BOCC Meeting: Dark Skies, Bad Roads, CCEDC

Board of County
Commissioners (BOCC)
—December 5, 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.
Commissioner Items
Commissioner Canda continues making his rounds and will meet with Road & Bridge this week if possible. He hopes to go to Wetmore to have coffee with the residents at the community center.
Commissioner Flower asked what the commissioner items section of the meetings was for. Commissioner Printz informed him it was a time for the commissioners to report on what they’d been doing and any items of interest to the rest of the Board.
Commissioner Printz reported that he’d met with Jackie Hobby in the Zoning Office. Also he’s working with Dawna Hobby regarding the December 7th interview for the IT position and advertising the custodian position.
Mr. Flower reported further information on the lights on Muddy Road (CR 150) that came up in the November 22nd meeting. Penny Zeller from Hermit Basin pays the electricity on those lights and they were approved before 1980. Next, he mentioned that the bathrooms are not getting cleaned as well as they should and asked Brenda Gaide to contact Mountain Maids. After a quick discussion, the Board decided that they would extend tomorrow’s courthouse security meeting and discuss how they want to do the interviews on Thursday.
Attorney Items
Attorney Smith took off his attorney hat and put on his Dark Skies hat to let Mr. Flower know that Dark Skies can provide hooded lights for the Muddy Road lights if they want them. He got a response from Eaton, with whom the Board had disputed a portion of the bill for installation of the new pump at the airport. He’ll bring it up tomorrow with Dallas Anderson of the Airport Advisory Board. He brought the contract between the Sheriff and the Town of Westcliffe and reported that he has a rough draft of the IGA between the airport and the fire department regarding housing a fire truck at the airport.
Mr. Smith also has a draft proposal to present to the Planning Commission at the December 11th workshop regarding Dark Skies. The Board discussed how to handle this meeting if the three commissioners want to attend. The new commissioners want to avoid any shady areas of the Sunshine Law. Mr. Printz urged them not to be “paranoid” about the Sunshine Laws. The consensus was to let the Planning Commission decide whether to record the meeting and that the commissioners could go without calling it a BOCC meeting.
Gary Hyde met with the Board for his monthly report. A couple who are considering purchase of property on Blue Grouse Circle contacted him about the possibility of getting the first 200 yards of that road chip sealed at their cost. Since that would be a win/win situation, the Board agreed with Hyde that this was doable. Hyde asked the Board about raising the $1/hour extra that his employees get when doing welding work. This was the first that the Board had heard of this long-standing “policy” and there was extended discussion on the matter. Apparently, Hyde’s employees don’t like to do welding and see it as punishment when it’s required. Hence the extra pay. Another department head spoke up saying that if this is a policy, then it should be across the board. The topic was not resolved and may appear on a future agenda.
With a surplus of $189K in his budget, Hyde brought bids for a new backhoe for his department. A citizen asked if this money wouldn’t be better spent for road base so that the crews would actually have something to grade. He further mentioned the damage to citizen’s cars of late traveling on Oak Creek Grade. Mr. Printz assured him that with the increased budget for Road & Bridge, the roads would soon be in much better shape. The backhoe purchase was discussed in budget hearings and the current Board agreed to the purchase. The new machine will stay in Westcliffe. Their current backhoe will go to Wetmore. And the Wetmore machine will be used at the landfill.
Mr. Hyde also asked if the Valley Ace gift cards given to his employees last year at this time would be allowed again. Dawna Hobby noted that these were safety awards and that, this year, not all 17 R&B employees qualified to get them. The Board approved up to $50 for each employee that Hyde determines should get the cards. They also approved the Christmas party for his department.
Rusty Christensen, from the landfill, brought the bad news that his loader needs a new transmission to the tune of about $40K. He’s been nursing it along for some time and, with the approval of the Board, will get it repaired. His good news was that Custer County is one of the few small landfills that is in compliance with state and federal regulations. CDPHE (Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment) will be drilling three ground water monitoring wells at their cost and also pay for monitoring for the first two quarters after drilling. If nothing is found, they will not test again for five years and even then, they will pay for it. This is a very big deal and will help with future expansion of our landfill.
Dennis Sprecher from Recycling also brought good news: his recycling of cardboard has brought in $18K this year for the General Fund. Last year it was about $8K.
Dawna Hobby, HR and Finance officer, brought the handwritten checks to be signed and reported that the custodial/maintenance position will be advertised for two weeks in both papers.
The Veterans Service Officer, Tim Swartz filled the new commissioners in on the history of his office and of some of the accomplishments he’s made. The number of veterans in his database has grown to 424. Mr. Flower queried Swartz regarding how much of his time is spent helping vets from other counties. Flower is concerned that Tim is just one person and priority should be given to our Custer County veterans. Tim stated that it isn’t a problem at this time but urged Mr. Flower to encourage surrounding counties to step up their service to their vets. The Board approved his report.
Office of Emergency Management’s Cindy Howard brought her monthly report. She listed some important meetings that the commissioners may want to pencil into their schedule. She will try to reschedule the Annual Operating Plan meeting scheduled for Jan 17th because Mr. Flower will be in Pueblo interviewing applicants for the CSU Extension Agent position. She discussed the Flash Flood Alert & Notification plan that the state wants counties to buy into. The cost would be prohibitive for our small county and the consensus was to let the state know we would be unable to participate. This plan would have provided high-tech alerting equipment to the residents along the creek in Wetmore that would have cost the county approximately $20K per year after the initial year. Mr. Printz stated that those people along the creek have a certain amount of personal responsibility to stay informed when conditions are prime for flooding. Cindy Howard was tasked with putting together other options to help the citizens with early warning of danger.
New Business
The Board discussed the $5K membership option within the CCEDC (Custer County Economic Development Corporation) budget request. For this $5K, the commissioners could have a representative on the CCEDC board. This is a private, 501-C6 corporation. Though representative Wilson Jarvis stated that it is not uncommon for commissioners to serve on private economic development boards, our BOCC firmly rejected the option. Mr. Canda pointed out the inappropriateness of one of them being on a board that would be lobbying the county for funds. Mr. Printz stated it would be a “huge conflict of interest.” And Mr. Flower stated that he would not have a commissioner on any board and would certainly not pay to be on a board. The Board also stated that the $23K in the budget would not be earmarked particularly for the CCEDC but could be used for any project that would benefit economic development. Mr. Jarvis made a final plea that our Board would contact commissioners in other counties to see how they interact with private economic development boards.

Sheriff Byerly met with the Board to sign the agreement with Westcliffe.

Eric Foster with the Core of Chaplains (not Corps, he pointed out) met with the Board to update them on his mission.

During the public comment time, Mr. Devaney asked about the broadband project from the CCEDC and whether the BOCC would have final approval on the project. Mr. Printz guaranteed him that there would be no towers built without the approval of the Board.

The meeting was adjourned at 12:48 p.m.