Gilpin Commissioner Issues
By Staci McBrayer
The regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of County Commissioners occurred on October 22, 2013. Gilpin Commissioners Connie McClain, Buddy Schmalz, and Gail Watson were present along with Deputy Clerk Sharon Cates, County Manager Roger Baker, and County Attorney Jim Petrock.
Veterans Service Officer
Human Services Director Betty Donovan re-introduced to the board Todd Kumro. Kumro has been acting as Interim Veterans Service Officer since June when the previous officer vacated the position in order to return to school. Donovan recommended Kumro for the permanent, two-year appointment as Veterans Service Officer. Commissioner McClain noted that Kumro has been doing a wonderful job and the Commissioners unanimously approved the motion to his appointment.
Kumro spoke to the board about one of his goals as Veterans Service Officer. He seeks to get 50% or greater of disabled veterans free access to the recreation center. He stated that the 50% or better rating is as per the Department of Veterans Affairs standards. Potential users would have to seek a letter of recommendation from Kumro to take to the recreation center, thus allowing Kumro to have more contact with the vets. Kumro noted that the free access would be limited to the vets themselves and not their families. Kumro stated he would put his proposal in writing and present it to the Commissioners. Commissioner Watson expressed an interest in perhaps in the future making free access to the Recreation Center available to all veterans.
Authorization of Disposition of Abandoned Personal Property
Sheriff Bruce Hartman discussed Resolution #13-20 regarding the disposition of abandoned personal property in his office’s possession. Hartman informed the board that he worked with both the Internal Revenue Service and US Marshalls Office in pursuant of Federal Tax lien foreclosure action in case no. 11CV0274, USA v. Goodman. The case resulted in the seizure of eight guns and a small quantity of ammunition. The federal agencies did not have access to a secure location to keep the items, and the Sheriff’s Office offered to securely store the items for the federal agencies.
Hartman has been notified that he can release the items and has made multiple documented attempts to contact the owner with no response. Hartman noted that none of the items were usable for the Sheriff’s Office, but that in the past he has been able to make an exchange with a Federal Firearms Licensed vendor who will trade the arms for items the Sheriff’s Office needs. In the past, Hartman said this has saved the county roughly $8,000 to $10,000 in firearms costs. There was no current known value to the firearms in question. The Commissioners unanimously approved Resolution #13-20 which determines the items abandoned.
Treasurer’s Monthly Report
County Treasurer Alynn Huffman gave her monthly report. 99.10% of county taxes have been collected as of the September report. Commissioner Watson cited that it was encouraging that the taxes collected are about the same level percentage wise as compared to last year, but the amount collected has increased. Huffman replied that it was due to the larger dollar amount of some accounts being collected. Huffman reported 261 delinquent tax accounts, and noted that they have been published in the paper. She informed the board that the property owners’ response to the public publishing has been slow this year as compared to years past. Huffman noted the county’s tax lien sale will be held November 20th.
Huffman also brought the Commissioners attention to a line item in the September report. Huffman said that the Colo Trust CDT account, an account with a bank out of Ft. Collins that was affiliated with Lehman Brother’s, has been zeroed out. Huffman stated that as much as the county will collect from that account has been collected. Lehman Brother’s filed for Chapter 11-bankruptcy protection in 2008.
Public Trustee’s Third Quarter Report
Huffman provided the board with the public trustee’s third quarter report (July to September.) Twenty-seven foreclosures have been opened in the county as compared to thirty-nine this time last year. Commissioner Watson, noting the trend in foreclosures seems to be going down, asked how many of the homes the owners were able to cure were helped by a federal program. Huffman stated she didn’t know, as the county does not get involved in that part of the process. She further stated that as far as she knew, only one property was cured through the Federal Deferment Program. Both of Huffman’s reports were unanimously approved by the Commissioners.
Supporting RE-1 School Tax Increase
The board reviewed Resolution #13-18, a show of support for the 3-A ballot measure proposed by the Gilpin County RE-1 District for a mill levy override. The ballet measure seeks to raise the mill levy by 1.699 for transportation and general fund purposes.
Commissioner Watson voiced her concern about the language in the 4th paragraph of the resolution that read “Whereas, retaining and attracting professionals and young families is critical to maintaining property values in Gilpin County, which can happen only with a quality school district serving the county.” Watson cited that attracting all people to the county, not just professionals and young families, was important as all property owners pay taxes.
Watson stated that the county has not made a decision on what kind of people it wanted to attract, but in fact the county’s largest segment of people is retired. When Commissioner McClain motioned to adopt the resolution, Watson refused to second it. Commissioner Schmalz suggested a wording change. County Manager Roger Baker suggested taking out the phrase “retaining and attracting professionals and young families is critical.” The motion passed unanimously after the wording revision was finalized.
Mobile Food Vendors Zoning Change
Community Development Director Tony Peterson spoke to the Commissioners regarding a proposed zoning change that had already been approved by the planning commission. Resolution #13-19 would allow roadside stands and businesses, such as food trucks, to operate in the county from a motor vehicle or trailer. Peterson noted that the Planning Commission’s goal was to create a way for businesses to start up while keeping costs down.
Mobile businesses would be defined as any businesses operated from a self-contained truck, van or trailer that is based on a qualifying location with several restrictions. The vendor’s mobile unit could not exceed eighteen feet in length or 10 feet in width and the only additions allowed would be deck space. The business site would not exceed 500 square feet. The vendor would be required to obtain a Mobile Vendor Use Permit on a yearly basis from the county, pay the applicable fee, maintain county code pertaining to the permit and applicable zoning, as well as gain all County Health Agency approvals. The number of permits would be limited to ten at any given time.
Mobile food vendors could not be located within one thousand feet of an all ready established restaurant, bar/restaurant, café or snack shop without written consent of the non-mobile business. Hours of operation would be restricted to 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., and no liquor could be sold. Mobile vendors could not provide any indoor customer space and could not display any product outside the trailer.
Commissioner McClain showed concern with having 10 permits available. Commissioner Watson showed extreme disapproval of the resolution by stating this wasn’t what she expected it would be at all. Watson stated she feared the vendors would not be mobile at all, but, for all tense and purposes permanent structures that don’t meet the county’s architectural or historical goals. “This is like putting up a mobile home on the side of the road,” Watson proclaimed.
The Resolution also seeks to include Temporary Vendor Stands into the county’s landscape. A Temporary vendor stand would be allowed at county-sanctioned events or when located on private commercial property or government owned property with the owner’s permission for less than 3 hours. These vendors would be exempt from having to obtain the mobile vendor use permit.
Temporary vendors would not be allowed to cause parking shortages or interfere with the normal traffic circulation patterns. They would not be allowed to operate from the public right-of-way or within 60 feet of the traveled portion of a public road.
Public Comment included Barb Gerhardus of Gilpin. Gerhardus stated the whole process began when her business, “Angelina’s Burritos” applied for a special use permit. She said her goal was to get permit for a year to see if the business could work. If it didn’t, she intended to go back to just doing events such as the county fair. Gerhardus says her concern is that with the Temporary Vendor Stands, anyone can pull up on the side of the road and sit there for hours and not pay any fees.
Gloria Gains of Central City told the Commissioners that it sounded like a fairly good solution for starting a business. Gains saw the upside of the measure would be those vendors who want to have the ability to be in a location on a fulltime basis but have the ability to move if they want knowing there spot is safe. Gaines noted that as a citizen, it would be great to be able to pick up breakfast somewhere near the justice center.
The Commissioners unanimously motioned to continue the public hearing to November 5th at 9:30 a.m. to further discuss the issue.
Review of 2012 Financial Statements
County Finance Director Clorinda Smith and Christi Reeves from auditing firm John Cutler & Associates, LLC presented the board with an independent auditor’s report for 2012. The auditing firm gave the county an “unmodified” opinion with Reeves commenting that all the documentation the firm asked for from the county they got in a timely and cooperative manner. A full report of the audit was provided to the Commissioners, and Finance Director Smith was commended by Reeves for the work she has done.
Gilpin County Sheriff’s Office and Detentions Division
There were 92 bookings into the jail in September with 67 of those being male and 25 female. 66 of the bookings were gaming related and 15 were county residents. The average daily population in the jail was 34.16.
The library circulated 3,189 items during the period of September 12 to October 9. Adult DVD movies/TV series were most checked out at 627 checkouts. E-book circulations were at 108. The report estimated that the library had 1,266 visitors during the 20 days it was open. Average daily visitors for the period was 63 per day.
A new exhibit on the Art Wall has been installed and is a collection of paintings in acrylics and oils by Dolores Zamora-Baker. A “Quit Smoking” educational display has been installed in the lobby display case. A film series has been offered on four Saturdays with Film Critic Walter Chaw discussing each film.
The Extension Office reported that the weed spray checkout program was a success with 42 people checking out spray and treating 396 acres. A Weed ID and Control Class was held on July 11 along with a Weed Booth at the County Fair, and had a total of 273 attendees.
The summer camp garden project was a success. Heather Pearce led the project. Summer camp kids gardened for two hours a week and performed activities from watering garden plots to growing and tasting produce. The Community Garden as a whole was a success.
The Extension Office has been successful in obtaining a grant for wildland fuel reduction through collaboration with Timberline Fire Protection District. The award of $204,992 will be matched with money from the county, Timberline Fire, and from cash and in-kind donations from homeowners to create and improve one hundred defensible spaces and to perform fuel reduction activities on one hundred more acres.
Public Health saw one ISDS Permit application and issued one ISDS Permit. Ten ISDS maintenance contracts were received. Eighteen Retail Food Establishments were inspected, which resulted in fourteen critical violations.
August showed Public Health had six WIC clients and two nurse family partnership HIP clients. Two vaccinations were administered and eleven cardiac assessments. One Infectious Disease was reported and nine residential water testings were performed.
The Commissioners held a work session for the Concept Plan Review submitted by Tom Virkovsky concerning Government Lot 001 on Hwy 72. Virkovsky has 40 acres of land in Boiling Gulch purchased in1977 and is seeking to gain a Subdivision Exemption that would permit him to divide the land into three separate parcels (8 acre, 10 acre, and 13.3 acre parcels.) The County Master Plan maintains a rural density of 1 unit to every 20 acre parcel, and Virkovsky’s plan does not meet those standards. No application has been submitted on the exemption as of yet.
Virkovsky, along with the help of Peterson, sought informal guidance from the Commissioners as to how to subdivide the land without rezoning it. Peterson noted that in the past such requests have been turned down. Commissioner Schmalz noted the reason they have been turned down is that while the Commissioners do seek to accommodate residents requests where it can, the Commissioners have an obligation to not open itself up to future litigation by approving Virkovsky’s request against the County’s Master Plan and then not approving every similar request that follows. Schmalz stated that there needs to be “rock solid” reasons for the exemption.
A potential remedy is a transfer of density rights program that would move development rights from another property. Virkovsky has possible access to another property that would allow a transfer of development rights to the property he wishes to subdivide.
The next meeting of the Commissioners will be November 5, 2013 at 9:00 a.m. at the Gilpin County Courthouse, 203 Eureka Street, Central City.