Category Archives: BOCC Meetings

July 5th BOCC Meeting

More Bulls Bullying, Landfill Made More $’s,
Public Health/Clinic Relationship Ended?

Board of County
Commissioners (BOCC)

-July 5, 2017

WESTCLIFFE, Colorado

by Jackie Bubis,
Reporter

The meeting started at 9 a.m. with the Pledge of Allegiance and Roll Call.  Introductions of the public in attendance followed.

The public comment time was extensive with citizens living in the vicinity of CR 390 and 391 coming to discuss their feelings about the cattle guards requested by Dr. Hamilton on CR 390.   The discussion was passionate, especially with Dr. Hamilton being unresponsive to calls that two of his mean bulls are running the neighborhood.  Apparently even before the BOCC meeting in Wetmore was finished, fences were being taken down on Hamilton’s property.  Calls to the Sheriff, to Chairman Kattnig and to the brand inspector only resulted in frustration as these bulls ran amok.

There were neighbors of Hamilton’s that stressed repeatedly that Hamilton is not a good neighbor, does not properly keep up his fences and has bought up properties when owners became exasperated with his bullying behavior.

There was discussion with Sheriff Byerly who adamantly stood with the folks being troubled by these bulls and the fact that Hamilton is simply blowing them off.  It was also revealed that these bulls are not tagged and are possibly spreading bovine trichomoniasis to neighboring cattle.  These citizen’s frustration at getting no support was evident.

The Board approved the minutes from the June 21st and June 30th meetings.

Commissioner Items

Commissioner Printz reported that he attended an Upper Arkansas Council of Governments meeting and that it went well.

Attorney Items

Attorney Clint Smith went to a meeting last Friday regarding a security issue for the county that he will report on in Executive Session.

The Board passed Resolution 17-12 honoring Under Sheriff Chris Barr, Sgt Mike Halpin, and Deputy Brandon Schoch for heroic service during the early hours of the Junkins fire.

The Board went into Executive Session for legal advice regarding the cattle guards requested by Dr. Hamilton and for Mr. Smith to update them on the security issues.  (The Executive Session lasted just over an hour.)

After returning to Public Session, Mr. Printz began by stating his opinion was that this was a long-standing issue of neighbors not getting along and wondered what place the county had in the matter.  He reiterated his disgust for the $150K the county spent on litigation, stated that his job was to protect the county, and rebuked, “If you guys can’t get along, I’m sorry.  Make a change.”

Commissioner Hood asked for clarification from the Wetmore citizens if Hamilton had even been called about the bulls.  Mike Halpin answered that he had and that two of Hamilton’s men had shown up, tried to round up the bulls on foot, were unsuccessful, and left.  She also stated that the Board had contacted the state veterinarian while in Executive Session and were told that Hamilton needed to catch and corral the bulls, and have them tested right away.  Gary Zeigler said he would send a crew to Wetmore to capture the bulls.

The two options that Mr. Smith iterated for the Board were: 1) To do nothing, simply reject the request from Hamilton or 2) To allow the cattle guards to be put in with the condition that the fencing be put back up that was taken down recently.

Halpin stated that either of those two options would be acceptable to him.  It was left up in the air, with Hamilton’s manager instructed to see if Hamilton will agree to either of those options.  The item may be addressed at the mid-month BOCC meeting.

Old Business

Mrs. Hood reported on the SIPA grant coming in for $3K for video streaming equipment.

Staff Reports

Rusty Christensen gave the Landfill/Recycling Report.  For the first half of the year, the income at the landfill is up $12K from this time last year.  Expenses are about the same.  The Board discussed the information that our county landfill fees are slightly lower than most counties our size.  Rusty recommended that we wait until January if we plan on raising fees.  Commissioner Kattnig agreed saying he felt that increased fees will result in an increase in illegal dumping.  While Commissioner Hood was okay with “wait and see” she stressed that money needs to be put away for long term planning.

Cindy Howard gave the OEM Report and handed out fliers for the Public Safety Days, scheduled for August 5th, and Community Slash Collection Event, scheduled for August 6th.  Mr. Kattnig mentioned that he thought the county would need to hire at least a part-time assistant for Howard at some point.  She added that the IT Department would soon require help as well.   Mr. Kattnig also suggested that the county might have to put fire mitigation requirements into the zoning resolution.

Public Health Nurse, Elisa Magnuson, gave her report.  AED’s have been ordered for the Wetmore Community Center.  The Public Health Department/Nurse is investigating options for their medical advisor.  The relationship between the Clinic and Public Health with regard to medical control has been ended.  Magnuson expressed frustration with clinic leadership on this issue.  (Note: this is not the first time that the clinic has refused to work with other entities in the community.)

The HR/Finance director Dawna Hobby got signatures she needed and had no updated report for this meeting.

The Veteran Service Office report was given by Tim Schwartz.  He reported 68 visits in June despite being gone for a week for the national conference.  He reported on several programs he learned about at conference.  The Board approved his report.

The meeting adjourned at 1 p.m.

July 6th BOCC Meeting

Wetmore:”Running of the Bulls”,
Shipping Container Complaint

Board of County
Commissioners (BOCC)

-July 6, 2017

WESTCLIFFE, Colorado

by Jackie Bubis,
Reporter

The meeting started at 9 a.m. with the Pledge of Allegiance and Roll Call.  Introductions of the public in attendance followed.

During public comments, one citizen asked about the statutes cited by the recall committee.  Attorney Smith stated that he was attorney for the Board and would not answer the question.  He also asked if the Board would consider putting the county in the air ambulance program formerly Eagle Med (Now React.)  The Board said they will consider it as a public item.

Commissioner Items

Commissioner Hood reported that Jeffrey Wood and the architecture students would be there later in the afternoon to finish their courthouse assessment.  She also requested that the Board have another evening meeting.  The meeting was set for Tuesday, July 25th at 7 p.m. in the Courtroom. [Now canceled]

Commissioner Kattnig reported a conversation with the brand inspector regarding Mr. Hamilton’s bulls (see article for July 5th meeting). The inspector said that his office will only check a brand if the stray is corralled and if the owner is unknown.

Attorney Items

Attorney Clint Smith spoke in code to the Board regarding a man who got a letter.  Mr. Smith met with the man and told him that he didn’t need to respond and that the man was pleased.

Old/New Business

Storage containers in the county – A citizen, calling himself a reclusive resident of the county and stating that he’d been a developer for many years in another state asked the Board to outlaw the large tractor-trailer type shipping containers in the county.  He called them atrocious eyesores. The Board responded by sending it to the Planning Commission for consideration.

Regarding the “Light Pollution”/Dark Skies changes to the Zoning Resolution:  Commissioner Printz stated that the Sentinel’s headline “Change a lightbulb, go to jail” was not a true statement. (Editor/GG: Another falsehood from Mr. Printz. I read the proposed ordinance and there are MULTIPLE ways to violate the ordinance by merely changing a lightbulb/LED in an outdoor fixture, which, if convicted, you will go to jail. See the information in the orginal story we wrote HERE.) Mr. Kattnig stated that the board members had no “stand” at this time.  The item was sent to the Planning Commission for their consideration.

Dallas Anderson gave the Airport Advisory Board report.  There was discussion about the newly installed fuel dispenser still not working.  Mr. Printz suggested that while he “hates to threaten people” he would call the owner of the company that did the work.  The Fly-in is still on the calendar for September 23rd.  The Board discussed the damage done to the hangar (several years ago).  Mr. Printz urged Anderson to nudge the person who did the damage to get the owner paid for the damage.  Mr. Kattnig mentioned that the former Board had decided to pay for the repairs last year.  Mr. Printz will contact the owner about getting the work done.

Gary Hyde and Roger Squire gave the Road & Bridge Report.  They discussed a complaint that Mrs. Hood got about Copper Gulch and Mr. Printz told the men that he’d gotten a message from a gentleman saying he’s never seen the road so good.   Mr. Kattnig told Hyde that the county will not be paying for weed control on private land this year.

Laura Lockhart gave the Human Services Report.

The meeting adjourned at 10:38 a.m.

BOCC on Proposed Building Code May 17, 2017

If There’s a Compelling Reason…You Can
Restrict or Take Away Someone’s Personal Rights”

Board of County
Commissioners (BOCC)

-May 17, 2017

WESTCLIFFE, Colo.

by Jackie Bubis

The meeting was held in the Wetmore Community Center despite the ongoing work.  The meeting started at 9 a.m. with the Pledge of Allegiance and Roll Call. Introductions of the public in attendance followed.

Public comments: One citizen brought a report to the Commissioners of the perceptions out in the public.  While he personally had nothing against them, he did say that the community was in turmoil about the Board insisting that CSU fire Robin Young.  He also stated that there was a firestorm in the blue collar and construction arena about the decision to require insurance for the perc-test techs and suggested that the Board, especially Commissioner Kattnig, would suffer the repercussions at the ballot box.   Commissioner Printz told him that the insurance requirement would be addressed later in the meeting.  All three Commissioners continued their “we didn’t fire her” story and again stated that they didn’t insist on her removal.  Mr. Kattnig also, again stated that they had already talked to Young’s supervisors (a “fact” still in question) before driving to Ft. Collins.

Another citizen commented on the incredible nature of the Board’s claims that they could drive to the CCI conference together and not talk county business.  She told them there was another option aside from driving together or charging the county for mileage for all three of them:  she suggested that they could all drive up separately and pay for their own gas.  Mr. Kattnig jumped to the Board’s defense saying that the attorney had told them it was entirely legal for them to drive up together and that other county commissioners do it all the time.

Commissioner items:Commissioner Hood thanked the American Legion Post 170 for the Memorial Day program.On the topic of the Extension Office, she announced that both Beverly Goertz and Sara Shields had attended 4-H training and had accepted the interim positions.  The 4-H suspension has been lifted.  She will be posting the job opening for the permanent position of CSU 4-H Youth Development Coordinator next week.  The hiring committee will be made up of Commissioner Hood, Sara Shields, Beverly Goertz and HR Officer Dawna Hobby.  The Board stated that Shields is interested in the Extension Agent position.  Mr. Kattnig stated for the record that Shields would have to compete for the job just like anyone else, that she would not be given special consideration because she lives here.  Kattnig talked at great length about the Extension Agent hiring process that CSU will do.

Mrs. Hood went on to say that Darin Redmond would be doing the outside landscaping and working the weigh station and doing miscellaneous maintenance in the county buildings.  (This “hiring” was not advertised and it is unclear how it was done.)  Hood has interviewed three cleaning services for the inside of the building.  None has been selected yet.  She stressed that there has not been a thorough cleaning in the courthouse for six years.Regarding the high-speed internet for the County Building and Sheriff’s Office, Chuck Ippolito is still contacting the three entities (Hillside, CenturyLink, and SECOM).  A list of ten questions has been put together and whether the companies can attend a meeting in person or not, they will be required to answer the questions.

The Tourism board met yesterday to review RFP’s for the website.  Hood asked Attorney Smith if the tourism board could sell advertising on their website to raise revenue.  (Revenue for the Tourism board is limited at this time to the bed tax monies.)  Smith advised that the Tourism board could do that.Sheriff Byerly suggested that someone from the fair board or extension advisory board be included on the hiring committee for the 4-H coordinator.  He also expressed hopes that the evaluation process for the county be similar to the one he is using.

Mr. Printz has been on vacation.  He reported a slight issue with the installation of the fuel pump at the airport that has since been fixed.  He reported meetings with Jackie Hobby of the Planning and Zoning office and reported that there were some personnel issues that would require an executive session.

Silver Cliff Mayor Steve Lasswell has found possible funding for a community center in Westcliffe/Silver Cliff and Printz suggested that the he meet with both towns to further investigate the possibility.Mr. Kattnig apologized for missing the last meeting due to his wife’s surgery.  He reported on the Mountain Connect seminar.  He also met with CDOT and discussed several local traffic issues with them.  CDOT expressed a general unwillingness to take action on these issues so Kattnig will speak with Wilson and Crowder, our state representatives.Under Attorney items, the cattle guard request by Dr. Hamilton is ongoing.  He also met with Jackie Hobby, Vic Barnes and Jim Bradburn to put together a tentative Dark Skies plan to present to the public at a meeting tentatively set for June 22nd at the bowling alley.The board went into executive session so that Smith could give them information regarding security issues.The board resumed the public meeting and approved the vouchers for the month.After meetings he held privately, Mr. Printz brought a proposal to the Board to have Planning Commission explore putting in place a county building code like the towns of Westcliffe and Silver Cliff have.  He stated that every builder he talked to was in favor of a building code and that ever realtor he talked to said a building code would lead to higher resale values.  He presented a list of pros and cons that came from these private meetings.  He admitted that it meant more government interference and talked about the constitution insuring that people could “own land free and clear and do what they want.”  (It is unclear what provision in the constitution he referred to.)   He went on to say that you have to balance public safety over personal freedom.  “If there’s a compelling reason, not just a good reason, why we should do one versus the other, you can restrict or take away someone’s personal rights.”  Mrs. Hood expressed that she was in favor of a building code.  Mr. Kattnig was not completely on board but the Board approved the proposal going forward to the Planning Commission.The Board renewed the school nurse agreement.Mr. Printz addressed the issue of requiring insurance for the perk techs decided on in a previous meeting.  After Attorney Smith spoke with County Surveyor Kit Shy, the suggestion was made to rescind that requirement (which the Board did) and to have Smith write a resolution requiring all future septic systems be engineer designed.  That resolution will be on the agenda for the meeting on June 8th.  That requirement will add $800 to $1000 to the cost of a septic system in the county.Sheriff Byerly reported that one of the inmates at the jail had to be flown out on Flight for Life when the ambulance was on a call and no second crew could be raised.  Since the inmate is housed for Alamosa County, the costs will likely be paid by them.  But he raised the concern, both as Sheriff and as a citizen that the county passed a mill levy for the ambulance and where was the money going.  There is a continuing and frequent problem with getting an ambulance when the first ambulance is out on a call.Sheriff Byerly also discussed that there is no health service or mental health service at the jail and there is a need to explore options in the upcoming budget.

The board went into executive session again to deal with a personnel issue at the Sheriff’s Office.The executive session was followed by the quarterly staff meeting.The meeting was adjourned.

(Editor/GG: Regulation, by the libs and the RINO’s is one of main reasons the economy has tanked. We seem to have gotten by fine here for centuries without a draconian building code that will dramatically drive up cost not only for houses, but for additions, garages, barns, etc. Commissioner Printz, you can cherry pick people to find those that want it (like asking building contractors and real estate agents, I mean really, duh) but THE PEOPLE want less regulation, not more. This will dramatically hurt the poorer people in the county and especially the middle class. It will make it much harder for middle income people to move here (which might be one the reasons why this is being proposed). Plus, the current IBC code is a NIGHTMARE. It will virtually eliminate any regular person from building his own dream cabin or even a garage. And based on nightmares we have heard in Huerfano and Fremont Counties, the building inspector can be difficult to “work” with. In the extreme. I thought we elected “Republicans”? What we apparently have here is very well-off Commissioners who would not feel the impact of the cost of a building code, and that want to DICTATE how we run our lives. RINO’s come to mind but it might be a lot worse. Most of us don’t have the wealth that these Commissioners have. A couple of thousand bucks added to a simple garage project because of an onerous building code will KILL the project. $20k or $30k more added on to a new home would kill the dream for many middle-class people. But maybe not for our Commissioners.It seems all three Commissioners are out-of-touch with THE PEOPLE. Very similar to the RINO establishment and coastal lib elites at the national level. Commissioners Printz and Hood both are wealthy newcomers to the valley and seem hell bent on bringing coastal lib control, regulation and rule, to a place, in middle America, that DOESN’T WANT IT. “Control Freaks” comes to mind. And Commissioner Kattnig: I am surprised if you support this. You grew up here and understand individual liberty and freedom. Hopefully your long sojourn away hasn’t destroyed what you saw here in the old days: rugged, free, individualism and LIMITED government. And Commissioner Printz: Fully understand what “compelling” means before you apply that faulty test to our INDIVIDUAL, GOD GIVEN, LIBERTY to enjoy our lives free of government tyranny. The “Compelling” test is what liberals have used for the last 60 years to destroy our Constitutionally granted freedoms. You using this word is very troublesome as it is exactly the rationale that socialists have used since Lenin to enslave the people and rule over them like peasants. Yes, as Zman so fondly writes about, the Cloud People love to rule the Dirt People. And enjoy making the Dirt People’s lives more miserable because they know better, and “care”. How nice. How Alinsky.Most of us non-natives have moved to the Valley because we like the way it is. You folks want to turn this into Boulder. Next step it will be mandatory lawn maintenance and no plastic shopping bags. We know how this goes. This is a conservative county, Commissioners. We don’t want to be Boulder. Leave us alone! Any true “Republican” would be repelled by what you folks are proposing. Don’t bring liberal, control insanity here. Leave it back where you came from. Or better yet, move to Boulder to be with your homies. Live Free or Die, my brothers and sisters. We’ve lost our Freedom inch by inch over the last hundred years. We don’t need our own Commissioners adding another inch. The British Are Coming! The British Are Coming! Might now be, The Commissioners Are Coming! The Commissioners Are Coming! Time for Tea Party, Dirt People.)

T

BOCC: Public Input on Dark Skies Regulation

Board of County
Commissioners (BOCC)

-June 22, 2017
WESTCLIFFE, Colorado

by Jackie Bubis, Reporter

The meeting started at 6 p.m. with the Pledge of Allegiance and Roll Call.Commissioner Jay Printz began the meeting by stating that, unequivocally, Dark Skies ordinances have been beneficial to both towns.  The BOCC sees this as economic development without impact.  The Board provided a draft resolution amending the County Zoning Resolution of 2016, written by County Attorney Clint Smith who is also vice-president of Dark Skies.The meeting was opened to comments from the forty or so people in the audience.Jim Bradburn, president of Dark Skies, resident of Cotopaxi, Fremont County, spoke first as a “citizen of this valley” that the night-scape is our second greatest asset (after the mountain views) and suggested that the dark skies will only stay that way if we take action to put hoods on our lights.  He stated that Dark Skies (would pay for anyone who wants to change out their light fixtures.)Several other Cotopaxi citizens spoke on behalf of our night skies.  One Cotopaxi resident said that most people will hood their lights voluntarily.Other citizens of the two towns and a few residents of the county also spoke in favor of the beauty of the night skies.A number of people suggested that having a county-wide Dark Skies ordinance would encourage outsiders to come, spend their money, and leave.Several citizens spoke up with concerns about the proposed resolution.One rancher pointed out that his single yard light illuminates his livestock, his corrals and has saved his life in blizzard conditions.  He urged that, at the very least, the 80-acre zone be exempted from the resolution.Another citizen pointed out that the Board had a responsibility to the citizens of Custer County, not other counties, and not just to the citizens of the valley.  Mr. Kattnig pointed out that this resolution would only apply to the land between the crest of the Sangres and the crest of the Wet Mountains.  Mr. Smith corrected him by stating that, if passed, this resolution/ordinance would apply to the entire county.Former commissioner Shy asked several technical concerns.  How would the county know that a light had been changed – would there be a permit required?  Since this proposal will be in the compliance section, there will be charges possible against anyone who is not Dark Skies compliant.  He stressed that, while it was gracious of Dark Skies to pay for fixtures, that would have to be stated in the ordinance and he did not think that could be done.There was no one in attendance that didn’t want our rural county to remain dark.  The questions lay in whether an ordinance was required to insure that.  Many wondered at the growing movement by the BOCC to create laws because something bad may happen someday.Mr. Smith, county attorney and vice-president of Dark Skies (wearing his county attorney hat for this meeting) again stressed the process that would have to be followed for this to become law.  The BOCC would vote for it to go forward (in an early July BOCC meeting – watch the agenda) and send it to the Planning Commission (PC).  The PC would have public meetings and study the matter before making recommendations back to the BOCC.  The BOCC would then have to have public meetings before making the decision.Mr. Kattnig repeated that this proposal was only a draft and that the Board hasn’t made up their mind yet.Note:  This topic is on the agenda for the July 6th BOCC meeting.

BOCC Meeting June 21, 2017

June 21st BOCC Meeting

-June 21, 2017
WETMORE, Colorado
by Jackie Bubis, Reporter

The meeting started at 9:00 a.m. with the Pledge of Allegiance and Roll Call. Introductions of the public in attendance followed.
The Commissioners thanked Alden Grey and Nan and Courtney Davenport for all their hard work on the Wetmore Community Center.
Commissioner Items:
Commissioner Hood reported that the tourism board has selected a vendor to remodel their website. She met with Jeffery Wood and three CSU architect students with regards to the DOLA grant. She took part in the Public Health Department’s mock outbreak exercise. She has appointed a communication committee made up of Cindy Howard, Shannon Byerly, Dawna Hobby, herself, and Chuck Ippolito. They will be looking at the county phone system which she calls a “dinosaur”, will be getting rid of some phone lines and, in the end, hopefully saving some money. She also attended a tourism board/economic development/Dark Skies meeting and learned of various grants available for agri-tourism.
Commissioner Printz met with the Early Childhood Development Counsel. He also is working with the Planning and Zoning Office, the Sheriff and Under Sheriff on what he calls “unsafe” conditions in a home in the county. He reported on the fuel dispenser at the airport, which is in but continues to have some electrical issues.
Commissioner Kattnig stated that he attended the Democrat Party Dinner as Chairman of the BOCC, not as a Democrat or Republican, to give an update. He met with Senator Cory Gardner regarding the Junkins fire who seemed very supportive to get the county funds for monitoring equipment for runoff. He commended Kevin Day and Larry Haines for their extra work during recent runoff issues. He also stated that he is hearing very divisive rhetoric from both Democrats and Republicans and hopes we can all put aside our differences. Mr. Kattnig also reported on a DOT regional planning meeting he attended saying that no one there knows what anyone else is doing.
Attorney Items
County Attorney Smith reported on the upcoming public meeting to discuss a light pollution resolution/ordinance (Dark Skies) schedule for June 22nd. He outlined the process that a resolution/ordinance would have to take before becoming law. The BOCC would refer it to the Planning Commission who would have public hearings. They would make a recommendation back to the BOCC who would have further public meetings before voting on the matter.
New/Old Business
The building code proposal by Mr. Printz will be discussed in a “Planning Committee” meeting on June 26th at 7 p.m. in the courtroom. He states that he is an advocate of a building code but that it will be a community decision.
Mrs. Hood said she spoke with the people with the Underfunded Courthouse grant, asking if the Board could use the $145K planning money for a justice center instead of upgrading the courthouse. He is taking the question to his board and will report back to her.
The Board approved a pre-grant application for the Court Security Grant that will continue to fund the full-time court security position (Mike Halpin’s position). Mrs. Hood wants clarification on what the grant covers in terms of that position and hours, etc.
An estimate was finally received for the courtroom door from JDH Construction for $3,470. It was approved and will be taken out of the capital improvements fund.
Next on the agenda was a meeting with Mike Halpin, his attorney, and Dr. Hamilton’s property manager (Marvin Boyd) to discuss the cattle guards on CR 390 requested by Dr. Hamilton. The major sticking point between the parties at this point is the fence that Hamilton will take down, leaving the road open to the cattle. Halpin has maintained a portion of CR 390 for over 20 years and remarked that the cattle on the road are very destructive. The Board agreed that it is a county road and that it is the County’s responsibility to maintain the entire road.
Mr. Halpin’s attorney pointed out the precedent that will be set by this decision of the Board if it allows Hamilton to put in the cattle guards and take down the fencing. The precedent would mean that wealthy ranchers with property on either side of a county road could put in cattle guards and take down the fences. (Note: This would be both a health and safety issue and a financial issue as it would increase the cost of maintenance to county roads.) The meeting went on for fifty minutes and will be addressed again in Executive Session in an early July meeting.
Chip Taylor, Director of Colorado Counties, Inc presented their annual report to the Board.
Mr. Kattnig stated how sorry he was that he was unable to attend the CCI Conference that the other two Board members attended due a to death in the family. (Note: The County spent $700 for each of the commissioners to attend this conference.)
Atencio Engineering was present for a discussion of the Hermit bridge project. The decision on designating a firm for that project was tabled until the June 30th meeting. Mr. Kattnig asked for references from the firm and the engineer stated that she had provided those with the bid.
The Custer County Economic Development Corporation – represented by Wilson Jarvis – requested a letter of support for a grant with Colorado Small Business Development (no matching funds) that would possibly provide a satellite office in the county. Currently, when the CSBD is working in the county, they are using the Chamber Office.
Cindy Howard updated the Board with OEM issues. She stated that on June 15th, the Junkins fire was declared “out” at 18,762 acres. She also stated the Hazard Mitigation Plan stakeholders listed consistent building codes as their number one issue. (Note: This plan’s stakeholders were mostly emergency services representatives and concerned with mitigating fire. The meetings were said to be poorly attended even by emergency services and even more poorly by citizens.)
Mrs. Hood suggested that SECOM be awarded the broadband contract with the county for the next year. This proposal was passed unanimously. Installation will start with the Sheriff’s Office where there is desperate need for higher bandwidth.
The meeting was adjourned at 12:30 p.m.

BOCC: A Summer of Discontent Is Coming

Board of County
Commissioners (BOCC)

-May 10, 2017

WESTCLIFFE, Colorado

by Jackie Bubis

The meeting started at 1 p.m. with the Pledge of Allegiance and Roll Call. Introductions of the public in attendance followed.
Commissioner Items:

Commissioner Printz had four items he wanted to cover.  The first was an update on the Wetmore Community Center (WCC).  There was a mistake with a stainless-steel table that is the wrong size and Mr. Printz was adamant that contractor Whitlock fix the error.

He then announced that he had told Brenda Gaide to go ahead and post the meeting for Wednesday, May 17th as being held at the new WCC since the plumbing issues were taken care of.  Commissioner Kattnig took exception with Commissioner Printz not consulting the board before making the change in venue.  An argument ensued between Mr. Kattnig and Mr. Printz leaving the audience wide-eyed.  Continue reading BOCC: A Summer of Discontent Is Coming

BOCC Extension Chaos: Attempts at Damage Control Uncertain

BOCC Extension Workshop

—May 2, 2017

by Jackie Bubis
On May 2nd, the Board of County Commissioners held a workshop to discuss the repercussions of Carlan Cardenas leaving the position of 4-H Coordinator.  This was in response to a letter received by the Board from Bill Nobles, Regional Director of CSU Extension.  Another letter was sent to 4-H leaders and families from Jean Glowacki, Director, 4-H Youth Development.  Both were letters saying that the 4-H program in Custer County is suspended for the moment.  The letters went on to identify steps that must be taken in order for 4-H to be reinstated in the county.
Commissioner Hood read Ms. Glowacki’s letter, stating that it was “very inconsiderate of Ms. Glowaki to not have a conversation with the BOCC before sending out this email to 4-H families.  Actually I think her actions were preposterous.”
Chairman Kattnig again stated that he has had numerous meetings with Mr. Nobles asking for help to “fix things” with no help coming from CSU.  He went on to say, “What they’ve done is kicked our youth in the mouth, and I’ll be da**ed if I’ll stand for it.”  “I’m not going to stand by and let CSU arbitrarily say, well, we’re not going to do this and you’re suspended and if we hire somebody, we gotta do this. For this to come out and us not be part of it is not acceptable.  We will be in touch with Dr. Frank.  If we can’t get resolution, we will be going up the line.  If it comes down to seeking legal action, I’m going to support that too.  This is a disservice to the professionalism of the leaders, the work of the youth and to the county officials.”
The Board told the crowd gathered that they had reached out to Beverly Goertz, who formerly assisted Robin Young with the 4-H program and to Sara Shields, local rancher and 4-H leader.  They assured the crowd that these two people would “help us get back to where we need to be.”
Kattnig also stated, “I’ll be da**ed if our kids will be discriminated against at state fair.” [recording]
When local Don Camper expressed his disappointment at Robin Young’s being fired because the Board didn’t see eye-to-eye with her, Commissioner Hood again claimed that “we didn’t fire her.”  (Editor/GG: Note that in a letter to the CSU President prior to Young being canned, ALL THREE Commissioners insisted that Young be removed from her job. The BOCC DID ask her boss to remove her. It is disingenuous, at best, for the Commissioners to say they “didn’t fire her”. How about a little honesty here, folks.) Camper went on to say that he was sorry that Cardenas wasn’t present to give her side of the story.  Hood vehemently denied Camper’s claim that the Board was blaming Cardenas in the matter.
The rest of the meeting was spent discussing job descriptions for Ms. Shields and Ms. Goertz , as independent contractors.  Shields position would likely be titled County Agent and Goertz would be the Office Manager.  Attorney Smith suggested that they take out language such as “extension” and use “extension-like” in its place, stating, “We’re doing these as independent contractor positions so we don’t have to advertise.”
Mr. Kattnig stated that the Board would be creating temporary positions that would keep the 4-H program going until CSU fills the Extension Agent position.
CSU would have to approve Ms. Goertz to continue the 4-H program.  “They don’t have a d**n thing to say about Sara [Shields],” Mr. Kattnig said. When asked what their plan is if CSU doesn’t approve Beverly Goertz to fill this 4-H position, Mr. Kattnig said he would get hold of every politician he knows and call in every newspaper and TV station he can find.  “I probably have more experience than most of the county agents in the state.  I probably have more experience than the district director has.  I know what can be done.  I know what needs to be done.  And if it isn’t done at the state level, we’ll go to the federal level.” [recording]
A follow-up meeting of the BOCC was held on May 4th.
It began with Commissioner Hood stating that a recording had been made of the Tuesday workshop by John Johnston and having it out there [the recording]on social media made it look like it was a recorded BOCC meeting.  “I would like our minutes to show that that was incorrect and that there are falsehoods out there, with accusations being made, so I just want that on the record.” The workshop was not recorded [officially] and she was upset that it was apparently being portrayed to the public that [the recording] was [officially] recorded.
Mr. Kattnig’s opening statement: “I liken social media to the old party line, used to be if the phone rang,
everybody would go grab it so they could hear what everybody else was doing.” He cautioned that “just because it’s on media doesn’t mean it’s true.”
Attorney Clint Smith reported that he stopped in to see Bill Nobles and had a pleasant conversation.  When he filled in Nobles on the plans with Goertz and Shields, Nobles was happy to hear it.  The decision on whether Goertz would have to take further training at CSU was not up to Nobles, but up to Glowacki.  Nobles did assure Smith that the kids here could participate in the weigh-in in either Pueblo or Fremont counties.
Mrs. Hood said that there was a lot of confusion and that what was talked about in the workshop was just a plan.  She also wants to meet with Attorney Smith to work out the contracts for both of them.
The board was very excited and gave the impression that the 4-H issue has now been fixed.
When a 4-H leader asked if 4-H meetings could go on,  the consensus was that, for insurance purposes, they could meet in the courthouse building.  But there needed to be clarification from Director Glowacki that these meetings could go on.

BOCC: Bills, Business and more… Cattleguard Talk and CSU Extension Office Q’s

Board of County
Commissioners (BOCC)
—March 31, 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 Board approved minutes from March 21st.
Chairman Kattnig announced that the Extension Office item on the agenda was an update on the extension office, that two hours had already been given to public comment on the matter and that the Board needed to move on.
The Commissioner Items will be discussed at the continuation of this meeting tonight at 7 p.m.
Attorney Clint Smith said he would not be present at the evening meeting.
The Board reviewed and approved the vouchers.
Per the request of Treasurer Virginia Trujillo, on advice of the CPA, two small accounts that had not been used in recent years were deleted by transferring funds from each into the general fund.  On unanimous approval of the Board, the PILT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) funds will go 100 percent  to the school.
Kathy Reis, from the town of Westcliffe, asked for landfill fees to be waived for the two towns only for the Westcliffe and Silver Cliff clean-up days, scheduled for June 3rd.  Board approved her request.
Doris Morgan, Interim President of Action 22 and Chairman of Action 22 Board Ivor Hill met with the Board to update them on Action 22 items.  There is a vacancy on the group representing Custer County.  The Board wanted to appoint one of the commissioners to fill that vacancy.  However, Action 22’s rules state that vacancies can only be filled via caucus.  At the urging of the Board, Ms. Morgan will check the rules to make sure.   She urged the Board to support HB 17-1242 regarding sales tax money coming into rural communities to fix roads.  There was a discussion on how gas tax money gets into the county and Kit Shy, who was in the audience filled the group in on procedures to get projects funded.
Sheriff Byerly met with the Board to get the fire ban lifted.  He also discussed amortization schedules for new vehicles.  The old radios he’d intended to put in the new vehicles were una-ble to be fixed so new radios needed to be purchased.
Jane McCarty met with the Board to discuss closing out her grandfather’s estate by donating some properties out in the Lake  DeWeese to the county.  Kit Shy spoke about the “elephant in the room” regarding the lots out in Lake DeWeese being too small for both well and septic and that it was only a matter of time until a centralized system would be necessary there.  Mr. Kattnig spoke of going to school with Ms. McCarty’s grandfather  and wondered if maybe one of the pieces that will still be in the family might be used for a “Bill McCarthy” park.  The roads that are being deeded to the county will not change status – if they are maintained now, they will continue to be – if they are not maintained now, nothing changes.   Mr. Smith will prepare the deeds for final discussion in next week’s meeting.
Gary Hyde, from Road and Bridge got approval to purchase a used water truck.  The funds are already in his budget.  He will bring the numbers for extended warranty to the Board for their approval next week.
Butch Gemin from the Early Childhood Council reported back to the Board that the school district will act as both the convening and fiscal entities for the Council.  All he needed from the Board was a signature indicating support of the project by the Board.  Their support was pending the paperwork being presented by Gemin.
The Board passed a resolution supporting Round Mountain’s buffer zone around the Gallery Well.
The Hermit Bridge grant resolution to move ahead with the project was approved.
Mrs. Hood gave an update for the Extension Office.  After meeting with several officials from CSU, she reported that CSU will handle the initial search for Robin Young’s replacement.  There are currently nine searches ongoing and we are eighth in line.  She expected the process to start in July or August and not be completed until at least November or December.  The 4-H Foundation locally is reorganizing and will have a new constitution and bylaws.  They will have their own tax exempt status.  Carlin Cardenas will be the interim 4-H coordinator until there is a new Extension agent.  Mrs.  Hood commented that CSU was giving Miss Cardenas duties and responsibilities that the Board didn’t know anything about.  As a county employee, there needs to be a job description for that position.
Mr. Kattnig suggested the possibility of putting in place a county agent that would be employed by the county rather than CSU.  He stated that other counties have done this.  There was also some suggestion that Extension agents from the surrounding counties could assist us if need be.  A citizen asked about the status of the county garden and the potato project.  Mr. Kattnig assured her that “we will give you the support you need.”  Mrs. Hood referred her to Cardenas.  The Board approved additional hours for help in the 4-H office.
Next on the agenda was a discussion of cattle guards requested by Robert Hamilton.  Mr. Hamilton has agreed to pay to put in two cattle guards on County Road 390.  Mr. Printz wants to talk to Mr. Halpin about the cattle guards so as not to show accommodation to one party and not the other in the long-standing feud between the two.  Mr. Kattnig was vehement that the county has the right to put in cattle guards and said Mr. Printz’s point was not valid.  He stated that these cattle guards would be in the best interest of the public.  A heated discussion ensued.  When asked what the difference in maintenance costs were for a road with cattle guards vs one without cattle guards, Kattnig replied that the cost difference was minimal.  When a citizen suggested that the public perception would be that the Board was helping the rich guy who had been nothing but trouble for twenty years, Mr. Kattnig stated that the Board would “do what it wanted to” in the matter.
Mr. Printz held his ground and the Board finally conceded that he could talk to Mr. Halpin.  The matter was tabled until the meeting on the 4th of April.
Larry Haynes position as Assistant Road Boss for Wetmore was formalized.
Mike Carter – Building and Zoning official for the Town of Westcliffe – was appointed to the Affordable Housing Committee.
The meeting was recessed at 12:05.
The weather turned ugly and there was talk on Facebook of the meeting being canceled.  At the evening portion of the meeting which began at 7 p.m., each commissioner updated the audience on their committees and what they have been doing since January.  There was little new information for readers of the Sentinel or for those who have diligently listened to the recordings.
One point made by Mr. Printz was that  the  majority of  people in the Wetmore area don’t have flood insurance.  He stated that this is because Custer County doesn’t have a building code and indicated this is the reason FEMA won’t underwrite flood insurance in the county.
After over an hour of updates, the Commissioners opened the floor for discussion.
Prominent local democrat Brent Bruser broadly praised the Commissioners for their leadership and involvement, even outside of their scope of authority.
During the discussion of priorities, the commissioners all stated that they were playing catch up.  Mr. Printz said that there has been egregious neglect in our infrastructure.  The challenges will be finding the funding to do all that needs to be done.
Another citizen asked if there was any follow up information on the possibility of a new building on saddle club property.  Mrs. Hood said she was still waiting for the building assessment done by the CSU students.
Andrew Zeller, First Precinct leader for the GOP, queried the commissioners on behalf of the many in his precinct, regarding the dismissal of Robin Young.  He stated that Robin is a good neighbor, has an honorable reputation, had  no negative letters in her file, and  her senior leaders at CSU believe she’s an excellent agent.  He asked why she wasn’t counseled about ways to improve prior to being dismissed.
Mrs. Hood stated that there were issues having nothing to do with the $4K check – issues that had arisen prior to that.  She stated that “Tony Franks recognized that it was an unhealthy partnership.”  Mr. Kattnig stated that, “Five years ago we were having problems and I went to Bill Noble.  Two years ago we were having problems and I went to Bill Noble.”  Bill Nobles was unreachable for verification.
Mr. Zeller remarked that there was no record of Ms. Young being counseled and that, even now, she doesn’t know why she was removed.  He then asked pointedly, “Why was she removed?”
Mr. Kattnig gave the common answer that personnel issues cannot be discussed.  He went on to say that parents had complained about programs and discrimination.  “We went to the district director and nothing happened.  We had the information.”  He went on to list problems that had arisen at the fair the past few years and indicated that Ms. Young wanted to handle things internally and not involve law enforcement.  “This was not a witch hunt.”
Mr. Printz spoke up saying that the discussion had moved beyond the scope of what should be discussed publicly – from a legal standpoint.  He went on to say that the Board did not have to justify their actions.  “That’s not how this works.  You put us in a position of authority to make these decisions.”
Mr. Kattnig again stated that “Robin was not our employee.”
Mr. Zeller responded with one more question.   He stated that after the meeting with the CSU president and immediately following the workshop on Feb 16th, Mr. Kattnig spoke with Ms. Young and told her not to worry, that they’d work everything out.  After he left, Mr. Printz spoke with her and stated that he was not part of this “witch hunt.”  Then, five days later, the commissioners signed a letter demanding Ms. Young’s removal.
Mr. Printz adamantly denied saying that and stated that he resented it.  Mr. Kattnig followed suit and questioned Mr. Zeller as to whether he, personally, heard these
remarks.
Mr. Zeller said he had not and stated that he would have to take the commissioners word that they did not have those conversations with Ms. Young.
Mr. Printz replied, “I want to make sure that goes in whatever a paper you’re writing this to.”
Mr. Zeller responded that he had not written to the paper before this and wasn’t planning on doing so.
Mr. Printz asked why Ms. Young wasn’t the one asking the questions.
Mr. Zeller responded that she couldn’t come in here and that he was representing the citizens of Precinct 1.
Mrs. Hood reiterated that, on the day she took office, she told Ms. Young that she would be arranging a meeting with her supervisors.    She also stated that CSU didn’t call the commissioners to let them know that they had spoken with Ms. Young.  “One minute she was here and she was gone the next.  They did not communicate with us.”
Mr. Kattnig ended the discussion by suggesting that Mr. Zeller speak with CSU.  “Maybe they will allow you more access.”  (Audio

March 31 2017 BOCC Zeller Questions regarding Robin Young


The meeting ended without being adjourned.
(Reporter: As our readers will recall, the commissioners have consistently referenced ongoing emails and letters of complaint against Robin Young.  On behalf of the Sentinel, I did an open records request for those emails.  What I received was a group of emails between the members of the 4-H Foundation.  These are available on the Sentinel website in Archives for your perusal.  Since I did not see specific complaints within these emails, I again did an open records request for any complaints (email or hard copy) against Ms. Young for the last two years.  After querying former commissioners Attebery and Shy, and the three current commissioners, no further emails or letters were forthcoming. Here are the emails obtained through CORA:  Document 1 Documents 2 Documents 3 Documents 4 Documents 5 Documents 6 )