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Gilpin increases building and septic fees

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County Commissioners Meeting

By Staci McBrayer

The Gilpin County Board of County Commissioners convened on Tuesday, November 25th, 2014 at the Gilpin County Courthouse. Commissioner Buddy Schmalz, Commissioner Connie McLain, and Commissioner Gail Watson were in attendance along with County Manager Roger Baker and County Attorney Brad Benning.

Public Comment

Rhonda Romano, 466 Coyote Circle, spoke to the Commissioners during the public comment section of the meeting. Romano urged the Commissioners to reconsider the county’s use of magnesium chloride on County Roads. Romano has previously approached the Commissioners in the past regarding use of the chemical on county roads citing the detrimental effects on the ground water and trees. “So many times we have met and we have talked about the effect on the trees and ground water. That doesn’t seem to matter enough, so I thought I would talk about our cars.”

Romano specifically cited the County’s intended use of magnesium chloride mixed with asphalt to pave Jankowski Drive in front of the car wash and trash transfer station. It seems crazy to use it where every one of our vehicles goes.”

Romano also cautioned the use of the mixture in the subdivisions “People don’t want asphalt in their subdivisions. We don’t want asphalt; we don’t want it with magnesium chloride in it. I implore you to ask every member of the subdivision, not just me.”

Zoning Code Revision

Commissioners held a public hearing for the zoning code revisions the County’s zoning codes regarding telecommunications towers. Current zoning has qualifications for all towers by both use-by-right and special use review (SUR.) Use-by-right includes those towers under forty feet in height (the same maximum height for any building in the county). Recently a tower in Wondervu was erected under the use-by-right provisions. Towers over forty feet in height require a SUR. Towers recently added under SUR include those on Gilpin Road and at the Justice Center.

The new proposed ordinance would add the words “except commercial telecommunication towers addressed elsewhere in this code” to the existing code and then adopts a new section to the code to address commercial telecommunication towers.

The proposed new section of the code requires a special use review for all telecommunication towers. The only exception would be for modifications and expansions to existing towers that “does not make a substantial change in the physical dimensions” of the existing tower.

Petersen said the wording and formatting of the new section to the code was specifically implemented by the County’s Planning Commission. “The planning commission wanted no fixed standards in order to be able to look at each tower on a case by case basis,” Petersen said.

Commissioner McLain questioned how this would impact micro cell towers. Community Development Director Tony Petersen advised that because the towers were not located outside, they would not be subject to the code.

In the end, McLain was against the proposal. “Why make it harder for technology to come up here?” she asked. The measure passed 2-1 with McLain voting against it.

Septic and Building Fee Schedule

Commissioners considered a new septic and building fee schedule for the County. A 1/10th of a percent increase across the board was proposed for all county building fees for a total of 1.45%. Last time building fees were increased in Gilpin was when they were nearly doubled in 2009 (from .67% to 1.35% of the total building cost.) Petersen said that in comparison to neighboring counties, Gilpin still has the lowest fee structure in terms of percent of building cost.

In Petersen’s memorandum to the Commissioners, he said that the goal since 2009 has been to fund 50% of the Community Development Department operating costs through fees. Last year, 56% of operating costs were covered with fees. Petersen expects this year to only be 45%, thus he recommends the increase.

ISDS Septic Fee increases were proposed in order to meet those of Jefferson County. Jefferson County is the model Gilpin County uses, though Gilpin County is currently performing its own septic inspections and permitting.

ISDS are engineered systems for buildings on two acres or less or whose septic system does not meet the 200-foot setback required by the County.

Below is the proposed septic fee schedule along with comparisons of current Gilpin and JeffCo fees:

  • New system or expanded capacity to existing system: $1,000 (Gilpin current: $400; JeffCo current: $1,000.)
  • Repairs to existing system that require additional design and/or component updates in order to comply with current code: $1,000 (Gilpin current: $400, JeffCo Current: $1,000)
  • Repairs to existing system that do not require additional design and/or component updates in order to comply with current code: $500 (Gilpin current: $200, JeffCo current: $500)
  • Unexpired OWTS Permit Renewal: $250 (no change)
  • Variance: $1,000 (Gilpin Current: $250, JeffCo Current: $125 for a Board of Health Case Hearing – no actual fee provided)
  • Use Permit: $100 (Gilpin current: $50, JeffCo current: $100.)
  • Unexpired Use Permit Renewal: $25 (no change)
  • Operating Permit Fees: $0 (Gilpin current: $0, JeffCo current: $50)
  • System Installer License Fee: $100 per year (no current fee)
  • System Maintenance provider License Fee: $100 (no current fee)
  • System Pumper License Fee: $100 per year (Gilpin current: $50/$28 renewal, JeffCo current $50/$25 renewal)
  • System Inspector License Fee: $100 per year (no current fee)

Commissioner Watson argued that a $1,000 fee for repairs to existing systems may be too much of a burden on residents already looking at incurring the cost of the repairs. She suggested a fee of $750. The measure passed with the amendment of the $750 for repairs to existing systems.

Boundary Line Adjustment

Sarah E. Brady and Sidney Lipsitz & Rebeccah Joyce sought and received a Boundary Line Adjustment (BLA) for parcels located in the Skydale Subdivision. Both properties are developed and occupied, however, the well serving the lot identified as Lot 8A is located on Parcel 3. Also, a shed on Parcel 3 belongs to the owners of Lot 8A. The BLA sought to cure both encroachments and was approved by the Commissioners. The adjustment did not change the size of either lot leaving Parcel 3 a 2.0-acre parcel and Lot 8A a 2.5-acre lot.

Treasurer’s Monthly Report

  County Treasurer and Public Trustee Alynn Huffman presented the monthly treasurer’s report for October. County taxes collected were at 98.34% as compared to last year’s collection rate of 99.50%. Huffman sited the reason for the decrease is because numerous residents and casinos are on tax payment plans, all of which should be completed in December.

Huffman reported on the County’s Tax lien sale recently held for the 2013 taxes. 53 buyers registered for the sale, and 108 properties were sold. A total of $36,602 in taxes was collected.

During her report, Huffman stated, “Back in April 22, 2014, I had come to the Commissioners to report an error. At that time, I don’t think you understood what was going on or why I was coming to you. The whole reason why I came and report to the Commissioners is so the taxpayers would also know what is going on. This is where I discovered that there was an error that had to do with the tax lien sale certificates of purchases, and not the foreclosure redemptions as reported in the media.” Huffman said her that her office went back and reviewed eight years’ worth of certificates, redemptions, and treasury deeds to make sure they were correct in the County’s system. “Instead of it taking two months to do that, it took us seven months to do it,” Huffman said. “I am here to report to our tax payers and the media that this has been completed and it is all back on track. As of this tax lien sale, we changed things and we now have better checks and balances than we have ever had before.”

Clerk & Recorders Monthly Report

Gilpin County Clerk Colleen Stewart presented her reports for August, September, and October as well as statistics on the recent Election Day:

–676 people showed up at the courthouse on Election Day

–228 people voted in person on Election Day

–45 of those voters registered that day

–87 of those voters needed to change their address

–96 of those surrendered their mail in ballots to vote in person

–448 people dropped off their mail-in ballots on Election Day and a majority were from north county

–73% of registered Gilpin voters voted

Stewart said she was expecting only 100-150 people to come to the Court House on Election Day, and was surprised that almost 700 did. Stewart commented that in the future, she would like to see drop off boxes placed in the north end of the County.

Take Home Vehicle List

  The Commissioners approved a list of county employees and positions authorized to use County Vehicles as take home vehicles. The employees who are approved are designated as being on-call and are allowed to commute to and from home in their county vehicle. Employees approved by the Commissioners were:

–Sheriff’s Administration (Sheriff, Under Sheriff, and Captains Kapke and Ihme)

–Patrol Sergeants and Patrol Deputies who reside in the County

–Public Works Supervisor Gordon Thompson

–Facilities/Public Works Director Bill Paulman

–Coroner Zane Laubhan

Gilpin’s Manner of Compliance with GASB 54

Commissioners adopted Resolution #14-20 that specifies the County’s manner of compliance with GASB 54. In 2011, Gilpin adopted Resolution #11-23 in order to comply with the Governmental Accounting Standards Board’s Statement #54 on Fund Balance Reporting and Governmental Fund Type Definitions. Resolution #14-20 is the same as #11-23 except that it removes mention of the Retirement Fund. Approval of the resolution would essentially move the Retirement Fund into the General Fund so that Retirement Fund expense could be reported within each department/office in order to better reflect the actual cost of each department/office.   

Supplemental Appropriations

Also on the finance front, Commissioners approved Resolution #14-17 for supplemental appropriations to the 2014 Budget. A total of $567,939 was added in additional expenditures for 2014 for maintenance contracts, donations, gymkhana events, salaries, autopsies, jail medical contracts, professional services, contract labor, postage, election judge pay, election laptops, capital outlay, Human Services Fund for Child Welfare and United Way expenses related to the 2013 Flood. $356,709 was added in additional revenues due to the sale of assets, election revenue, grant revenue, $100,000 from the United Way (also related to the 2013 floods), and fund transfers.

Notice of Public Meetings

–CCI, December 1-3

–State Board of Human Services, Dec. 4-5

–Meeting with Library Board, Dec. 11, 7 p.m.

Purchase of Service Agreement Jefferson County Mental Health

Commissioners approved the 2015 Purchase of Service Agreement with Jefferson County Mental Health to provide public health services in Gilpin. The Agreement showed a scaled back scope of work due to the recent transition from a nurse Public Health Coordinator to a non-nurse Public Health Coordinator. Overall, the cost will be approximately $61,500 less than the cost in 2014.

Sport Shooting Funding Request

Commissioner Watson discussed the Recreational Sport Shooting Collaborative funding request with Commissioners McLain and Schmalz. The Collaborative consists of Larimer, Boulder, Clear Creek, and Gilpin Counties. The intent of the Collaborative is to develop a landscape-level, multi-jurisdictional strategy to provide safe, responsible and accessible recreational sport shooting opportunities while addressing conflicts near residential areas and with other recreation users across the northern Colorado Front Range.

Watson said that the Collaborative is seeking to produce virtual meetings with representatives from each county to be filmed while answering questions pre-submitted by members of the public. The cost of the project is roughly $10,000. Commissioners agreed that Gilpin should not be expected to contribute for its 5,600 residents equally with that of the larger counties (some with populations well over 300,000.) Commissioners also questioned the effectiveness of the virtual meetings for Gilpin residents who have little or no internet access. Commissioners decided to not make a contribution to the project at this point and withdrew the funding request.

Gilpin Foundation

Commissioners voted to approve a $1,000 donation to the Gilpin County Education Foundation. The Foundation was established in 1994 to provide funding for Gilpin’s teachers and coaches, specific programs and projects, and student scholarships.

Next Meeting

The next scheduled meeting for the Commissioners is on December 16th, 2014 at 9:00 a.m. on the 2nd floor of the Gilpin County Courthouse, 203 Eureka Street, Central City, Colorado. This will be the only Commissioners meeting in December.

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