The New BOCC:
Old Court House Hours Restored,
Committee Formed to Review
New Personnel Policy,
CCEDC Grant Questioned Hard
Board of County
—November 30, 2017
by Jackie Bubis
The meeting started at 9 a.m. with the Pledge of Allegiance and Roll Call. Introductions of the public in attendance followed.
All three commissioners reported on the CCI (Colorado Counties Inc) conference. The new commissioners commented on the quality of the training. Mr. Printz spoke with DOLA manager Christy Doon regarding broadband, Dark Skies and building issues. There were discussions with Representative Crowder about losing the Underfunded Courthouse grant. They were encouraged to apply again at the next opportunity.
Chairman Flower stressed the importance of making sure that the voters know how each commissioner votes on each issue. Kelley Camper stated that she lists these details in the minutes.
Mr. Smith reported on the Planning Commission workshop. The Dark Skies issue was postponed until the December 11th meeting (1:30 in the court room.) He also reported on two airport billing issues that he’s working to resolve.
Administrative Assistant Items
By next week, the new commissioners will have their county laptops. The first meetings in January will be the 9th and 10th. At that time the dates will be set for the year. Interviews for the IT position will occur on Thursday, December 7th. Jay Printz volunteered to be the county representative for the DOLA grant for the broadband project from CCEDC (Custer County Economic Development Corporation.)
The Board recessed and went into session (as Health Department) to discuss an ongoing issue with a property not having septic. The owner does have a porta-potty service and is working to get the septic in. After much discussion with the property owner, the Board decided unanimously to extend his permit and give him until June 30th to get the septic in.
Returning to the BOCC, Gary Hyde from Road & Bridge briefed the Board on the Hermit Bridge project. There has not been a decision on whether to go with a DOLA grant, which will have many strings attached and may close the road for up to six weeks or whether to have our Road & Bridge department do the work. Mr. Printz suggested having a workshop with all parties present to hammer out a decision. In the meantime, Mr. Canda will work with Hyde to put together options.
Vouchers were presented. There were questions about a gym membership for the Sheriff’s department and regarding cleaning fees from Mountain Maids. (Note: Sheriff Byerly reported that his employees split the cost of the membership with the county.) The vouchers were approved unanimously.
The Board approved the E911 IGA (Inter-governmental agreement.)
Next on the agenda was a discussion with the President of the Cuerno Verde homeowners association and representatives from the Wet Mountain Fire Protection District discussing the possibility of putting a truck out at that airport. This truck would be available for emergencies in the southern part of the county, including Cuerno Verde, Timber Ridge, Centennial Ranch and Silver West Estates. There are several people within that area that are interested in joining the Fire Department so that they can respond in their area. There is a truck available that Fire Chief Tonsing thinks would be perfect for this job. After a great deal of discussion, the Board encouraged the Fire Department and the residents in this area to work together to come up with options for purchasing this truck.
The Board approved signing the voting system agreement to lease the equipment required by the Secretary of State’s office. The lease of this equipment comes to $19,200/year. They will save $8K by signing this agreement before December 31st.
The Board approved moving funds from the PILT (Payments in Lieu of Taxes) fund into the general fund per the request of County Treasurer Trujillo.
The staff meeting began at 11:30 a.m. with a discussion with the staff regarding the new personnel policy, particularly the courthouse hours. It was evident from the discussion that the majority of the employees were not happy with the new hours and the resulting arrangements for scheduling. When Commissioner Flower commented that open discussion is “what being a family is all about,” one employee commented that previous commissioner Hood had told her that “we are too much like a family around here” and that needed to change. Mr. Printz stated that he didn’t want to throw the former commissioners under the bus, that he had supported the new hours because he felt it served the community better. But he said that the experiment had been a failure. He took the opportunity to make the motion to return to the historic courthouse hours of 8-4 starting December 4th. The motion passed unanimously to applause from the staff.
Kelley Camper will chair the committee that she will put together which will report on ways the rest of the personnel policy should/could be changed. They will report back to the commissioners with ideas and options.
There was discussion about ongoing cleaning and maintenance in the courthouse. The employees stated that the current situation was costing more but not getting the work done the way it should be. The consensus was that there needed to be a full-time employee for this and Mr. Printz will work with Dawna Hobby to put together the advertisement for that position.
The meeting adjourned at 12:55 p.m.
After a short lunch break, the Board met again to discuss the budget. The new commissioners wanted an opportunity for an overview of the budget numbers, and a few line items in particular. Dawna Hobby stated that:
• The General Fund is $142,700 over budget
• Road & Bridge is over budget by $405,730
• Capital Improvements is over
budget by $23,630
• Insurance Fund is over budget by $5,050
• EMS is over budget by $85,326
• Human Services came in under
budget by $7,302
The previous Board “balanced” the budget by taking approximately $600K from the fund balance from Road & Bridge.
The new board members had one particular issue that they wanted to discuss regarding the $23K requested by the Custer County Economic Development Corporation. This is a 501-C6 corporation that is attempting to bring six more towers into the county at a cost of over $2M. They have put in for grants for all but $25K of that money, which they hope will be raised by donations from citizens.
The $23K sought in the budget is for contingency funding, membership on their board, the trails initiative, re-branding and strategic planning.
Mr. Jarvis opened with the statement that there was a bold-faced lie going around that the “guys with Economic Development are going to make a million.” He stated that no one on the board makes any money but have spent thousands of dollars working on the broadband project.
There was extensive discussion on this line item, with the two new commissioners asking hard questions about that request. Some of the questions they asked were:
Had any providers agreed in writing to buy space on the towers?
Who is on the board of this private corporation? (The CCEDC is a 501-C6 non-profit corporation. It’s board at this time is comprised of Charles Bogle, Dale Mullen, Marilyn Stodola and Wilson Jarvis.)
There was discussion also of a line item in their request for $5,000 for membership in the CCEDC that would entitle the county to membership on the board. There was no indication of other paid members at this time.
The discussion became heated on occasion with even the reporter for the other paper pleading with Mr. Canda that “we need this, Bill.” Note: many voters are against this broadband boondoggle and voiced their displeasure by voting yes to the recall.
When asked if losing this $23K from the budget would stop the broadband project, both Mr. Bogle and Mr. Jarvis stressed that it would not.
The final vote on this budget will happen at the December 6th meeting.
NOTE: Update on the CCEDC budget–– At the December 5th meeting, all three commissioners agreed that it would be inappropriate for them to purchase a seat on the board of a private corporation who comes before the BOCC to ask for money. The $5,000 in the CCEDC budget request was deleted from their request and it was agreed that the line item would be for “Economic Development” and not just for CCEDC – that anyone with great ideas about economic development was welcome to make proposals for funding.