Commissioners implement Stage 1 Fire Restrictions
By Jaclyn Schrock
Gilpin County Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) meeting opened at 9:06, July 6, 2021, having a slight delay for audio connections for those joining by Zoom. In Gilpin County’s original upstairs courtroom at 203 Eureka Street, Central City our Gilpin County BoCC included; District 1 Commissioner Web Sill, District #2 Commissioner Linda Isenhart-2021 Chairman, District 3 Commissioner Sandy Hollingsworth, County Attorney Brad Benning, County Manager Abel Montoya, and Deputy Clerk to the Board of County Commissioners Sharon Cate taking minutes of the meeting.
Emergency Manager Nathan Whittington supported Public Health Coordinator Bonnie Albrecht who was present to give the update of vaccinations, and Covid-19 cases. We are finding fewer who are getting sick.
Dr. Dawn Comstock joined Ms. Albrecht at the Commissioner’s table. There began an extensive discussion about the unclear nature of the Gilpin County mask mandate.
Gilpin’s mask mandate remains as is – inside a county building, masks are required, to go along with CDC guidelines to be followed for social distancing. Recommending masks to be worn is a protection for everyone, considering uncertainty of ventilation adequacy. Completely vaccinated individuals are no longer required to wear masks.
The example of the Town Hall meeting held last June 30 emphasized the unclear understanding of the mask mandate. Few were clear if they needed to wear a mask or not.
Many questions, comments and discussion centered around masks mandated for those incarcerated within Gilpin County Jail. Discussion included the times people are interacting. Comments included the way masks are required in other county jails.
Vaccination Clinic Support Agreement
Public Health Coordinator Bonnie Albrecht and Dr. Dawn Comstock presented the agreement and it quickly passed to accept support with Mountain Spirit Healing Touch, LLC.
Treasurer and Clerk & Recorder’s Reports
County Treasurer Mary Lorenz and Chief Deputy Clerk Ashley Martin both provided current reports, with good news on property taxes being paid.
Resolution #21-07: Imposing Temporary Stage 1 Fire Restrictions
Gilpin County Sheriff Kevin Armstrong determined to help those traveling in and out of our county from other areas, it is best to keep a consistent Stage 1 fire restriction. We have received rain in the last week; yet, our forests are too valuable to consider not imposing the Stage 1 Fire Restriction, to be consistent with our neighboring counties. Colorado stage 1 fire restrictions in a simple list include:
1 No open flames unless in permanently constructed fire ring in developed recreation sites (such as a campground or picnic area).
2 No use of fire, campfire, charcoal, coal or wood burning stove on public lands. Propane devices can be used on public land, or in residential land, and can have fires in residential fire places.
3 No smoking unless in enclosed space.
4 Combustion engines need spark retardant.
Sheriff’s Office’s Requests OT Budget Increase
Sheriff Armstrong continued with the request to increase his budget to cover the overtime his staff covers with limited personnel, recent illnesses and other issues. The Sheriff’s office had $50,000 budgeted for overtime, and has nearly used that amount. The BoCC agreed to increase that fund with another $50,000 after checking with financial resources to be sure that was available to give the Sheriff’s Office.
County Attorney Brad Benning stated that there have been ongoing considerations of the current Library Intergovernmental Agreement. The last agreement lasted over 5 years. This change is primarily to offer library staff similar benefits other county employees receive. This round of discussion passed and accepted this agreement.
Documents for SBE 19-02, Freymuth had been approved last year, yet had some residents confused about a few items and how the resolution of the property boundaries had occurred. There has been some fine tuning to the document, which passed today.
Clinica Family Health Surveys
Commissioners heard from Former Commissioner and Colorado Senator Jeanne Nicholson, who brought with her Janet Rasmussen, Chief Integrated Services Officer of the Clinica Family Health.
Previous surveys in our county indicate a great interest in local health care. A group of people worked together this past January to find who could offer Health Care services to Gilpin County, once again.
Clinica Family Health agreed to consider Gilpin County to provide a health clinic, dependent on survey results.
The Clinica Survey can be found at www.clinica.org/mnt-comm-health-2.
Ms. Nicholson and Ms. Rasmussen presented to the BoCC today, not just to announce the good news that a health clinic is considering options to open in Gilpin, but also to obtain permission to draw general public opinions about what our County seeks in a family health clinic.
There was much excitement at the options of a quality health care provider seeking a home to serve our population. A few locations have been considered in our area. More understanding of the needs would be better to select a potential location.
Rec Center Requests Staffing Increase
Parks and Recreation Director Gabrielle Chisholm reviewed the ways the department has recovered from the Covid closure. She has been hired as the new director and gives thanks for support from the voters and many volunteers to open the recreation center in March and the pool in mid-May.
The community center and pool are open M, W 8am-8pm, F 8-6, Sat 8-4. M-F youth camp is held there. Hopes to open on Thursdays are being coordinated.
Gilpin County has re-started leagues and is doing events with volunteers, and six full-time employees. However, staff positions could coordinate better to cover training, vacations, and sick times with an increase in staff.
Documentation of financial status of the department supported the hopes for adding these staff members. The BoCC approved hiring of six additional staff members.
County Manager’s Report
County Manager Abel Montoya had a few issues to present and discuss progress with the BoCC.
–Telecommuting Policy and Procedure has become an issue with many employers having had to have so many restrictions for health during Covid. Within the Gilpin County employees, each department has unique needs. Comm. Isenhart feels it is better for the public to find employees in their office. Comm. Hollingsworth appreciates the benefits of co-worker comradery. Working from home has been a new way of working, yet, specific policies and procedures are being considered for each Gilpin Co. department.
–Discussion of Vacation Hours Cap recognized the challenges demanded by employees for the county unable to take vacation time with limited coverage when an employee is out. Some people have lost their vacation time unable to use it by the end of last year. This discussion will continue, to respect the work done by Gilpin employees to keep our county in order.
–Clear Creek County/ Gilpin County Shooting Facility has been in discussion for over a year now. Progress was reported with a draft proposal for developing the facility. Police offices in the two counties could also use the facility for practice and training. Discussion continues about managing this shooting range locally, or to have a consignment for profit management. Clear Creek County has received a grant from Parks and Recreation of Colorado toward the range.
–REDI Grant and Economic Development Role. Gilpin Business Analyst Caitlin Lovett explained the application for a grant that would create an employee position that would last for 18 months. This position would focus on improving small local businesses and the general economic outlook for Gilpin County. The application was approved by the BoCC.
–The Status of New Public Health/ Human Services Building was given by Facilities Manager Ryan Keenan online via Zoom with a document listing items of concern to be able to get moved in. Many items on the list have either been completed or scheduled to be completed. Some new materials have been ordered, so once they arrive, the door locks can be installed. He is hoping to be able to have occupancy approved by the week of July 19th.
–Update on Young Ranch Resource, LLC, Mining / Reclamation Application. Mr. Montoya explained the extensive state departments who need to respond to this application to reopen mining operations along the Central City Parkway. No results are expected for some time, so he recommended the BoCC not make any decisions on it until more information from the state departments have been completed.
–The Gilpin County Fair will be held on Saturday, July 24.
Gilpin Commissioners Report
–Notice of Public Meetings will include a session July 13 with two items to be covered and also, US Forest Service for Tolland & East Portal Site Visit, possibly July 22.
–NACO Membership Dues were discussed some for the value of this membership for the commissioners. Recognizing national options for funding locally as well as training for commissioners encouraged the BoCC to pass the approval to pay the annual dues of $450.
–Commissioner discussed a request to open Boulder Wagon Wheel Road NFS Rd 501.1 Comm. Hollingsworth suggested contacting off-road organizations for possible sponsorship before this opening was passed.
BoCC Meeting Minutes for June 10 & 15, 2021 were accepted and approved.
A recess was called for a lunch break, to resume at 1:00 with a work session.
Combined Emergency Services Building
Emergency Manager Nathan Whittington’s purpose with the BoCC today was to gain approval for the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with University Technical Assistance (UTA), to initiate the process of developing a consolidated public safety complex.
Both Mr. Whittington and the DOLA representative, Chris presented documentations and answered questions through Zoom.
This opportunity is a 50/50 program resulting in a financial impact of $2,750 paid by the Gilpin Co upon the completion of the draft proposal.
The UTA cooperates in a special way with Colorado Center for Community Development (CCCD) at UC Denver and with Colorado’s Department of Local Affairs (DOLA).
Gilpin pays 50% and DOLA the other 50% of the $5,500 cost provided to rural communities needing technical assistance for public improvement projects.
The draft proposal will funnel requirements through Gilpin County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) to consolidate services in one new complex.
Emergency services are provided with influences from Colorado Department of Revenue for Colorado State Patrol, Gilpin County Sheriff’s Office, Black Hawk Police, Gilpin Animal Response Team, Gilpin Ambulance Authority, Timberline Fire, Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control, Black Hawk and Central City Fire Departments. These departments would make use of these premises, while likely maintaining stations throughout their jurisdictions. They have been included in opportunities to contribute to the initial cost of investigating this option of a combined center.
Game and Fish and other agencies are also interested in our location to rent office space along the I-70 corridor.
This UTA proposal would develop drawings to visualize the consolidated needs of the emergency agencies.
College students would be utilized to complete the drawings, and although these are not architectural blueprints, they will identify the potential needs. They are expected to complete the drawings in a timely manner due to class schedules.
DOLA hopes to develop an Energy and Mineral Impact Grant to support this proposal.
After the work session which is only for discussion, not for making decisions, the BoCC did resume actions and approved the spending of $2,750 once the potential needs are recognized and drawings of a facility are completed.
County Facility Rental Policy
The June 2019 facility rental policy is to be discussed.
The “A” group of county grounds available to rent are: Gilpin Community Center, Pete Gones Park and Fairgrounds, listed as the Community Center Multi-Purpose Room, Community Center Gymnasium, Fred Weber Ball Field, Elk Ball Field, Indoor Arena, Outdoor Arena, pool.
The “B”: group comprised the Gilpin Co. Commissioners Office, available only for Gilpin Co. community groups.
After lengthy discussion of the use of County property to hold events that may raise money for a non-profit was tumbled around. It was decided that the policy in place is workable, and that it could be rediscussed January 2022.
Infrastructure Services Funding Discussion
County Manager Montoya and Business Analyst Lovett prepared a presentation with estimated expenses for future Gilpin Co. infrastructure services based on a calculated percentage cost to rise. Infrastructure services include: Facilities, Road & Bridge, and Solid Waste.
–Facilities had a .2% average increase per year from 2007-2017.
–Road & Bridges had a1.4% average increase per year 2007-2020.
–Road Base applied to the dirt road cost $4.00 per ton in 2007, total expense $140K.
–Road Base increased to $9.25 per ton in 2020.
–Solid Waste had a 17.8% average increase per year 2007-2020.
Current estimated total for Capital Improvement Projects, (increase cost of road base, staff and equipment), grand total. $39,723,000.
Roads and Bridges maintain 146 miles of roads in Gilpin Co. The Goal is to grade each dirt road once a year. Some roads need work more often depending on usage and weather. For many years, roads have not been resurfaced with road base, as the budget has been cut so deeply. Road base has only been used on the highest traffic areas that are damaged by weather.
Increasing staff would make that goal of yearly road maintenance realistically possible, along with budgeting for more road base. Pre-Covid (until July 2020) staff position total was 20 positions, including three Equipment Operator I (EO1) and eight Equipment Operator II (EO2). Current staff positions total 15, which includes one EO1, and one EO1 open position not filled, six EO2, and the Road and Bridge worker position eliminated. Ideal staffing to provide best quality service with 24 total staffed positions, to include six EO1, eight EO2, and two Road and Bridge Workers. Projected budget needs to 2040 included the hopes to increase staff, considering typical equipment replacement, and staffing. Discussion will continue.
Residents’ Quality of Life and Employee Satisfaction Surveys
Gilpin BoCC is seeking help from constituents. Opinions are asked with open ended questions about living in Gilpin County, ranking satisfaction with County departments and ideas for improvements through surveys. There were only limited questions proposed for health care. The questions may be edited before being sent out.
The surveys in 2019 had a large percentage of resident responses, given 6 weeks to respond. This survey may only have four weeks to receive responses, and is likely to close the end of August.
Watch for a post card in the mail, posters and website links to express your opinion of the quality of life in Gilpin County.
For a paper version of the survey to be sent to your address, call 720-617-0223.
The other survey ending Aug. 2021 is the Employee Satisfaction Survey.
The Work Session ended after 4 pm and one vote taken before ending the session.
The Commissioners moved into Executive Session for a conference with the County Attorney for the purpose of receiving legal advice on specific legal questions under C.R.S. Section 24-6-402(4)(b).
The next BoCC meeting is July 20, at 9 am.