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12/7/2017 Commissioners take on airport issues; Hermit Bridge upgrades
The Custer County Board of County Commissioners met to mull over a host of issues on Thursday, November 30. The commissioners attended the Colorado Counties Incorporated (CCI) Winter Conference in Colorado Springs on November 27-29. All agreed it was time well-spent. (Please see additional article on the conference in this week’s issue.) County Attorney, Clint Smith spoke on the Planning Commission workshop held Tuesday, November 28, 2017. They worked on proposed amendments to the Zoning Resolution. The Commission will look at light pollution as it relates to Dark Skies requirements. Another workshop will be held on Monday, December 11, at 1:30 p.m., to ensure the correct language is in place. There will also be public meetings held for input. The Airport Authority Board received a bill for a new fuel dispenser. Additional fees were added to the bill for troubleshooting. Smith wrote a letter to Eaton Sales and Service, located in Colorado Springs, but as of meeting time, had not received a response. The bill was paid. He will give an update at a later time. Smith reported an update on the disputed charge the Airport Advisory Board received from MasterCard. He contacted Worldwide Fuel Services and received an email back from a representative that covers Custer County. Worldwide Fuel Services will pay the $945 if Custer County agrees to contract with them for four years. The current contract will expire in 2019. This will save Custer County $1000 per year. Administrative Assistant to the Commissioners, Brenda Gaide, gave updates on key items. By the week of December 4, all commissioners will have their laptops. All three agreed to move the January 2 and 3 meetings to January 9 and 10. The commissioners will set their meeting dates and holidays for 2018 at that time. Gaide has three interviews scheduled for the Information Technology position, on December 7, 2017. There is also the possibility of a fourth applicant today. Gary Hyde, Supervisor with Custer County Road and Bridge spoke on the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT)/ Hermit Bridge Project. The bridge, located on Hermit Road -- CR 160 -- across Grape Creek just west of Westcliffe -- will need to be repaired soon. A biennial efficiency rating which ranks a bridge’s stability of 85 percent was attained in 2013. It had dropped in 2015 to 64 percent. CDOT awarded the county a grant in June of this year, estimated at $112,000 to go toward the project. Because it’s an 80/20 matching grant, the county would be on the hook for the additional $28,000. There was much discussion on different scenarios. If the county accepts the CDOT grant, it could extend the project and road closure for five to six weeks. If the county got a grant from DOLA, it would be 50/50 matching. The road would be closed for a maximum of three days, but the cost to the county would be more. Printz suggested a workshop be held with the firm approved by the previous board, Atencio Engineering, for the commissioners to discuss the options and decide on how to proceed. More details to come at a future date. The commissioners changed hats and the BOCC went into recess to resume the meeting as Custer County Board of Health. Jackie Hobby updated on the situation with the Carpenters and their property located in Silver Cliff Heights. Attorney Smith stated that, during the meeting on September 19, the Carpenter’s were given until the end of the year to get a septic system installed. They have been able to get a Porta Potty on the property, but due to lack of work, unable to afford a septic system. Hobby spoke to the Carpenter’s great communication with her office and that they should be given more time to get a system in place. After much discussion, all agreed to give them until the end of June, 2018 to complete the work. The perc test and all permits are in place and they won’t need to obtain any new ones. Mr. Carpenter agreed to abide by the Board’s stipulation. The BOCC resumed the meeting with talk on the request by County Treasurer, Virginia Trujillo to transfer $100,000 over from the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) fund to the general fund to meet the shortfall of some $70,000 in order to pay bills for the month. Trujillo stated it would likely be needed for December as well. The motion was unanimously approved by the commissioners to move the money over to the general fund. The three approved the voucher payments after getting clarification on a few questions they had on expenditures. Also approved, the intergovernmental agreement (IGA) for the new voting system mandated by the Colorado Secretary of State. All counties in Colorado are to have switched over by 2020. The previous board consisting of Bob Kattnig, Lynn Attebery and Kit Shy did not approve the switch-over. They felt it was wrong for the state to mandate all counties go to the new system. Jefferson and Douglas counties sued and lost their cases. The previous board earlier this year, voted to adopt the new system. If the commissioners signed the new IGA before December 31, it would save the county $8,000. The commissioners approved the signing of the IGA for E911 services. The system in place now hasn’t had an upgrade since 2008. There is a potential upgrade cost of $300,000 in 2018. No funds from the county will be needed. Funding comes from the fees on cell phones and landlines. They will be seeking bids for the upgrade. Samantha Moos and Sergeant Wenzel were complimented by the commissioners for their hard work on E911. Information will be given out at the annual Health Fair to show citizens how to ensure these fees go to Custer County and not elsewhere. The commissioners gave the go ahead to the Wet Mountain Fire Protection District to hammer out the details for an IGA, to obtain the class one fire truck for sale, to place at SilverWest Airport/Butler Field. It would service the airport, Cuerno Verde, Centennial Ranch, and TimberRidge subdivisions. There are 39 homes within a five-mile radius. All agree the acquisition of this truck would be a win-win for Custer County. If a need arose in a different part of the Valley, it could also be utilized elsewhere. The fire truck is in great condition and the price was reduced to $32,000. Currently, it is at a private residence in Denver. Custer County government offices will return to its previous operating hours of 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday-Friday, starting last Monday, December 4. The previous Board of County Commissioners put a personnel policy in place that wasn’t well-received by employees. One of the biggest disagreements was the operating hours of the courthouse. The intention of the previous board was to serve more of the public that may not have been able to get to the courthouse before closing. The current board determined, after hearing from the various departments, business had remained the same. The extra hour didn’t increase traffic. During the staff meeting, the board approved going back to the original hours of 8 to 4, Monday-Friday. They will work with staff to decide which items in the personnel policy to keep, and which to change. Also approved was the staff Christmas party scheduled for December 21, from noon to 2 p.m. The courthouse will be closed for those two hours and reopen for business directly after the party. – Tracy Ballard