Category Archives: Archives

March 7 BOCC Meeting

Dark Skies for All the Valley?

Board of County
Commissioners (BOCC) Meeting
March 7, 2017
—Westcliffe, CO
by Jackie Bubis
The meeting started with the Pledge of Allegiance and Roll Call. Introductions of the public in attendance followed.
The room overflowed with members of the public wishing to make their views known.
The first man to speak stated he was bringing to the Board some of the perceptions “out there” in the public, particularly against Commissioner Kattnig.  His main concern was for Roger Squire not even getting an interview for the road boss position.  Mr. Kattnig stated that everyone has complained about the roads and the Board needed to go in a new direction – one based on business principles. Mr. Kattnig also explained that the Board used a Colorado State entity, Workforce, to help review and rank the job applications for Road and Bridge supervisor position and that Mr. Squire’s application was considered, However, they only interviewed the top three applicants. Commissioner Printz stated that, had it been up to him, he’d have fired Mr. Squire for egregious violations but that Mr. Kattnig talked him out of it.
There was a brief discussion of when and how the commissioners could be together.  When asked if the commissioners did, in fact, drive to Denver together to meet with the CSU Chancellor, they admitted doing so, saying that Attorney Smith advised them it was okay.  Smith responded that he had advised them to not discuss business with each other or with a member of the public when together.
The ensuing discussion with regards to the termination of Robin Young was reported on last week’s front page story.
The meeting progressed according to the agenda once the public comments were complete.
Commissioner Items:
Commissioner Hood reported on the Wetmore building meeting.
Mr. Kattnig reported on the March third presentation by the Custer County Economic Development Corporation with regards to six potential sites for broadband towers.  He then made a comment to an unspecified person who has referred to this project as “socialism broadband” and that maybe we have “socialism road and bridge.”
He also reported that the Wetmore building is $50K over budget at this point.
Mr. Printz reported a meeting with the Early Childhood group, Recycling and the Water Commission.
Attorney Items:
Mr. Smith brought to the Board the talking points the Board requested on a Dark Skies ordinance that would affect from the top of the Sangres to the top of the Wet Mountains.  Enforcement of such an ordinance would be through the Planning and Zoning Office.
Charles Bogle, from the Custer County Economic Development Corporation approached the Board requesting their support in an upcoming grant for strategic planning.  There was no county money requested at this time and no action taken.
Proposals for the next phase of the Underfunded Courthouse project were received from Anderson Hallas, Ben White of Crested Butte and Steve Weidner of Pueblo.  Mrs. Hood was unable to reach Wells Squire regarding the expectations of the county surveyor.  Mr. Smith informed her that some of the work she had ordered to be done by County Surveyor Shy were outside the parameters of his job without compensation.  Mr. Weidner was present and the Board allowed him time to speak about the project.
Mike O’Rourke, Chief Probation Officer, addressed the Board regarding Gateway to Success using the annex building for DUI classes.  He spoke favorably of the proposal.  The Board passed a motion to allow the use of the annex building for these classes on Fridays. When the topic arose that Gateway to Success is a for-profit organization asking for rent-free use of a county facility, Mr. Kattnig said he felt it was appropriate to work with the courts to meet the obligation to provide treatment.
Staff Reports:
Beth Green from Public Health gave the monthly report.  The Board has extended the deadline for applications for the Public Health Nurse position due to poor response.  Mr. Printz expressed concern that the county isn’t offering enough money for the position.  Ms. Green responded that certainly they could make more elsewhere.
The Road and Bridge report, given by new Road Boss Gary Hyde, included a plan to raise wages across the board in his department.  The Board requested a fuller set of figures which would reflect benefits and workman’s compensation before they could make any decisions.  The raise would not exceed the R&B budget.  Also, Mr. Hyde requested permission to purchase a tilt-bed trailer for taking patching material where it’s needed.  He will get two more bids before a decision can be made.
Tim Swartz gave the Veteran’s Services report.  He had 67 visits in February and now has 341 veterans in his database.  The Board approved a proclamation be written for Anna Orgeron for all her work for vets in the area.  Anna will be moving back east later this Spring.  Swartz will work with some of his veterans to spruce up the landscaping around the VSO and put in a garden.
Laura Lockhart from Human Services brought her report to the Board.  She also requested that when work is done on the court house, her office could use a bit more room.  She had some suggestions for how that could be accomplished and the Board took her comments under advisement.
Office of Emergency Management Cindy Howard gave her monthly report.
The meeting was adjourned at 12:37 p.m.

March 8 BOCC: BOCC: More 4-H Drama, Airport Moving Runway?

Board of County
Commissioners (BOCC) Meeting
March 8, 2017
—WESTCLIFFE, Colorado

by Jackie Bubis

The meeting started with the Pledge of Allegiance and Roll Call. Introductions of the public in attendance followed.
The room again overflowed with members of the public wishing to make their views known.  Whereas on Tuesday, the public comments were unanimous in disapproval for the actions of the Board regarding Robin Young’s termination, today, they were nearly unanimous in favor.  A number of former members of the 4-H Foundation, along with Fair Board members read letters containing a wide variety of complaints against Robin Young. Continue reading March 8 BOCC: BOCC: More 4-H Drama, Airport Moving Runway?

BOCC February 21, 2017

Board of County
Commissioners (BOCC)

—February 21, 2017

WETMORE, Colorado

by Jackie Bubis

The meeting started with the Pledge of Allegiance and Roll Call. Introductions of the public in attendance followed.
The Board approved the minutes of the February 7th and 8th meetings. Mrs. Hood requested that her answer to John Johnston’s question that day be reflected in the minutes for the 31st so they will be approved at a later date.
Public Comment
A Wetmore resident expressed her disappointment in the entire board from the meeting on Friday, 2/17. She said that when they ran for office, they expressed that the Wetmore Community Center was a priority for them. She stated that, in the Friday meeting, the three commissioners didn’t know anything and hadn’t done their homework. She was dismayed that the commissioners derided both the architect Tom Duke and former-commissioner Attebery. “Commissioner Attebery allowed us to dream,” she said. She stated that she felt it was easier to blame someone else than for them to own up to not doing their homework.

Kattnig began his defense by saying that at the last meeting that Attebery attended, Kattnig requested an update and Attebery didn’t give him one. He stated that none of the issues that “these two” brought up (meaning the other Commissioners, I suppose) were brought up at that time.
Printz answered her concerns by saying that he did as much homework as he was allowed to do before he was sworn in. “As a private citizen I wasn’t privy to the contracts or any discussions. I wasn’t allowed to go to any of the meetings. I specifically asked to come to the planning meetings,” he said. He commended Attebery. Then went on to say that many of these things just came up. He stated that the contractor came to them and said that if they wanted all the things in the change order, they’d be $100K over budget. They also did not know about the $300/day charge for every day past the deadline. He stated that when he asked Mr. Attebery for information, he didn’t get a lot. He hinted that maybe it was political because Mrs. Attebery ran against him for the commissioner seat.
(Note: the contract was filed with the County Clerk and has been available since it was signed. It did cost $9.25.)

Mrs. Hood responded that, from the very beginning in January, they have been meeting with the contractors. “You need to understand,” she said, “that it was not an easy transition. We didn’t have a transition with Lynn or with Kit. So we were kept in the dark.” She then referenced her papers and itemized some of the delays. “So, yes, we were in shock when we met for the first time.” She stated that she asked what the delays were costing the county and did not get an answer. She insisted that they had been doing their due diligence for Wetmore and stated again that it wasn’t an easy transition for them. “Had we sat down with Lynn and Kit at the same time and gone over the drawings, we’d be in a different spot.”

Kattnig stressed that he didn’t see this as anybody’s fault. Another citizen objected to that statement saying, that there definitely was fault. Kattnig said that once the building was finished, there may be some recompense.
For clarification, I asked if the by-weekly meetings with the builder that have happened since the building was started were open to the public. They answered that the meetings were open to the public. “So anyone who was going to be coming into office in January could have been going to these meetings to get up to speed. Is that correct?
Printz answered that this was not correct. He stated that he was at those meetings but that he was not privy to the contract or the behind-the-scene negotiations. (I am unclear what he meant by behind the scene negotiations – would that not be a violation of sunshine laws?)
Commissioner Items
Mrs. Hood listed a number of meetings that she had attended including workshops with the IT director, a workshop on a possible marijuana REGULATION, tourism board, a trip to Denver with the other commissioners to speak with the CSU president, and a workshop about the CSU Extension office.
Mr. Kattnig also had attended some of those meetings and workshops and also met with the Cuerno Verde Homeowners Association on Saturday.
Attorney Items
Mr. Smith reported that he is still waiting on the ruling to dismiss the county from the Hamilton lawsuit. He expects a ruling within the next few weeks.
When Larry Haines, from Road and Bridge, asked if they should now be working on that road, Mr. Smith reiterated that it was now a county road. Mr. Kattnig told him to hold off until after they heard back from the judge.

The Board recognized the Custer County Corps of Chaplains, approved the Annual Fire Operating Plan, and accepted the School Emergency Facility Use Agreement.
Mrs. Hood requested that she be made the contact point for the County Building Assessment done by CU students last summer. The report from the students has never been produced and will meet with DOLA to move forward on this assessment. Mr. Printz had no objection to her taking the lead but wants to be involved as well.

The meeting moved on to the Wetmore Community Center. Mrs. Hood went into the financials on the building, stating that the “$100,000 over budget” from last Friday’s meeting was, in reality more like $82,000. These were change orders requested by the county. Of that $80K+, they managed on Friday to whittle it down to $58,631.31. They did that by taking off some of the changes altogether and negotiating the rest. This figure contains the $300 per day charge for the project being delayed. The total budget for the project in August was $823,325. It now stands at approximately $880,000. There is no word yet on two grants that are still awaiting approval.
The contract for the building is on file at the Clerk’s office and, contrary to Mr. Printz’s excuse that he couldn’t see it because he was just a citizen, it can be purchased for $9.25. Contract for Wetmore Community Center

Mrs. Hood brought up an email from Jim Bradburn requesting a public hearing on the Dark Skies push to have the valley floor, and possibly the entire county, try for the designation as a Dark Skies Reserve. Both Mr. Printz and Mr. Kattnig expressed that, even if the designation is attained, there will not be a compliance requirement. “It won’t be something people will have to do,” Kattnig stated.
Mrs. Hood also mentioned an email from Charles Bogle of the Custer County Economic Development Corporation regarding the 2017 Community Assessment. The CCEDC will have a public meeting on March 3rd at 1 p.m. at the library to update the community on the broad band project.
Mrs. Hood requested that one board member be selected to respond to the newspapers and volunteered to take on that responsibility. Mr. Printz would like to see anything she sends to the paper when she is speaking for all the Commissioners. Mr. Kattnig reminded the room that personnel matters are confidential.

A Wetmore citizen requested an update on possible flooding in Wetmore due to the Junkins fire. Mr. Kattnig gave a brief update, stressing a neighbor helping neighbor plan in case of emergency and the trash along and in the creek (branches, etc) would need to be cleaned up.
The meeting was recessed until 1 p.m. when it was reconvened and the Board went into executive session for personnel issues. Terre Davis, school board chairman, reminded the commissioners that they were required to say publically who was staying in the room for the executive session. Those were: Terre Davis, Gary Hyde, the Board, the attorney, the Board’s assistant and the Clerk.
When they reconvened, they directed Mr. Smith to write the letter (confidential personnel matter) to the unspecified individual and they announced the date for the Commissioners to interview the three applicants for the assistant supervisor position at Road and Bridge would be on the 28th at 2 p.m. in executive session.
The meeting was adjourned at 2:15 p.m.

BOCC Meeting January 31

BOCC Meeting January 31st
Board and Committee Appointments, Hamilton Ad Nauseam
and Two Executive Sessions

Board of County
Commissioners (BOCC)
—January 31, 2017
WESTCLIFFE, Colorado

The meeting started with the Pledge of Allegiance and Roll Call. Introductions of the public in attendance followed.
Commissioners approved the minutes of the January 20th meeting.
A citizen requested that the audio recordings of the BOCC meetings be put on the county webpage so that people don’t have to go into the Clerk’s office and purchase the audio.  The Board seemed favorable to the idea and it will be placed on a future agenda.
Another citizen commended Mrs. Hood on her giving her salary back to the county.  He also suggested that there should maybe be a policy on Board approval for her spending this money on various projects.  (Note:  at a previous meeting Mrs. Hood said she was purchasing laptops for the members of the BOCC.)   She replied, “It’s really my money, coming out of my paycheck.  So there’s no approval needed.”  Mr. Kattnig also stated that, since it’s not county money, per se, there is no requirement to ask for bids for the projects that Hood wants to fund.
Mr. Printz reported being real busy.  He has met with the Upper Arkansas Workforce Commission in Cañon City and has sent the resumes and letters of intent for the road boss job to the Workforce people for their input.
Mrs. Hood is reviewing the Strategic Plan and also met with the fair board.
Mr. Kattnig reported on the ongoing construction of the Wetmore Community Center, the meeting with the Division of Fire Prevention and Control, the CART meeting, the Middle Arkansas Wildfire Prevention Partnership, and the Fire Recovery meeting in Wetmore.
Attorney Smith requested a workshop be set for going over the prospective marijuana ordinance.  [That workshop will be open to the public  February 13th at 1:30 PM. Meeting Location: County Courthouse /Commissioners Room. ]

He read a note from Jordan Hedburg regarding the response to Mr. Hedburg’s email.  The note stated that Hedburg was satisfied with the response and would be taking no action at this time.  A copy of Hedburg’s email to the BOCC commissioners can be read here: (http://sangredecristosentinel.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/email-from-Trib01252017-C.pdf) and the attorney’s response can be seen here. (http://sangredecristosentinel.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/letter-to-WMT-from-CC-Lawyer.pdf)

Smith also reported that the motion to dismiss the county from the Hamilton lawsuit was in process.  Hamilton’s attorney had not responded to the county’s request so Smith had prepared a reply that he will file “this afternoon”.    He also seemed to be surprised that an executive session was on the agenda with the Hamiltons (who were present in the audience).  He stated that he could not attend that executive session with the county not having been officially dismissed from the lawsuit.  The Board agreed to meet with Smith prior to meeting with Hamilton in executive session.
The Board approved vouchers to be paid and funds to be transferred to pay the bills for January.
Ashley Gillum was approved to be the 4-H representative on the extension advisory board and Debra Fisher on the fair board.
The Board then addressed the appointments to the Board of Zoning Adjustment and Planning Commission.  There were many questions from Mr. Kattnig on how things were done on these boards and which members were absent from meetings.  The questioning went on for quite some time.  When Mr. Printz tried to get clarification, Mr. Kattnig told him to “speed it up.”  Mr. Printz responded “No, I’m going to take my time,” that this was important business.  There was much talk about the value of experience on the boards vs. having “new blood” on these boards.  Jackie Hobby and Vic Barnes (Chairman of the Planning Commission) both adamantly defended the written policy that new members come onto these boards as non-voting alternates before being moved to voting positions.  In the end, the new members were only added as alternates and Keith Hood, who has been on the Planning Commission for 20 years, was returned to the board.
Planning Commission
Dale Mullen
Pat Bailey
Vic Barnes
Bill Donley
Patrick Lynch
Keith Hood
Chris Nordyke
Board of Zoning
Adjustment
Ken Patterson Sr.
Jean Canterbury
Brad Hartbauer
Lockett Pitman
Rob McIlwraith
Alternates to the Planning Commission & Board of Zoning Adjustment
Skip Norcross
Lance Ingram
Mike Shields
Steve Henning
Mike Carter
The lease agreement with the radio station was approved.
The Early Childhood Council MOU was tabled until the Board could get the actual document.
There was a discussion about the county’s response to non-county roads for emergency snow removed and for getting people out from their homes for medical care.  The Board and the Sheriff agreed that there was a necessity in some of these developments for road signs.  No decisions were made on this issue.
The Board went into executive session for “advice from counsel.”
When they returned, they informed Mr. Hamilton that, on advice from Mr. Smith, their meeting with Mr. Hamilton would have to be held in open meeting.  Mr. Hamilton agreed.  Attorney Smith excused himself from the room.  Without his attorney present, Hamilton brought a 5-page document that he hoped the Board would approve and sign.  It is unclear if that would have happened had the Board met with him in executive session.  At any rate, the Board informed Mr. Hamilton that they could not take action on his request without their attorney’s input.  A copy of that 5-page request can be seen here. http://sangredecristosentinel.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Hamilton-Letter.pdf
The Board then went into executive session for “personnel issues.” Present for that session was HR Department head Donna Hobby and Sheriff Byerly.
When the Board returned to open meeting, Mr. Printz made a motion that they approve the purchase of a truck.  No further details were forthcoming on which department this vehicle is for.
The meeting adjourned at 1:50 p.m.
NOTE:  Questions:  should Mr. Kattnig and Mr. Prince have recused themselves from hearing Mr. Hamilton’s requests since both accompanied Mr. Hamilton to the court hearing in Denver?   Regarding the second executive session about “personnel issues” – where, after they returned to open meeting, the board approved the purchase of a truck – how is this truck purchase, obviously discussed during that executive session, a personnel issue?
The recording of the meeting can be heard here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gV2-x-qBRcw&feature=youtu.be

The 2017 Colorado General Assembly: Important Bills YOU Should Know About; Part 1 of 2

The 2017 Colorado General Assembly:
Important Bills YOU Should Know About; Part 1 of 2

by George Gramlich
This article features information about important bills from the 2017 Colorado Assembly, Representative Jim Wilson’s take on these and if appropriate, the Republican Caucus’s view on a bill, and occasionally, the Sentinel’s view.
We encourage our readers to ENGAGE our representatives with regards to your opinion on these bills BEFORE THEY ARE VOTED ON.  Make your voices heard. Contact information for our local representatives is at the end of the article.
The Sentinel will be tracking these bills during the legislative session and will keep you updated on their status. We will also include new bills when they are introduced and track them also.
You can view additional information on each bill, including the whole bill, its status and all the sponsors at: leg.colorado.gov and click on the “Find a Bill” icon.
Colorado House Bills:
HB17-1013 Free Exercise of Religion
House Sponsors: S. Humphrey (R), D. Williams (R)
Senate Sponsors: T. Neville (R), V. Marble (R)
Status: In Committee
Description: Specifies that no state action may burden a person’s exercise of religion, even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, unless it is demonstrated that applying the burden to a person’s exercise of religion is essential to further a compelling governmental interest and the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest;
•    Defines ‘exercise of religion’ as the practice or observance of religion. The bill specifies that exercise of religion includes the ability to act or refuse to act in a manner substantially motivated by a person’s sincerely held religious beliefs, whether or not the exercise is compulsory or central to a larger system of religious belief; except that it does not include the ability to act or refuse to act based on race or ethnicity.
•     Provides a claim or defense to a person whose exercise of religion is burdened by state action; and
•  Specifies that nothing in the bill creates any rights by an employee against an employer unless the employer is a government employer.
From Representative Jim Wilson: Our Republican Caucus has not met to determine a Caucus position on this bill.  My opinion – this is a “statement bill” (a bill that makes a statement with no chance of passing the Democrat-dominated House).  I agree with the bill and I believe I have signed on as a co-sponsor.  I predict the bill will be assigned to the House State Affairs Committee (the House “Kill Committee”).
HB17-1036 Concealed Carry in Public Schools
House Sponsors: P. Neville (R), K. Ransom (R)
Senate Sponsors: T. Neville (R)
Status: In Committee
Description: With certain exceptions, current law limits the authority of a person who holds a valid permit to carry a concealed handgun by prohibiting permit holders from carrying a concealed handgun on public elementary, middle, junior high, or high school grounds. The bill removes the limitation.
From Representative Jim Wilson: Our Republican Caucus has not met to determine a Caucus position on this bill.  My opinion – this is another “statement bill” (a bill that makes a statement with no chance of passing the Democrat-dominated House).  I will support the bill, but will not have the chance to hear it because I am sure the bill will be assigned to the House State Affairs Committee (the House “Kill Committee”).
HB17-1042 Increasing Funding For Full-day Kindergarten
House Sponsor: J. Wilson (R)
Status: In Committee
Description: Under existing law, the Public School Finance Act of 1994 funds kindergarten students as half-day pupils plus the supplemental kindergarten enrollment, which is an additional .08 of a full-day pupil.
The bill increases the supplemental kindergarten enrollment for the 2017-18 budget year and each budget year thereafter to .16 of a full-day pupil.
From Representative Jim Wilson: Our Republican Caucus has not met to determine a Caucus position on this bill.  My opinion – because it is my bill, Great Bill!  No, seriously – this bill addresses the fact that fully funding Kindergarten has been in statute since the recession. The legislature added .08 the first year and has ignored the obligation from that point.  I believe we should fund our current obligations before adding expenditures for new programs each year.  This bill only increases funding by another .08, but it is a step in the right direction.  Funding this obligation would assist school districts (especially rural ones).  It will be fun to see how this one plays out…
HB17-1063 Reduce Business Personal Property Taxes
House Sponsors: T. Leonard (R)
Senate Sponsors: T. Neville (R), L. Crowder (R)
Status: In Committee
Description: Under current law, if a business has less than $7,300 of personal property that would be listed on a single personal property schedule, then the personal property is exempt from the property tax and the business is not required to submit a schedule to the county assessor. With respect to this exemption, the bill reduces the amount of personal property tax that businesses pay by:
•  Increasing the exemption that applies per schedule from $7,300 to $50,000, adjusted for inflation in the future, which increase will allow more businesses to avoid filing personal property tax schedules; and
•  Allowing businesses whose personal property value exceeds the total exemption amount to claim the exemption.
For public utilities that are assessed statewide, the property tax administrator currently considers all of a public utility’s tangible property within the state as a factor in determining the value of the public utility as a unit. The bill modifies the valuation process by:
•  Exempting the first $50,000 or an inflation-adjusted amount of personal property from the property tax and excluding it from the administrator’s consideration for valuation purposes; and
•  Excluding the exempt personal property from the public utility’s statement of property that it files with the administrator.
From Representative Jim Wilson: Our Republican Caucus has not met to determine a Caucus position on this bill.  My opinion – because of giving tax breaks, it may face opposition in the House.  I will support the bill because it is good for small businesses.  This will a fun one to watch.  Both sides of the aisle claim to support small business — we shall see…
Our state representatives contact information:
House District 60 Rep. Jim Wilson: james.wilson.house@state.co.us, capital phone: 303-866-2747
House District 47 Rep. Clarice Navarro: clarice.navarro.house@state.co.us, capital phone: 303-866-2905
Senate District 35 Senator Larry Crowder: larry.crowder.senate@state.co.us, capital phone: 303-866-4875
Senate District 2 Senator Kevin Grantham: kevin.grantham.senate@state.co.us, capital phone: 303-866-4877

The 2017 Colorado General Assembly: Important Bills YOU Should Know About; Part 2 of 2

The 2017 Colorado General Assembly:
Important Bills YOU Should Know About; Part 2 of 2

by George Gramlich
This article features information about important bills from the 2017 Colorado Assembly, Representative Jim Wilson’s take on these and if appropriate, the Republican Caucus’s view on a bill, and occasionally, the Sentinel’s view.
We encourage our readers to ENGAGE our representatives with regards to your opinion on these bills BEFORE THEY ARE VOTED ON.  Make your voices heard. Contact information for our local representatives is at the end of the article.
The Sentinel will be tracking these bills during the legislative session and will keep you updated on their status. We will also include new bills when they are introduced and track them also.
You can view additional information on each bill, including the whole bill, its status and all the sponsors at: leg.colorado.gov and click on the “Find a Bill” icon.
Colorado House Bills:
HB17-1013 Free Exercise of Religion
House Sponsors: S. Humphrey (R), D. Williams (R)
Senate Sponsors: T. Neville (R), V. Marble (R)
Status: In Committee
Description: Specifies that no state action may burden a person’s exercise of religion, even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, unless it is demonstrated that applying the burden to a person’s exercise of religion is essential to further a compelling governmental interest and the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest;
•    Defines ‘exercise of religion’ as the practice or observance of religion. The bill specifies that exercise of religion includes the ability to act or refuse to act in a manner substantially motivated by a person’s sincerely held religious beliefs, whether or not the exercise is compulsory or central to a larger system of religious belief; except that it does not include the ability to act or refuse to act based on race or ethnicity.
•     Provides a claim or defense to a person whose exercise of religion is burdened by state action; and
• Specifies that nothing in the bill creates any rights by an employee against an employer unless the employer is a government employer.
From Representative Jim Wilson: Our Republican Caucus has not met to determine a Caucus position on this bill.  My opinion – this is a “statement bill” (a bill that makes a statement with no chance of passing the Democrat-dominated House).  I agree with the bill and I believe I have signed on as a co-sponsor.  I predict the bill will be assigned to the House State Affairs Committee (the House “Kill Committee”).
HB17-1036 Concealed Carry in Public Schools
House Sponsors: P. Neville (R), K. Ransom (R)
Senate Sponsors: T. Neville (R)
Status: In Committee
Description: With certain exceptions, current law limits the authority of a person who holds a valid permit to carry a concealed handgun by prohibiting permit holders from carrying a concealed handgun on public elementary, middle, junior high, or high school grounds. The bill removes the limitation.
From Representative Jim Wilson: Our Republican Caucus has not met to determine a Caucus position on this bill.  My opinion – this is another “statement bill” (a bill that makes a statement with no chance of passing the Democrat-dominated House).  I will support the bill, but will not have the chance to hear it because I am sure the bill will be assigned to the House State Affairs Committee (the House “Kill Committee”).
HB17-1042 Increasing Funding For Full-day Kindergarten
House Sponsor: J. Wilson (R)
Status: In Committee
Description: Under existing law, the Public School Finance Act of 1994 funds kindergarten students as half-day pupils plus the supplemental kindergarten enrollment, which is an additional .08 of a full-day pupil.
The bill increases the supplemental kindergarten enrollment for the 2017-18 budget year and each budget year thereafter to .16 of a full-day pupil.
From Representative Jim Wilson: Our Republican Caucus has not met to determine a Caucus position on this bill.  My opinion – because it is my bill, Great Bill!  No, seriously – this bill addresses the fact that fully funding Kindergarten has been in statute since the recession. The legislature added .08 the first year and has ignored the obligation from that point.  I believe we should fund our current obligations before adding expenditures for new programs each year.  This bill only increases funding by another .08, but it is a step in the right direction.  Funding this obligation would assist school districts (especially rural ones).  It will be fun to see how this one plays out…
HB17-1063 Reduce Business Personal Property Taxes
House Sponsors: T. Leonard (R)
Senate Sponsors: T. Neville (R), L. Crowder (R)
Status: In Committee
Description: Under current law, if a business has less than $7,300 of personal property that would be listed on a single personal property schedule, then the personal property is exempt from the property tax and the business is not required to submit a schedule to the county assessor. With respect to this exemption, the bill reduces the amount of personal property tax that businesses pay by:
•  Increasing the exemption that applies per schedule from $7,300 to $50,000, adjusted for inflation in the future, which increase will allow more businesses to avoid filing personal property tax schedules; and
•  Allowing businesses whose personal property value exceeds the total exemption amount to claim the exemption.
For public utilities that are assessed statewide, the property tax administrator currently considers all of a public utility’s tangible property within the state as a factor in determining the value of the public utility as a unit. The bill modifies the valuation process by:
•  Exempting the first $50,000 or an inflation-adjusted amount of personal property from the property tax and excluding it from the administrator’s consideration for valuation purposes; and
•  Excluding the exempt personal property from the public utility’s statement of property that it files with the administrator.
From Representative Jim Wilson: Our Republican Caucus has not met to determine a Caucus position on this bill.  My opinion – because of giving tax breaks, it may face opposition in the House.  I will support the bill because it is good for small businesses.  This will a fun one to watch.  Both sides of the aisle claim to support small business — we shall see…
Our state representatives contact information:
House District 60 Rep. Jim Wilson: james.wilson.house@state.co.us, capital phone: 303-866-2747
House District 47 Rep. Clarice Navarro: clarice.navarro.house@state.co.us, capital phone: 303-866-2905
Senate District 35 Senator Larry Crowder: larry.crowder.senate@state.co.us, capital phone: 303-866-4875
Senate District 2 Senator Kevin Grantham: kevin.grantham.senate@state.co.us, capital phone: 303-866-4877