Gilpin Commissioners ask residents to mask-up and help slow COVID spread

Zephyr View Cabin designated as a Local Landmark in Lincoln Hills

By Randy Beaudette

Gilpin Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) held a regular online meeting on November 17, 2020 that highlighted topics such as Exemplary Employee Recognition, Zephyr View Cabin Landmark Designation, and Supplemental appropriations to the 2020 budget.

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

COVID-19 Update

Gilpin County Emergency Manager Nathan (Nate) Whittington reported that there is a significant increase in COVID-19 cases throughout the county. Gilpin County has a 17% positivity rate at the local testing site. There is also a significant spike of COVID cases throughout the response community. Black Hawk Police and Fire have reported cases as well as Timberline and Coal Creek Fire. This COVID spike in Gilpin cases requires local officials to refer to Colorado Department of Health and Environment (CDPHE) for implementation of mitigation procedures to slowdown the Coronavirus infection rate.

Gilpin County Public Health Coordinator Bonnie Albrecht reported that Gilpin County moved into COVID Dial yellow on Friday November 13th which restricts capacity in the casinos and other businesses in the county. If this trend continues, Gilpin County will move into Orange on the COVID Dial which will close the casinos. The County has 64 positive cases since March, 2020, with 30 of those within the last two weeks. Throughout the County there is an overall 9.5% positivity rate* with most cases associated with social gatherings and travel. The casinos are asked to step up screening for employees to two times a day and to capture more in-depth guest information to ease with contact tracing procedures. Public Health is asking residents to wear masks, maintain social distancing, avoid social gatherings whenever possible, and avoid unnecessary travel. For further guidelines, refer to

*17% positivity rate for the local testing site, 9.5% overall rate is an average from local and non-local testing sites.

County Property Mask Mandate

Commissioner Ron Engels reminded the online participants that there is an indoor and outdoor mask mandate on all county owned property including the Solid Waste Transfer Station (Dump). There have been incidents recently where residents wishing to utilize the dump are refusing to wear a mask around the attendants and other residents. Strong words from Commissioner Engels to residents, “Wear a mask or take your trash someplace else.” Board chair Watson inquired how can Gilpin County accommodate individuals with various medical conditions where wearing a mask can impede breathing. Possible solutions range from dumping refuse in the open area around the back of the transfer station to restricting times non-mask wearers can utilize the dump for example the last half hour before the dump closes. Public Works Deputy Director Dave Rich added that according to the Transfer site attendants, there are about a half dozen visitors a day that refuse to wear a mask while utilizing the site. The attendants have reported a small percentage of those non-mask wearers express harsh language and display offensive hand gestures. Most of the residents that utilize the transfer station and the slash site cooperate by complying with the mask wearing Public Health Order, but then there is a small percentage that do not for one reason or another. Mr. Rich also emphasized that there are only three transfer station employees that work in close proximity with one another. If one comes down with COVID, the other two will be quarantined and Solid Waste may be closed down for a minimum of two weeks due to lack of resources. Road and bridge employees may be able to attend the Transfer site, but then there will be a lack of resources in that department. “That is not what we want with winter setting in,” according to Mr. Rich.

The Commissioners agreed to explore options and implement solutions that will not disrupt operations at the Transfer Station.

Exemplary Employee Recognition

Emergency Manager Nate Whittington, Public Health Coordinator Bonnie Albrecht, and Public Works Deputy Director Dave Rich were named as Gilpin County Exemplary Employees for their outstanding service to our community. Thank you for all you do and congratulations.


Variance Modification (BOA 20-02)

The BoCC acting as the Board of Adjustments reviewed an application of a variance modification as presented by Gilpin County Planner Tami Archer. The variance previously approved would permit construction of a 1,165 square foot addition on to an existing structure to be placed 22.5 feet from the eastern property line. County building code requires a setback of 30 feet from any property line. During excavation phase, it was noted that errors on the engineering set the addition 18.4 feet from the east property line. There were no comments in support or in opposition of this request and the Board of Adjustment approved BOA-20-02 unanimously.

Zephyr Cabin Landmark Designation

County Planner Tami Archer also presented a Landmark Designation for the Zephyr View Cabin Located in the Lincoln Hills subdivision. The owners of the Zephyr View Cabin located at 31 Pitts Place applied for a building permit to rehabilitate the foundation and an addition for the existing cabin. The submittal of the permit triggered requirement of the cabin to be reviewed by the Historical Preservation Commission (HPC) due to its longevity at this location. During the review process, the designation of Local Landmark status was explored and the longtime family residents were eager to assist HPC with documentation to fulfill that task. On October 15, 2020, HPC voted unanimously to declare the Zephyr View Cabin a Local Landmark supported by an extensive eligibility report from the Historic Commission’s consultant. Cabin owner Judge Jackson spoke on behalf of the Jackson, Pitts, Scott, and Holbeck families that have owned the cabin since 1926. Judge Jackson was excited that his longtime family cabin is being considered for designation of a Local Landmark and sharing its rich history and importance to the Lincoln Hill Community. Gilpin County Commissioners approved the Zephyr Cabin Designation unanimously.

Gaming Impact Grant Award

Gilpin County Finance Director Clorinda Smith presented the Gaming Impact Award to the online participants stating that Gilpin will receive a little more than $576,000 for gaming related impacts to the County. Allocation of funds are to be divided up between EMS, Law Enforcement, Human Services, Eagle’s Nest, Detentions, Gilpin Schools, and Judicial. The grant award for 2021 is significantly reduced from the 2020 award.

Supplemental Appropriations (Resolution #20-24)

Gilpin County Commissioners approved a resolution that will provide supplement appropriations to the following funds:

–$500,000 to the Human Services Fund

–$71,710 to the Public Health

–$36,600 to the Conservation fund

Finance Fund Balance Policies (Resolution #20-23)

Gilpin County Finance Director Clorinda Smith also presented a Resolution #20-23 that will update the Gilpin County Finance Fund and Fund Balance Reporting Policies. This document is usually reviewed once a year with little or no changes. This year’s review incorporated the Parks and Recreation Fund, which in previous years came out of the General Fund. On November 3, 2020 voters approved a Parks and Recreation mil levy increase, thus creating the new fund and generating this resolution. Gilpin County Commissioners agreed to postpone ratification of the resolution in order to include Library Fund changes that were also voted in.

Opioid Settlement

Gilpin County Attorney Brad Benning provided an update on the opioid settlement filed to address negligent practices by the big pharmaceuticals that manufactured such products. The settlement has been discussed with Colorado State Attorney General and all the counties impacted by the opioid crisis. The manufacturers want to settle with all the parties involved at once in order to get this behind them and move on. Settlement structure indicates that Gilpin County is not currently located within a settlement region as yet, but that status is expected to be updated soon. Before Gilpin can legally enter into the settlement distribution region, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) needs to be initiated and ratified by all the counties involved. Commissioner Isenhart suggested that Gilpin County join the Jefferson County Settlement Region in order to utilize the Jefferson County Mental Health Department that Gilpin is already a subscriber to. The commissioners passed a motion to join the JeffCo Region, but has yet to ratify an MOU. The Gilpin County Settlement is expected to be around $8,000 dedicated to opioid treatment and mitigation.

Human Services Public Health Building Progress

Gilpin County Manager Abel Montoya reported that the newly renovated Human Services Public Health building has made significant progress recently with the construction completion date expected to be December 29, 2020. Human Services and Public Health staff will be able to do a walk-through within a month or so to get an idea of the layout of the building. Some issues still need to be addressed and the project remains within the proposed budget. The official move-in date is expected to be around mid-to-late January.

Snow Removal Covered in Gilpin

  The Commissioners approved the ratification of the latest revision of the Snow Removal Policy. Changes incorporated in the header in which the address was formally “Black Hawk Colorado” now reads “Gilpin County Colorado” and that an adequate number of plow trucks and drivers will available to provide snow removal with this modified plan that will also incorporate backup equipment and operators. Only day shift plowing will be accomplished which can start as early as 4:00 am to accommodate the school bus routes. The routes will be smaller, but operators will be able to handle all levels of service.

Planning Commission appointments

Gilpin County Commissioners appointed Rea Wrobel, Roxy Gross, Art Fuqua, Kurtis Duncan, and Melissa Harless to the Gilpin County Planning Commission.

Meeting Minutes

Gilpin County Commissioners unanimously approved the meeting minutes from the October 26 emergency meeting, October 30 special meeting , and the November 3, 2020 regular meeting.

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