general managers through Gilpin County Public Health.

The County Attorney’s Office contacted Air B&B and VRBO informing them that short-term rentals are required to conform to the Safer at Home orders issued by the State. Both agencies agreed to contact owners in the area and inform them of protocols set forth. Gilpin County was  considering a resolution requiring short-term rentals to be licensed, but due to the COVID 19 outbreak, those operational  regulations have been postponed.

Coronavirus Funds

Gilpin County Manager Abel Montoya informed the folks attending online that negotiations are ongoing with Central City and Black Hawk to determine the distribution of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) act funds. $536,000 has been allocated through Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) to Gilpin County for distribution for Coronavirus related expenses. The funds are not to be used as a budget backfill due to the lack of income revenue.

Elections at Community Center

Gilpin County Clerk and Recorder Sahari McCormick requested guidance from the Commissioners as to where the election and ballot processing can take place for the November General election other than the courthouse. The June 30th primary election has been relocated to the Community Center in order to adhere to the social distancing requirements of the Safer at Home order and Ms. McCormick requested that the General Election and ballot counting be held there as well. The Commissioners responded that relocating the election to the Community Center would be acceptable and is authorized.

Approval of Minutes

Gilpin County Commissioners approved the meeting minutes from the May 28, June 2, and  June 7 meetings with no corrections or amendments.

Casinos Open For Slots

Commissioner Engels provided an update stating that the County was notified that CDPHE has approve the variance request to open up the casinos and museum with two primary changes. To open up for slot machines only. A table games decision is being differed for approximately three weeks. The other change is to open up with 50% occupancy or 175 people in a confined space, whichever is less. Large casinos are working together in finding ways to create small spaces within the large areas that will allow additional patrons.

Library Variance

Gilpin County Library Director Michael Carlton requested that the Commissioners consider filing a variance for the library similar to those filed in surrounding counties. All three were in favor and agreed to get a draft of a variance drawn up as soon as possible.

Recess to Executive Session

The Commissioners recessed into Executive Session to confer with the County Attorney for the purpose of receiving legal advice on specific legal questions.

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