And Job Openings at the Commissioners Meeting
By Jaclyn Schrock
At 9:06 am on Tuesday, December 5, 2017 the meeting of Gilpin County Commissioners was called to order, but not in the old Courthouse in Central City. The renovation project for asbestos removal, installing wood flooring, some painting and carpet on the steps has a progression of office furnishings moved into the Commission’s council room of the old historic building. The next few sessions will be held at Central City Hall. Attending were Deputy Clerk Sharon Cate, County Attorney Jim Petrock, County Manager Leslie Klusmire, District #1 Commissioner Ron Engels, District #3 Commissioner Chair Gail Watson, and District #2 Commissioner Linda Isenhart.
Approval of the minutes from the Nov 7 and 14 Board meetings was also reset for another time.
Preliminary Review of 2018 Budget began with County Finance Director Clorinda Smith presenting a legal draft for Gilpin County’s 2018 Budget, although there continue to be changes completed. It is similar to the $13 million 2017 budget. Each commissioner had some specific questions she answered to give explanation or clarity. Commissioner Isenhart asked about an approximate amount of depression with people changing positions or retiring. Later in the meeting Smith was able to use her computer to calculate that change for the budget. The new county seal which includes a woman holding a shovel by the miner holding a pick was seen on the 2018 Budget packet. With no comments from the public that portion of the meeting was closed.
Resolution #17-23 Budget Supplements when passed resolve unforeseen revenue additions and expenditures in the 2017 budget. Total expenditures came to $239,935 to cover 14 items added to the expenses. Some of the more expensive items included: Courthouse Renovations, Community Service Officer Position and Operating supplies for the jail, Timberline Fire Protection District Use of Assigned Funds for equipment purchases, Capital Outlay for a vehicle in the Patrol budget, Tyler Software payment for Treasurer, and Energy/Mineral Impact Grant 2017 work. Total revenue additions were $32,693; two grants and a patrol vehicle’s better trade-in value added funds to the budget.
Approved by vote to amend the 2017 budget, included were the payments of the lease on the 6×6 truck; although the truck was actually payed for in 2016, it did not arrive until 2017. Also approved were the following; Property Tax Work Off Program Review, Code Enforcement Officer/ Office Manager Proposal, Animal Shelter Agreement, Health Services Agreement for the Jail, and Resolution #17-29, Approving 2017 Emergency Operations Plan, deciding to deny or approve tax abatements for 2015 and 2016 taxes on Grand Z Casino in Central City and Z Casino in Black Hawk.
The property tax work off program, unique to Gilpin County for residents who are disabled or 60+ was found to be used only by a few people and very cumbersome to manage financially. Since the state offers a reduction for residents over 65 who have lived in the same home for over 10 years, Gilpin wanted to continue offering support to these challenged individuals. Instead of having these people work off the small portion of their taxes that go to the county, a work program will still be available to them to work at county support positions as “temporary” employees who work a set amount of time rather than individually rated amounts of time proportional to their property tax bill. Recognizing these workers as “temporary” facilitates much less payroll/ treasurer time and gives them a paycheck to spend as they choose rather than simply reducing their tax payment. The program would allow 10 individuals to work a maximum of 10 hours. More explanations to come as the program is refined.
Code Enforcement Officer/ Office Manager Pay discussion recognized that when our Community Development Director took leave mid-June and turned that leave into retirement, the position became vacant. Normally, the responsibilities of Code Enforcement would have gone to the County Manager. That position had been vacant since the end of April, so an office manager took on the role of Code Enforcement Officer. The funds for the job were still in the budget unused by the vacated positions. The agreement was to make a one-time lump sum salary payment to this individual who covered the position until the hiring of Leslie Klusmire as County Manager.
Animal Shelter Agreement with Charlie’s Place, Clear Creek County, did pass with the understanding that a few details still need to be clarified. The facility in Clear Creek County provides animal shelter services for both Gilpin and Clear Creek County.
Health Services Agreement, Gilpin County Jail, was presented by Captain Tonia Kapke. The current health agreement has worked for those in jail, yet, to expand services the current provider would have charged more than the new provider will be charging. Southern Health Partner (SHP) of Chattanooga, Tennessee will begin serving Gilpin County Jail inmates January 16, 2018 with an LDN/LPN and an RN on regular staff. The only time traveling nurses would be there is during regular vacation times. The other agreement ends with 2017, so two motions were needed to approve a two week temporary health service and the permanent SHP agreement.
Resolution #17-29 Approving 2017 Emergency Operations Plan had been previously discussed so now simply passed.
Petition for Abatement/ Refund of Taxes was presented by Assessor Anne Schafer to the Commissioners. On June 7, 2017 the new owner of 321 Gregory Street, LLC (Grand Z formerly the Reserve Casino) submitted a Tax Abatement/Refund request to the Gilpin County Assessor’s office for 2016 and eight accounts included in the one property. The abatement was denied by the Assessor’s office because county attorneys James Petrock and Brad Benning determined that there is no demonstrated standing or clear authorization from the prior owner for 321 Gregory Street, LLC to file abatements for 2016. A purchase contract was presented to the Board at this time, but no change was made in the decision. The petitioner believes the assessed property value should be changed due to overvaluation. The petitioner believes that the Estate Purchase and Sales Agreement (EPSA) give them the right to abate taxes levied in 2016.
On May 7, 2017, 132 Lawrence Street, LLC submitted a Tax Abatement/ Refund request to the Gilpin County Assessor’s office for three properties: Z Casino in Black Hawk, Silverhawk, and the Silverhawk parking lot in Black Hawk. The assessor’s office did approve the abatement. However, since the refund would be over $10,000 it must be approved by the Board of County Commissioners, who did approve it understanding they would not need to ask other tax payers to provide the funds for the abatement.
Ordinance #17-02, Open Burning Permit System – this was the first reading with some discussion of the adjustments still required when updating language from the previous agreement. This permit is only available through the fire district which also monitors the state requirements for the burning of slash, which is normally approved in 24 hours once the area is inspected. Slash may still be burned in an open area with no overhanging branches or tree trunks nearby when there is more than four inches of snow on the ground. The county must have this permit system approved by January 2018. The first reading was approved by the Board and the second reading scheduled for January 9 at 10 am.
Parks & Recreation Department items were considered with Interim Director Alan Smith and the Office Manager. First was the Temporary Use Agreement for the Dirty 30 Race promoters to use the ball fields for camping and a concert. The event organizer wanted to wait another year to offer $25 camp sites to those in the event, pending a survey of the runners to assure that the cost to rent the grounds would not interfere with the funds the race raises to donate to the Gilpin County School Athletic department. No agreement was needed this year.
Second, a rearrangement of hours between some staff was made to facilitate more appropriate care of the exercise equipment that is affected by salt and grime on shoes. Hours for that care did not change any positions from part-time to full-time, but still needed and did receive Board approval.
Third, an update on the selection process for new software to be used in the Parks & Recreation department revealed four vendors have been selected as best suited with priority scheduling of their needs. Next it will be narrowed down to two vendors with the help of more staff participating in the demonstrations. No decision has been made yet, so no Board action occurred at this time.
Fourth, and added to the agenda was a request to approve two contracts – one for labor and one for materials for the resurfacing of the community center swimming pool. There are still three items that Brad has not been able to approve, but was assured they would have things worked out despite the challenges of international agreements. The request felt urgent to get approval since no work to manufacture the materials could begin until they had received payment in full. The project needs to be completed by our Spring Break so that it is ready to for use during the highest demand season. The Board decided not to approve the contracts until they had worked out the details. Then, they would either individually approve them or schedule it for approval with the next meeting.
Treasurer’s Report by Treasurer Alynn Huffman. The need for a Commissioners calendar that warns of pending deadlines was confirmed when the Treasurer’s office missed the July deadline to present the Semi-Annual Treasurer’s Report. The January to June 2017 report was presented with no concerns and approved with Linda Isenhart motioning, Ron Engels seconded, and the motion passed.
Tax Lien Sale Results was presented by Treasurer Huffman, who is still surprised by public unawareness of the process. She said the County generally pays $100 per lien. The cost of advertising the property is absorbed by the one bidding on the property. 18 tax lien properties have been sold in 2017.
Annual Liquor License Renewals were approved for two applications. Deputy Clerk Sharon Cates said the applications were easily approved by the Sheriff’s Department following the background checks as required. Concern was noted as to inconsistent addresses listing the city as Rollinsville first, then Black Hawk second with the same street address for both licenses. It was considered that staff is overworked including other regulations in their departments. Mid County Liquor 17218 Highway 119 and Last Shot 17268 Highway 119 both received Board approval for the renewal request of their liquor licenses.
The Commissioners Report first reminded our community of upcoming meetings. Next Tuesday, December 12 from 9-11 at the Gilpin County Library everyone is encouraged to bring their concerns, interests and opinions regarding public transportation. This informative meeting could break into special interest groups to discuss needs and ideas.
The County Staff will be having a Holiday lunch Thursday, December 14, so some offices may be closed for lunch.
Ron Engels asked to reserve time on the calendar from noon to 1:30 pm on December 18 for a conference call with the Commissioners and a new organization, Counties and Commissioners Acting Together, CCAT. It is believed to be similar to Colorado Counties, Inc. There is potential for finding common issues that can be resolved together.
Resolution #17-22 Draft of the Board of County Commissioners meetings scheduled every two weeks in 2018 had been discussed previously, so passed as approved.
Discussion of County-owned Parcel in Colorado Sierra Alpha Unit #1 stated that the County acquired property is to be placed on the market within one year. However, considerations were given to make it a pocket park. No action was taken. Community Development Director Stephen Strohminger was encouraged to ask property owning neighbors their opinion of having a park next door with bench and sign designating the 1-acre property as a park.
A January 5 date for a steering committee was recommended to develop options for the Human Services Department, pending potential retirement of its director.
The County Manager’s Report was made by Leslie Klusmire. A question was raised regarding plowing when needed in Moon Gulch. It is understood that plowing will occur as needed with the assurance that property may not be covered if damaged, if a fence has been placed too close to the road easement.
A Project Tracking Report has been presented to detail progress. This helps the Commissioners see how County projects are developing each meeting.
The Budget Narrative has progressed to the third draft presented.
Old Courthouse renovations requiring office moves have gone smoothly for the offices that have been moved. Courthouse renovations include discussions of water proof vinyl flooring, and entry safety to make the current glazed tile have a rougher surface.
Open County Positions – Dave Rich has been hired to fill Gordon Thompson’s previous position as Public Works/ Facilities Director. Two current employees are being trained to be facilities technicians since that position has not attracted a qualified candidate. Discussion followed about being able to offer the whole range of salary when seeking candidates rather than the entry level, to attract those with experience and pay them appropriately. The only candidate for the Chief Appraiser declined the position at the top level of pay we could offer her. An offer was made for a qualified candidate with the Veteran’s officer position, who is on vacation and a start date has not been determined. Human Services is rewriting the Director’s job description pending Betty Donavan’s retirement on February 2, 2018.
There are a number of part-time openings with Parks & Recreation.
A drafted copy of the postcard to be sent out to all residents was discussed. This will announce the new rule change regarding electrical inspection for residential marijuana grows regardless of the number of plants. The state has restricted grows to be a maximum of 12 plants. This postcard identifies an effective date of January 1, 2018.
Security and Preparedness
A Department head meeting this week will discuss security plans for an active shooter in county buildings. There is also a planned springtime simulation of a wildfire event.
There will be a strategic planning arranged for the Board Retreat sometime early in 2018.
The Board adjourned at 12:25 pm, to have executive session and then a work session. Work session items include, Department Goals and Implementation Plan overview, Commissioners Visioning, and a Broadband Planning Grant.
A special Board meeting is Friday, December 15 to approve the 2018 Budget. The next regular meeting is December 19, Tuesday and will be held again at Central City Hall 141 Nevada Street, Central City.