Gilpin Commissioners wrap up year-end business

At December 19 meeting

By Jaclyn Schrock

The Gilpin County Board of County Commissioners began their meeting on a clear crisp Tuesday, December 19, 2017. For the last time in 2017, they commenced Gilpin County business in the borrowed Central City Hall court room while renovation continue to refresh the Old Courthouse on Eureka Street in Central City.

At 9 am ready for the meeting were District #1 Commissioner Ron Engels, District #2 Commissioner Linda Isenhart, District #3 Commissioner and Chair Gail Watson, County Manager Leslie Klusmire, County Attorney Jim Petrock, and Deputy Clerk Sharon Cate. Many County employees were on hand to give comments to agenda items. There was a healthy gathering from the Sheriff’s Offices preparing for the work session after the meeting was adjourned.

Just a quick glance in review of 2017, County Attorney Petrock represented employees and testified in a trial regarding inappropriate harassment they received by a small group in 2015, and four of nine County Department Directors retired having long histories with the county, so there are five new directors in positions including our County Manager. We have a new County logo that includes a woman standing with the miner, but the County seal isn’t changed. We have historical preservation as the focus in the remodeling of the Old County Courthouse where there are many departments housed as well as the commissioners.

There were no agenda changes to the regular meeting, or public comments. The first item on the agenda was the annual review of County vehicles that will be regularly taken home in 2018 for commuting so that a county vehicle is available to them to respond to County emergencies. In the Sheriff Administration, four individuals take a County vehicle home along with the Sheriff Patrol Sergeants and Patrol Deputies who reside within Gilpin County. Three other vehicles are regularly taken home, but their design make personal use impractical: Public Works Director, Facilities/Public Works Director, and the Coroner. When one of those positions was vacated, the vehicle did not go home. The take home vehicle list vote passed approved and was signed.

Financial Director Clorinda Smith presented the Certification of Levies and Revenue which had been presented at the special meeting last Friday. In summary the levies on general property remain at the rate of 9.838 on the assessed property value, for the County to receive property tax revenue of $3 million to be paid in 2019 for the 2018 taxes.

  Central City Manager Daniel Miera had intended to join the meeting, but was not available to discuss the fees paid to Gilpin County for the use of the Apex Facility for Storage. Office space above the two bay garage for vehicle storage has been used by Central City and the Ambulance Authority. That agenda item was postponed while officials with Central City were reached. When they regretfully confirmed they could not attend the meeting, the agreement was motioned and passed to charge $300 per bay, per month or $600 a month to park the vehicles there for a six-month period.

Skipping around on the agenda to avoid delay while seeking contact with Central City staff, there seemed to be great relief to have the Veteran’s Service Officer position filled. Leon Pohl, a Black Hawk resident and Viet Nam veteran, has been an active member of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars with the Central City chapter. He has been approved to start with Human Services as the Veterans Service Officer January 2, 2018. The position has been waiting to be filled a couple months with the greatly missed presence of Roy Blake when he passed away, September 10, 2017. Commissioner Ron Engels spoke of appreciating Leon Pohl’s contributions in the past and the future. When Human Resource Director Susie Allen introduced Leon, the room filled with applause.

  The Chief Appraiser Proposal has been readdressed in this meeting. County Assessor Anne Schafer was concerned about the position that now has a temporary subcontractor offering services. Human Resource Manager Susie Allen reviewed the recent process of advertising, reviewing applicants, offering one qualified candidate the position, seeking the Boards approval to add 10% to the salary range and still the candidate refused the offer. The 10% increase to the salary was again discussed and confirmed that should another candidate be found the offer would continue to be made appropriate to the experience of the candidate. As Human Resource Officer she comments on the difficulty to fill this and other positions like Sheriff Deputies, life guards, and electrical technicians.

Interim Human Services Director Karen Erdman discussed the Memorandum of Understanding with Prowers County. Commissioner Linda Isenhart noticed that there were many free services offered. This agreement is to provide hotline services for Senior and Child Protection Services. Currently, when a call comes in, it may take 25 minutes to obtain the details, then making the report takes even longer to begin an investigation. Gilpin County can only offer an answer on the phone during business hours. Prowers County had bid to offer the services to provide employment opportunities hotline response services 24 hours a day to multiple counties. The agreement was passed unanimously to improve response services to Gilpin residents.

County Planner Daniel Horn presented the application requesting Boundary Line Elimination #17-08. Three vacant lots were requested to be joined as one lot with access off of Hughesville Road near Missouri Lakes. The requested was granted so passed.

Interim Parks and Recreation Department Director Alan Smith began with a request for the closing of the Gilpin County Community Center on Sunday, December 24th, Christmas Eve. It is not considered a county holiday, but the requested was approved by the Board.  Also the dates to be closed in 2018 were discussed and coordination with other county offices was intended. It was realized that needs of the transfer station for days off may need to be different from those of the community center. These dates included being closed on Easter Sunday (not a county holiday because it is Sunday) and adding the closing on Thanksgiving. The board also approved these dates to be closed.

Alan Smith switched hats to speak to the board as President of the Board of Trustees for the Library. The Board did agree to adopt a pay increase for library employees. The Commissioners did not need to also approve what the Library Board of Trustees had already approved, but they acknowledged the renewing of Susan Berumen’s term as a Trustee. Julie Shaw was welcomed to the Board of Trustees to fill a vacant spot.

Collen Stewart’s Clerk & Recorder Monthly report had no surprises. However, a few comments were made by Chief Deputy Clerk & Recorder Gail Maxwell. First she wanted to express appreciation for permission to position the historic couch near the entrance of the Old Courthouse. It is designated specifically for the use of couples to have a photograph on the couch when they get their marriage license; often it is their wedding day. It has been a wonderful historic piece to offer these Gilpin couples. She also commented about the old railing used in the original courthouse days being used in the three offices that have been renovated, and the broken counter in the Treasurer’s office. For aesthetic and historic purposes, the railing could be used ornamentally rather than to physically support a counter. A local contractor is considering offering a bid to do this work. Details are being investigated to be sure this can be done. She also mentioned the opportunity to have better internet service in the Old Courthouse using the server that the election commission uses.

The Board of County Commissioners Status Report only mentioned the Wednesday breakfast meeting in Idaho Springs. Gail Watson and Linda Isenhart were happy to report about the Colorado Telehealth Network meeting they attended with Gilpin’s IT coordinator. This affordable opportunity for select Colorado Counties makes broadband service available to increase availability of internet services. No motion was approved as discussion of what was really desired and needed had not been assessed. The hopes were to simply start with bring high-speed fiber optic cable from Hwy 119 to the Gilpin Health Services facility to replace the old copper wire cable. Imagining the opportunities to expand from there bubbled with enthusiasm. Concern for the short timeline for applications due between February and May deflated the idea. Still, a special interest investigation of internet needs was considered.

  County Treasurer Alynn Huffman’s report showed a grand total plus a $4 million dollar improvement as a nest egg from previous years, with 99.98% of County taxes collected. The balance could not be completed because of bankruptcy.

  County Manager Leslie Klusmire gave the Status Report for the Sheriff’s Office, Public Works Department, and the Library. She presented Community Matters, Inc. as a strategy to raise revenue, a professional firm with contact Barb Cole already being familiar with Gilpin County government after going through the process of acquiring gaming. Barb was put on speaker phone so the Board could have questions answered. The Board approved progressing with a contract for services not to exceed $20,000.

A motion to seek temporary services to assist with copy services and/or filing from another current part-time Gilpin County employee during a brief leave time was approved. Potential candidates were hoped to be found by the next meeting.

  Legal Status Report by Attorney Jim Petrock was happy to report that the County acquisition and closing on the Red Feather cabin properties was scheduled for January 10, 2018. He also reported that there were two more trials regarding harassment of County employees. The January trial is two weeks, and the March trial is three weeks as the suspect defending himself was the major player in the investigation that occurred in multiple Colorado counties.

Approval of minutes received few corrections, with some discussion at one misunderstanding that became a typographical correction. The minutes were approved for Nov. 14, Dec. 5, and December 15.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:40 am. Directly following the meeting cake was shared by all in celebration of one of the Commissioners birthday. Afterwards Sheriff Bruce Hartman and at others on staff gathered with the Commissioners for a work session to consider jail expansion. There is concern for the number of females in custody. There is also concern from the last meeting and discussion about the county working to uphold Federal laws that are not adequately covered by Federal patrols in the US Forest service, Immigrations, or Taxes. If the Commissioners ask the County Sheriff’s to pursue these individuals, there is even a greater need to increase the number of officers and expand the jail.

Next Meeting

The next Gilpin County Commissioners Board meeting will be in the Central City Hall, 141 Nevada Street in Central City at 9 am Tuesday January 9, 2018.

About Aaron Storms

Publisher & Managing Editor Weekly Register-Call
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