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Gilpin County is one of nations most economically challenged

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Parks & Recreation Employees Furloughed

By Randy Beaudette

On April 21, 2020 the Gilpin Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) held a regular online meeting to discuss topics such as the newly released Safer-at-Home Order, a Community Center employee furlough, and a review the Town Hall presented on April 20th. 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 Cates. Others from the Senior Leadership Team joined in as needed.

COVID Update

Gilpin County Public Health Coordinator Bonnie Albrecht stated that there really is not much to report. Gilpin County is still at one coronavirus case, with State data showing over 10,000 cases with the most of the graphs showing a slow down in the progression of the COVID pandemic. Ms. Albrecht will be reviewing the requirements of the new Safer-at-Home requirements and passing that along to residents via the Gilpin County website.

Emergency Manager Nathan Whittington informed the Commissioners that the EOC is waiting for clarification from the Governor in regards to his approach to recovery and the scope and limitation of the new Safer-at-Home order issued recently. Mr. Whittington is also working in coordination with Public Health on incorporating a testing plan to assist in recovery efforts.

Clerk and Recorder Report   

Gilpin County Clerk and Recorder Sahari McCormick stated that the reports for January, February, and March are in and indicate that revenues were for the most part normal until the COVID event hit in the end of March. Revenues in the last of March and April are down slightly as the biggest majority of the license renewals in the past have been done through the mail due to the closure of the County buildings. Ms. McCormick also added that the Clerks office is also trying to unravel the revenue discrepancies from 2019 and that they hired a temporary worker to pour over 2018 and last year’s numbers to find out where those numbers differed and to correct those discrepancies.

Legal Status – FAA Metroplex

Gilpin County Attorney Brad Benning reported that Statement of Issues in the case against the Denver Metroplex Project will be filed and that document will be on file and available for review on the Gilpin County website.

Vehicle Cancellations

Contact with Wagner Equipment concerning the front-end loader order yielded a less than ideal outcome. The payment plan offered was more than expected, so Mr. Benning cancelled the order due to budgetary reasons. The process is expected to be finalized in the coming week

Church Ditch Water Lease

  A Water Rights Lease between lessor Gilpin County and lessee Gary Gambino for 4 inches of water from the Church Ditch water rights in the Golden area. The lease and its effectiveness are contingent upon the lessee paying Gilpin County $708 for the lease. The term of the agreement will be for the 2020 irrigation season only. Gilpin County commissioners agreed to place the Church Ditch Water lease agreement on the next meetings agenda for review.

Online Meetings Successful

Gilpin County Manager Abel Montoya reported that 159 folks viewed the Town Hall online, breaking the previous month’s record viewing of 153 persons. Mr. Montoya thanked everyone for getting the word out about the presentation. The next Town Hall will be Monday, May 4 at 6:00 pm. The Comprehensive Plan review virtual meeting will be May 5, also at 6 pm. Residents are encouraged to tune in and have a voice in the future planning of Gilpin County.

County Commissioners Status Report

The board will continue to hold meetings twice a week online until such time they will not be warranted. For more information visit www.co.gilpin.co.us.

Commissioner Engels added that the Wall Street Journal has designated Gilpin County as one of the most economically challenged counties in the nation through the COVID crisis. This designation has generated a fair amount of press interest and has caught the eye of local television stations. A story on CBS last week highlighted the financial damage that Gilpin County has sustained from the COVID outbreak. It is speculated that the press generated from these stories may initiate a response from the Federal government to provide aid to the smaller counties across America.

Approval of Minutes

Gilpin County BoCC approved the meeting minutes from the April 16, 2020 Special Meeting with no corrections or amendments.

Executive Session

The Board of Commissioners approved to recess into Executive session pursuant to CRS 24-6-402(4)(b) to receive legal advice on policy matters and matters that may be subject to negotiations, and CRS 24-6-402(4)(e) to instruct negotiators.

A Tough Decision to Furlough Employees

County Manager Abel Montoya lead the discussion by stating that due to the health crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has recently turned into a financial crisis. Gilpin County relies heavily on the gaming industry revenue which has been shut down and will probably remain closed for the near future. The county has been reviewing its financial analysis of the revenue shortfall and has reduced or eliminated nearly one million dollars in expenditures. In a normal year, the county receives roughly $11-12 million dollars per year which equates to 50% of the revenue coming in. Unfortunately, the County has looked at some very difficult options of reducing expenditures due to the closures. When examining these belt tightening options, the first requirement is to examine which services are required by State statues and which are not. Unfortunately, the Parks and Recreation Department (P&R) is not required by these State statutes. 23 current and 29 seasonal employees of Park and Recreation will be furloughed starting May 2 until July 10, 2020. The remaining P&R employee will remain on staff to start planning and programing for opening up of the Community Center on July 11. Furloughed employees are encouraged to contact Human Resources for any assistance that is available to them. A tearful motion to accept the furlough plan was made by Commissioner Isenhart and with teary eyed and heartfelt sorrow, Commissioner Engels seconded. Motion passes three to zero.

Stay up-to-date

For up-to-date information and the next meeting refer to the Gilpin County website at www.co.gilpin.co.us.

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