Gilpin County adopts governor’s Safer-at-Home plan

Soft re-opening of County offices on May 11th with special rules and required face masks

By Randy Beaudette

On May 5, 2020 the Gilpin Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) held a special online meeting to discuss topics such as the adoption of the Safer-at-Home Plan, Timberline Fire Impact fees for new construction, and a face mask order. Commissioner 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, and Deputy Clerk Sharon Cate. Others from the Senior Leadership Team joined in as needed.

Board Chair Gail Watson requested a moment of silence for Quinn Patterson, a young Gilpin resident who passed away recently.

Public Comment

Gilpin resident Sandy Hollingsworth expressed thanks for the informative Town Hall meeting viewed online May 4th. Ms. Hollingsworth followed up with, “It is a great way to get information and to share information during the crisis.”

COVID-19 Update

Gilpin County Sheriff Kevin Armstrong informed the Commissioners that the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is working with the State of Colorado to develop a plan and program for community testing. EOC is working to identify a location, personnel, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and other supplies needed to accomplish local testing in Gilpin County. EOC is also supporting efforts to execute the soft opening of the County next Monday (May 11).

Public Health Coordinator Bonnie Albrecht stated that she is reviewing guidance for the new Safer-at-Home order. There seems to be lot of conflicting information on the CDPHE website that can be confusing. Gilpin Public Health is also working with EOC to develop a plan for local testing and providing guidance to the Contact Tracers.

Golden Gate Canyon State Park Update

Park Manager Todd Farrow joined in to announce that due to the dynamics involved, the State Parks are trying to determine a re-opening timeline of the State’s campgrounds to comply with the Safer-at-Home order. Reverends Ridge campground is closed through May 10th with a possibility of opening May 11th. Aspen Meadows campground is scheduled to open May 22 Back country camping is closed until further notice. Cabins and yurts are considered short-term rentals, so as yet there is no clarification on those types of accommodations.

Non-Profit Organization Funding

Gilpin County supports several non-profits within the County to the tune of $164,450 plus $663,798 to the Gilpin County Ambulance Authority. These funds were included in the 2020 budget. With the reduction in revenue, the Commissioners discussed a priority list of continued County funding for Gilpin County-Based Non-Profit Organizations for 2021. Commissioner Engels noted that it is a little premature to consider this agenda item right now, “We need to know what happens at the federal level before we decide this. There are some worthy organizations we are supporting and I don’t want to say no before we know what’s going on.”  The Board agreed to postpone any decisions on this matter at this time and re-visit later in the year.

Eagles’ Nest Early Learning Center Update

Eagles’ Nest Executive Director Kayla Lowe informed the Commissioners that Eagles’ Nest has a tentative opening of June 1st. Employees of the Center have been reviewing the guidelines sent out from the state that will allow the opening, and depending on the requirements, this date may be pushed out to ensure a successful opening. Funding for the Center has been difficult with the casinos closed. However, quarterly payments from the County have been dispersed which helps with the funding. Ms. Lowe stated that the Center received a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan last week, which is a blessing since they’ve not received any revenue for the last two and a half months. An application has also been submitted for an additional SBA loan which is pending approval. Another obstacle that the Center faces is the limited number of children that can be in the classrooms at one time. That number has essentially been cut in half, according to Ms. Lowe, which will be an additional strain on the funding budget.

DOLA Gaming Impact Grant Applications

Gilpin County Finance Director Clorinda Smith and Staff Accountant Lorna Plamondon presented a prioritization for the 2020 DOLA Gaming impact grant applications using the 2019 expenses to be paid out in 2021. Total funds requested on this year’s application are a little more than $2.1 million dollars. Last year Gilpin County received $1.7 million dollars from the Gaming Impact Grant. Priority rankings are as follows: (1) Detentions/ jail, (2) Patrol, (3) Ambulance Authority, (4) Victim Services. (5) Eagles’ Nest Child Learning Center, (6) District Attorney, and (7) the Gilpin School counselor. Gilpin County BoCC approved the rankings unanimously so that the application can be sent into DOLA for processing before the June 8th deadline.

Timberline Fire Protection Impact Fee

Timberline Fire Chief Paul Ondr presented an Impact Fee proposal to the Commissioners. The Impact Fee would be applied to all new residential construction projects and all new non-residential commercial construction. It does not apply to additions to existing structures. The Impact Fee is determined by the assessing the amount of firefighting assets that are available in a district and using a mathematical formula to equate the amount of Impact Fees a district can charge a builder to pay into those assets. The Timberline FPD Board adopted by Resolution a $2,327 fee for new residential construction and a $2.82 per square foot fee for new Non-residential Commercial construction. Once adopted by the BoCC, these fees will take effect on June 1, 2020 and may be added to the Building Permit Fees. Commissioner Isenhart inquired into the reason that these fees are higher in comparison to surrounding districts such as Grand County Fire which has an impact fee of $510 for residential in Fraser and $630 for Winter Park with a $1.10 per square foot of commercial development. The response from Chief Ondr was that Grand County has a much larger commercial base than Gilpin County so anytime there is an addition to a large commercial base, there is a much smaller impact to the responding district. Because Gilpin has a small commercial base, any addition to that base will have a much greater impact to the services in that district. Commissioner Isenhart continued stating that there is difficulty justifying a $2,327 impact fee to the new home owner wishing to build in Gilpin County and more information is necessary before approving a measure such as this. The mil levy in the Timberline District is substantially lower than in other counties that were used in the Nexus fee study comparison. The Commissioners agreed to take no action in this session and negotiate a reduction in these fees through the Timberline Board. In frustration, Chief Ondr reminded the Commissioners that Timberline Fire funded this study with district money and that Timberline no longer receives Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) money. In the letter from the County denying PILT money to Timberline, the recommendation from the County was for Timberline to look for additional means of revenue without raising the mil levy on the existing residential properties and that is what is being presented to the Commissioners. The BoCC agreed to discuss this issue in Executive Session with the County Attorney to consider a recommendation for Timberline.

Parks and Recreation Comprehensive Plan

Gilpin County Parks and Recreation (P&R) Director Kyle Benedict presented a Comprehensive Plan summary that contains a detailed outline of what the community is asking for and what the facilities can accommodate. The Plan has been adjusted to align with the results of a recent survey, what options look like in different price points and categories for what the community has deemed vital for future needs. A final presentation will be brought before the Board for consideration in the near future.

Legal Status Report

Gilpin County Attorney Brad Benning reports that he has been working with the Clerk and Recorder’s office to establish location for future Primary and General Elections. The Community Center will be the Primary location with the Courthouse serving as a back-up location.

Return to Work Protocol

Human Resources Director Lori Schrayer and County Manager Abel Montoya presented a proposed protocol to accommodate a soft re-opening of the Gilpin County offices effective May 11th. Hours will be 8:00 am to 4:30 pm for public use with the last 30 minutes of the work day to be used to sterilize the office and to wrap up the day’s activities. Distancing requirements will be in accordance with the Governor’s Safer-at-Home plan. Any in-person appointments with any of the governmental offices must be made at least three days in advance to reduce the number of individuals in any given office or waiting in line to accommodate the social distancing restrictions. DMV transactions are encouraged to be accomplished online, otherwise an appointment is required for those in-person transactions. Persons entering the Courthouse are required to wear a face mask, park in a manner that leaves an empty space between cars, and enter through the front door where County employees will ensure that the individual entering has an appointment with a department and exit out the rear door. The Gilpin County Commissioners approved the protocols unanimously.

Amending Employee Handbook (Resolution #20-07)

Part-Time (PT) Employee categories have been modified from Part-Time Employees under 24 hours and Part-Time Employees 24-30 hours to Part-Time Employees under 30 hours. They are no longer eligible for Holiday pay or vacation accrual, medical leave, and paid bereavement.  Health plans will continue to be maintained by the County. There are no changes to full-time employee benefits.

Meeting Minutes

The Commissioners approved the Meeting Minutes from April 30, 2020.

Board of Health Summary

Gilpin County Board of Health suspended the Stay-at-Home Order and adopted the governor’s Safer-at-Home Plan effective May 9th.

PHO #20-03, Closing All Gilpin County Roads to Non-Residents Except for Necessary Travel has been suspended.

PHO #20-01, Closing Tolland, Apex, and Columbine Campground roads remains in effect

PHO# 20-04, Visitors are required to wear face masks while in public buildings.

Camping is allowed in managed campgrounds only such as Basecamp or KOA.

Executive Session

Gilpin County Commissioners adjourned into Executive Session pursuant to C.R.S. 24-6-402(4)(b) to receive legal advice and C.R.S. 24-6-402(4)(e) to discuss possible negotiations and instruct negotiators.

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