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Gilpin ushers in 2021 with radon awareness

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New County Commissioners are sworn in

By Randy Beaudette

Gilpin Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) held a regular meeting on January 12, 2021 to say good bye to the past and usher in the future. Highlights of this session included the swearing in of Commissioner-elect Sandy Hollingsworth, an item proclaiming January National Radon Action month, and the approval of the long list of appointments.

Board-Chair Gail Watson opened up the meeting promptly at 9:00 am along with Commissioner Linda Isenhart. Also joining in was County Manager Abel Montoya, County Attorney Brad Benning, and Deputy Clerk Sharon Cate with the online audience that included members from the Senior Leadership Team. Former Commissioner Engels was not present because Commissioner Web Sill was sworn in on Friday, January 8 with his appointment in effect at 12:01 am on January 12, 2021. Commissioner Sill had an excused absence.

Meeting Minutes

Gilpin County BoCC unanimously approved the minutes for the meeting conducted on December 17. 2020.

Thanks Commissioner Engels!

Commissioner Isenhart thanked former Commissioner Ron Engels for his dedicated service to Gilpin County over the last four years. Ron has been an advocate for County employees initiating the salary survey that was done to guarantee that County employees are paid competitive wages. He has also been instrumental in working with the County Health Coordinator Bonnie Albrecht and our business community and residents to help keep our County as safe as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. Commissioner Isenhart concluded, “We all know you have a bright future ahead of you. Thank you Commissioner Engels.”

Swearing In Hollingsworth

County Judge David Taylor issued the oath of office to Sandra Hollingworth for the position of Gilpin County Commissioner District 3. Judge Taylor congratulated Commissioner Hollingsworth on her election victory and affirmed that she is now officially sworn in. After the brief ceremony, the traditional chair swap and a five-minute recess for refreshment was held.

Annual Appointments

Board-Chair Linda Isenhart re-opened up the Board of County Commissioners at 9:07 am along with Commissioner Hollingsworth to discuss the annual appointments for 2021. Commissioner Web Sill was previously briefed on the appointments and agreed to what was offered. Commissioners Linda Isenhart, Web Sill, and Sandy Hollingsworth were appointed to the Board of Adjustment and the Local Liquor Authority. Abel Montoya was appointed as Gilpin County Manager along with Bradford Benning as the Gilpin County Attorney. Sharon Cate is the Administrative Assistant to the Board of County Commissioners, Clorinda Smith was appointed as the Budget Officer, Stephen Strohminger as the Chief Building Officer, Nathan Whittington as the Emergency Manager, and Dave Rich as the Road Supervisor. Newspaper of Record is the Weekly Register-Call, and the Location of Public Notices and Public Meetings will be the building front at the Old Courthouse and the Gilpin County website under the Commissioners page.

Public Meeting Schedule  

The Gilpin County Commissioners unanimously approved Resolution #21-02 which is the 2021 Schedule of Public Meetings. For more information on the schedule visit http://co.gilpin.co.us/. Click on “County Commissioners” and select “2021 Meeting Dates for the BoCC” or visit the message board in front of the old Courthouse 203 Eureka St. Central City, Colorado.

Facsimile Signature Use

Gilpin County also unanimously approved Resolution #21-01 which authorizes the use of Facsimile Signature of the members of the Board of County Commissioners by designated employees. Gilpin County Finance Director Clorinda Smith and Staff Accountant Lorna Plamondon are authorized to execute instruments of payment for payroll and accounts payable with facsimile signatures of any of the members of the Board of County Commissioners Sandy Hollingsworth, Linda Isenhart, and Web Sill, or of Sharon McCormick Gilpin County Clerk and Recorder when the Clerk and Recorder is otherwise unavailable to execute time-sensitive instruments during exigent circumstances.

COVID-19 Update

Gilpin County Public Health Coordinator Bonnie Albrecht shared that to-date there are 134 COVID-19 positive cases reported since March 2020. In the last two weeks (December 29, 2020 to January 12, 2021) there have been eleven cases reported which brings our positive rate to 5.3% which moves the county into “Orange” status. Gilpin County metrics have previously been in “Yellow” status on the COVID Dial. Providing that Gilpin maintains those metrics for at least two weeks, it can move back into “Yellow” from “Orange” on January 22. What that means for the County is that businesses can operate at a 50% capacity or no more than 50 people for a closed in area. 354 vaccinations have been administered throughout the County with the priority focus on health care workers and first responders.

Gilpin County Emergency Manager Nathan Whittington announced that the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) continues to support Public Health Department with testing and vaccination operations. The EOC has identified that the complexity of the vaccination operations will increase in the near future with those first responders in the first group returning for their second vaccine and there will be others coming in for their first shot along with residents. The numbers have the possibility of exponentially increasing in the coming days. Residents are encouraged to schedule for vaccinations at 303-515-4342.

Radon Action Month

Gilpin County Public Health Coordinator Bonnie Albrecht presented an opportunity for Commissioner to support and to proclaim January as the National Radon Action Month. Radon is a colorless, odorless radioactive gas that is the byproduct of uranium breakdown in soil. Long-term exposure to Radon has been identified as the leading cause of lung cancer in people who do not smoke tobacco. Gilpin County contains some of the highest levels of Radon in Colorado counties, with 63.4 % of the samples reported over safe levels. Radon mitigation is usually a simple process, but because this gas is impossible to detect without testing, many homeowners are unaware of this issue. Proclaiming January National Radon Action Month will help make residents aware of this issue and will show support of recommended radon practices and policies to reduce radon exposure. Gilpin County BoCC unanimously approved the Proclamation to support January as Radon Action Month. To protect yourself and your home, test for radon often. Testing is simple and inexpensive and when problems are discovered, they’re much easier to fix than you’d think. Gilpin County Public Health provides a free test kit for residents while supplies last. Stop by to pick up your kit at 101 Norton Dr. Black Hawk, CO 80422, or call for more information at 303-582-5803.

Legal Issues

Gilpin County Attorney Brad Benning announced that there are a number of water issues that have to be settled in 2021. The County currently has three water court cases in which the County applied for water rights on North Clear Creek and Clear Creek and in 2015. This year the County is required to perfect those rights in order to retain those rights. Black Hawk and Central City also have water rights on the same tributaries. The County is hoping to utilize facilities from those municipalities in order to utilize that water which is dedicated to the County. The Ralston Creek water rights that service the Justice Center and Community Center complex are also scheduled to be perfected in 2021.

The Attorney’s office is also working on a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Friends of the Community Center that is expected to be presented to the BoCC in the coming weeks for ratification.

County Management Report

Gilpin County Manager Abel Montoya announced that his office is currently working on the application to the 5 Star program through the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). According to covid19.colorado.gov website, the CDPHE 5 Star program requires businesses certified through the program to implement safety measures beyond what is already required by public health orders and guidelines that will help slow the spread of COVID-19, and in doing so, they will be able to expand operations. This program is for responsible businesses that are following public health guidance, and going above and beyond to prioritize the health and safety of their staff and customers. Depending on the county’s level and metrics, certified businesses may be eligible for less restrictive capacity caps. 5 Star certification reassures employees and customers that businesses are adhering to enhanced guidance in other areas. The program is completely voluntary for local governments and also serves as an expanding directory of establishments recognized for their efforts to keep their communities safe and open. Currently Gilpin County is designated as “Level Orange” which allows for a 25% occupancy. If approved by CDPHE, the 5 Star Program will allow casino table games and a 50% occupancy.

Mr. Montoya also announced that the Human Services/ Public Health building is progressing on schedule with an opening date being around February 8, 2021. There have been some COVID related delays that have occurred which moved the opening to the February date.

Next Meeting

The next Gilpin County Commissioners regular online meeting will be January 19, 2021 at 9:00 am. For more information visit http://co.gilpin.co.us.

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