Mountain Broadband to bring high-speed internet to Gilpin County

Petrock and Ashcraft recognized for County service

By Randy Beaudette

The first Gilpin County Board of Commissioners (BoCC) meeting of 2020 included the departure of long-time County Attorney Jim Petrock and Gilpin County Human Services Director Sherrin Ashcraft. The agenda also included all the beginning of the year tasks such as Commissioner’s appointments to the various boards, authorities and committees, the appointment of Gail Watson as the Chair of the Gilpin County Board, Ron Engels was appointed to Chair Pro-Tem of the Board, and the appointment of the various county officials such as Abel Montoya to the County Manager position and Bradford (Brad) Benning as the County Attorney.

Madam Chair Linda Isenhart opened up the meeting January 7, 2020 promptly at 9:03 a.m. with Commissioners Gail Watson and Ron Engels. Also present County Attorney Brad Benning, County Manager Abel Montoya, and Deputy Clerk to the Board Sharon Cate.

Recognition of Jim Petrock and Sherrin Ashcraft

Past and present County Commissioners payed tribute to longtime County Attorney Jim Petrock. Mr. Petrock assumed the position of County Attorney 38 years ago and had handled many predicaments. Former Commissioners Jeanne and Craig Nicholson, Connie McClain, and Jim Webb spoke and thanked Mr. Petrock for keeping them out of trouble and within the bounds of the law. The Commissioners also recognized Human Services Director Sherrin Ashcraft for her dedication and service over the past couple of years. Thank you Jim and Sherrin for your service and we all wish you the best of luck in all your endeavors.

Human Services Items

Gilpin County Human Services Director Sherrin Ashcraft and Taletha Pettis presented three items of concern for the Human Services Department. First item to be presented to the BoCC was a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Jefferson and Gilpin Counties through which Jefferson County would assist Gilpin in providing services necessary to establish paternity, establish support obligations, and secure support for any eligible persons. JeffCo would also assist in other child support or foster care fee enforcements matters. Gilpin County Commissioners approved the MOU unanimously. Next Director Ashcraft presented the First Amendment and Revival to Jeff Timlin’s Attorney at Law Agreement to provide special legal services to the Gilpin County Department of Human Services in which the Commissioners also approved. The final item was a salary offer to an experienced Caseworker. Human Services Caseworker III position has been open for almost 10 months and due to an increase in the child and adult protection referrals over the past year, hiring an experienced caseworker is essential in order to provide services to the clients. Currently a suitable candidate is working in a nearby large county, but if she accepts the job in Gilpin County, she would take a 15% pay decrease. Ms. Ashcraft requested that the BoCC approve a 15% increase in order to obtain this experienced, highly certified individual to serve the residents of Gilpin County. Gilpin County Commissioner approved the 15% salary increase as requested.

Temporary Housing Extension Public Hearing

Community Development Office Manager Tami Archer presented BOA #19-06 which is a Temporary Housing application on behalf of Michael and Tye Price who reside on Old Hughesville Road. The applicant is requesting an extension of Temporary Housing beyond what is allowed by building and zoning codes. Mr. Price sites health issues and financial hardship as the basis for this request. Gilpin County code allows 12 months on-site temporary housing for individuals building a permanent residence to be reviewed every four months. Neighbors Michael Nuzum and Kristen McFarland spoke in opposition of the temporary housing extension stating various reasons. Gilpin County Commissioners denied BOA#19-06 two to one.

Subdivision Exemption Final Plat (SBE 17-02F)

Community Development Director Stephan Strohminger presented an Exempt Subdivision (SBE 17-02F) on behalf of Gail Watson who dismissed herself from ruling on the item. The applicant owns property totaling 7.31 acres in the Severance Lodge Subdivision. The applicant applied for a minor subdivision in 2017. The BoCC reviewed and approved her preliminary plan (SBE 17-02P). The approval of SBE17-02 contained conditions addressing the size of the lot, building envelope size, and TDR requirements. On September 3, 2019 the applicant was granted a variance (BOA 19-03) to allow the lots to be less than five acres in size and that variance was granted. SBE 17-02F is the final subdivision plat that meets the requirements of the preliminary approval and variance. Commissioners Isenhart and Engels approved SBE 17-02 unanimously.

National Radon Action Month

Gilpin County Commissioners approved a proclamation that proclaims January as National Radon Action Month and supports recommended radon practices and policies to reduce radon exposure as presented by Gilpin County Public Health Coordinator Bonnie Albrecht. Radon is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas that is a byproduct of uranium breakdown in soil. Long-term exposure to radon gas is the leading cause of lung cancer in people who do not smoke. According to Ms. Albrecht, Gilpin County contains some of the highest levels of radon in the Colorado counties with 66.22% of the samples reported as being moderate to high readings.

Mountain Broadband Lease

Director of Public Works Gordon Thompson presented a temporary ground lease agreement with Mountain Broadband which the Commissioners approved unanimously. Mountain Broadband is going to provide high-speed internet service in Gilpin County. They will have to come up Coal Creek Hwy, Twin Spruce Road, and Gap Road into the county. The company needs space in the county for their equipment and materials. This agreement is for a space on County property between the slash pile and the library.

Finance Items

Gilpin County Finance Director Clorinda Smith and Staff Accountant Lorna Plamondon presented two separate items. The first was a proposal for Eldorado to supply bottled water to County buildings at a cost of $12,000 annually – a cost savings of about $7,000 over the current supplier. Eldorado is also willing to present the option to provide a filtration system in the various buildings to ensure additional savings and environmental impact. Second was the distribution of the $1,733,454 in Gaming Impact or DOLA funds throughout the various grantee programs. The Commissioners approved both the water proposal and the distribution of the DOLA funds.

Police Recruit Training Agreements

Gilpin County Sheriff’s Department Division Chief Sean Wheeler presented an agreement between Gilpin County and the City of Lakewood and Jefferson County to conduct a joint academy for the training of law enforcement officers known as the Combined Regional Academy. Gilpin County desires to have law enforcement recruits attend the Academy during the term of this agreement. A second agreement was also presented between Gilpin and the incoming law enforcement recruits. The agreement states that the recruits which are sent to the Combined Regional Academy must provide law enforcement services to the County for at least three years in order to avoid repayment to the County for the cost of the Academy. Both agreements were approved by the BoCC unanimously.

Gilpin County Commissioners approved the additional purchase of single band radios for the Gilpin County Public Works Department as presented by Gilpin County Sheriff’s Department Communications Manager Lyssa Gray. The approval would purchase twenty six radios in one year to take advantage of a substantial discount offered by Motorola that would yield a savings of $21,500.

Other Business          

Other business conducted by the Commissioners include the continued first reading of Ordinance #19-01, the Revised Historical Preservation Ordinance, a review of the most recent ambulance inspections, the notice of public meetings, and the approval of the meeting  minutes from the December 10 and December 17, 2019 regular meetings with some corrections.

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Next Meeting

The next Gilpin County Commissioners regular meeting will be January 21, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. at the Gilpin County Courthouse at 203 Eureka St., Central City, Colorado.

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