Commissioners deal with wildfire plans, boundaries, and parking issues
By Randy Beaudette
Gilpin Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) held their regular meeting on March 2, 2021 to address issues such as the Wildfire Suppression Plan, parking on County roads, and Community Center use fees.
Board-Chair Linda Isenhart opened up the meeting promptly at 9:00 am 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.
Resident Donna Okray-Parman expressed her concerns relating to the hours of operation of the Community Center and encouraged the Commissioners to consider implementing the Silver Sneakers program.
Resident Dick Lewis also expressed his concerns relating to the new fee schedule for the Community Center. The voted in mil levy increase is one thing, but implementing a fee for seniors “seems like a slap in the face to seniors” according to Mr. Lewis.
Public Health Coordinator Bonnie Albrecht reported that Gilpin County has only two positive cases in the last seven days which brings the positivity rate to 1.3%, which puts the County in level “Blue.” Ms. Albrecht stated that she intends to apply to the State to move the county into level Green. Testing continues to be administered at the Public Health building every Thursday from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. The County has done a total of 1,090 vaccinations – 681 first doses and 409 second doses. 70% of the Gilpin residents 70 years or older have been vaccinated. Public Health continues to schedule appointments for the COVID vaccines. Go to the Public Health website www.gilpincounty.org or call 303-515-4342. Volunteers are standing by.
Wildfire Suppression Plan
Gilpin County Emergency Manager Nathan Whittington presented the revised 2021 Annual Operating agreement for wildfire support. The purpose of this Annual Operating Plan (AOP) is to set forth standard operating procedures and responsibilities to implement cooperative wildfire protection on all land within Gilpin County. This version of the AOP has been modified to reflect the proposed changes by the State to allow this plan to turn into a five-year agreement. There is no financial impact to the County. Gilpin County Commissioners unanimously approved the revised AOP.
Gilpin County Treasurer Mary Lorenz reported that total County funds are down $1.8 million dollars under last years total. In her January 2021 report, Ms’ Lorenz also reported that less than 1% of the taxes have been collected which is consistent with last year’s total. There were a couple of questions from the Commissioners asking for clarification and definitions of the report contents, but otherwise there were no inconsistences that stood out.
Boundary Line Elimination (BLE)
Gilpin County Planner Tami Archer presented BLE -21-1 on behalf of Rollinsville Mini Storage LLC. Four lots (070,071,072, and .073) would be combined to form lot 070 A which will be 1.24 acres in size. A motion to approve BLE-21-1 was made by Commissioner Sill and seconded by Commission Hollingsworth. The motion passed unanimously.
Boundary Line Adjustment (BLA)
There was a bit of a disagreement between the Commissioners on BLA-20-3 which was also presented by Gilpin County Planner Tami Archer on behalf of Bonanza Land LLC. The land, which is a mining claim in the Russel Gulch area, has been divided into two Parcels (Parcel I and Parcel II) which are unequal in size. Parcel I is 3.02 acres and Parcel II is .96 acres. Applicant Carl Schembri from Bonanza requested that the boundary be shifted to form two nearly equal lots of 2.14 acres (Parcel I) and 1.84 acres (Parcel II). Alps Hill Road which cuts through the property, was the main topic for debate. The 12 foot wide road accessing the property, does not meet the County minimum width requirements of 14 feet for emergency services. One condition for approval is to provide an easement along the southern property line for a driveway to the landlocked residence that is planned on Parcel I. After much debate Gilpin Commissioners approved BLA-20-3 two to one, with Commissioner Hollingsworth being the “no” vote citing emergency access issues.
Timberline Lease Agreement
Gilpin County has leased two bays in the Public Works building in Rollinsville for $200 per month to house fire equipment. It is much needed space in order for Timberline to efficiently serve the northern part of the County. Timberline Chief Paul Ondr announced that Timberline intends to reduce their footprint in that building to one bay at no cost. Chief Ondr added that there is a five-year plan to acquire another property and quarter the fire apparatus at different location in the area. Gilpin County Commissioners conditionally approved the lease agreement unanimously.
Community Center Fees
Parks and Recreation Director Gabrielle Chisholm presented a new fee schedule for patrons using the Community Center. Under the proposal, Adults (19-59) will pay $4.00 resident/ $6.00 non-resident per day, with an annual pass cost of $300 resident /$450 non-resident. Previously the annual membership was $165 resident and $250 nonresident. Gilpin County residents were the most vocal in opposition to the proposed fees for seniors. Before it was free for senior residents, and non-resident seniors paid the various levels of membership. Under the proposal, seniors will pay daily fees of $4.00 residents/ $6.00 to non-residents. Annual memberships will be the same as the 19-59 group. Justification for the fee adjustment, according to Ms. Chisholm, is the fact that the Community Center is an aging building that has approximately $4.17 million dollars in critical maintenance needs. HVAC, water heaters, roof and foundation issues all need to be attended to reverse the degradation of the building. The fee schedule debate brought up many concerns and possibilities and in the end it was approved that seniors and kids are the big winners. Resident seniors (60+) and resident kids (4-18) will now pay $3.00 per visit or $25.00 per month. There were no changes to the non-resident senior/kids and annual membership fees.
Parking on County Roads (Ordinance 21-01)
County Attorney Brad Benning presented a draft reading of Ordinance 21-01 which will assess penalties and fines for parking violations on County maintained roads ditches or berms. This ordinance authorizes the BoCC to prohibit parking and impose fines for parking in violation of County Ordinances. This does not include vehicles disabled due to mechanical or traction issues. Cost of removal and any towing fees shall be the responsibility of the vehicle owner. First violation will be $25, second violation will be $50, and any subsequent violation will be $100 per violation. The first reading of this ordinance will be presented at the next Commissioner’s meeting on March 16, 2021.
Legal – Diamond Mine Sale
Gilpin County Commissioners approved the sale of the Black Diamond Mine property to Proximo Distilleries LLC for the price of $46,920.
Commissioner Web Sill was nominated to the Local Gaming Impact Committee.
Library Board Appointee
Ruth Arnold has been appointed to the Library Board of Trustees
Gilpin County Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved the Meeting Minutes from the February 16 regular meeting and the February 23, 2021 special meeting.
Gilpin County Commissioners passed a motion at 2:01 pm to adjourn into Executive Session per CRS-24-6-402(4)(a) to discuss the purchase, acquisition, lease, transfer, or sale of any real, personal, or other property interest; CRS-24-6-402(4)(e) to determine positions relative to matters that may be subject to negotiations; developing strategy for negotiations and instructing negotiators; and CRS-24-6-402(4)(b) to confer with an attorney for the local public body for the purposes of receiving legal advice on specific legal questions.
The next online meeting is scheduled for March 16, 2021 at 9:00 am. Go to www.co.gilpin.co.us for further details.