SAGUACHE — The following are highlights for the Feb. 4 Saguache County Commissioner’s meeting taken from draft meeting minutes recorded by Saguache County Clerk’s office staffer Dominique White.
Commissioner Chair Jason Anderson attended the CCI Steering Committee meeting recently, where 50 pieces of legislation were reviewed. Of particular note to Saguache County were the following:
• HB-20-1163 Prohibits single-use plastics in retail food establishments, forbids local government from making lesser regulations (SB-20-010 repeals language, prohibits local governments from banning plastics).
• HB-20-1004 Establishes wildfire program through DOLA for homeowners. Included are income tax deductions for mitigation.
• HB-20-1094 Allows for counties to set their fees for Wastewater treatment systems to higher than the existing cap.
• HB-20-1151 Expands authority for regional transportation improvements including charges, fees and with voter approval, visitor sale and use tax.
• HB-20-1059 Allows energy storage to be assessed for valuation for property tax as other renewable energy infrastructure.
• SB-20-109 short-term rentals property tax. HB-20-1093 allows local government to tax and regulate short-term rentals.
• HB-20-1001 Nicotine product regulation.
• HB-20-1089 Employee protection for off duty activity Activities.
• SB-20-104 Powers of Bureau of Animal protection agents.
• HB-20-1150 Repeal penalties for drug possession.
Department head reports
Public Health Director Lynette Grant — Public Health is currently working on the Coronavirus and learning what action to take. The STEPP grant balance is at $20,874.09. Communities That Care is looking to give gift card stipends to the youth instead of employing them.
Grant has submitted the budget to the State and has not heard anything back from them yet.
A lot of the public is reaching out to Grant asking her to be a nurse at multiple schools. Grant has turned them down, because she doesn’t meet the qualifications nor is it her job. Commissioners approved a vaccine policies and procedures manual for Public Health.
Commissioners went into executive session at 11:10 a.m. for legal and personnel matters.
Office of Emergency Management Director Bobby Woelz — Woelz responded to the Decker fire disaster resistance center and is part of their recovery committee. He also responded to the Moffat Fire and the Center power outage. Woelz has attended many trainings, and will be hosting ICS training for elected officials in Alamosa April 7. Woelz also submitted bids for an OEM vehicle.
Road and Bridge Supervisor Randal Arredondo — Arredondo received bids for a roller pad to go on the back of a motor grater to compact the roads. This will cut down time used to maintain the roads. The Board asked Arredondo to bring this request back to them at the next meeting.
Commissioner Jason Anderson stated that he had a meeting with the director of the Baca Grande Property Owners Assoc., who produced two lists of roads in the Baca that are county maintained. Anderson asked Arredondo to clarify with him.
County Treasurer Connie Trujillo — Trujillo presented the year-end reporting for the Public Trustee. She shared that foreclosures have remained down; there was only one new foreclosure in the last five months. The office is doing a lot of releases. Trujillo is pleased with the tax side of things, as 26 percent of taxes have been paid. They are seeing more full payments instead of half payments.
Trujillo thanked the board for the grant money for Wreaths Across America. Wreaths were laid on every grave at Home Lake which was 1800, and about 333 in Saguache County. The high school students are now picking up the wreaths.
County Assessor Peter Peterson — In 2018, the certified value of county property was $73,250,784. In 2019, the certified value was $77,668,371, for an increase of $4,417,587. Peterson stated they are continuing field visits and are now working with all the weed and hemp processing facilities. The auditor will be here at 8 a.m. Feb. 13.
Business owner Terry Gillette stated that from the time he brought properties here, there has been a huge increase in taxes. Gillette’s property was changed from commercial to residential in 2018, and he feels his taxes should have gone down in price, not increased by 50 percent. Commissioner Jason Anderson stated that Peterson is an elected official and the state of Colorado and voters have the say. “You can protest with the Board of Equalization, but as the Board of Commissioners there isn’t much say to levy taxes,” Anderson told Gillette.
Interim Land Use Administrator Amber Wilson — Wilson reported that the following yearly reviews for marijuana operations have been completed. Those receiving approval from commissioners to continue operation were:
• Evergreen Naturals, LLC, 58301 Co. Road Z, SW1/4 1-44-9. Complaints about this facility appear to be resolved. Evergreen is paying excise tax.
• IKAR, LLC, 14003 N. Hwy 17, SW1/4SW1/4 20-43-10. The marijuana Enforcement Division has cleared this facility for operation.
• Modern Medicine, LLC, 18750 Co. RD. 65, N1/2N1/2NW1/4 31-44-11.
• Mammoth Farms, LLC, 50562 Co. Road U, 17337 Co. Road 52, Lots 3, 4, 5, 8, N1/2SW1/4, N1/2 SE1/4 2&3-43-8. Facility is paying excise tax. Mammoth agreed to correct and excise tax issue with its Pueblo facility.
• Green Resources, LLC, 6748 Hwy 17, SE1/4NW1/4 33-42-10. The facility is paying excise tax.
• GreenView Farm, LLC, 6754 Hwy 17, NE1/4NW1/4 33-42-10. The facility is paying excise tax.
Wilson discussed the possible dissolution of the Crestone/Baca Planning Commission with commissioners. She informed them that she researched on Lexis Nexis for the Colorado Revised Statutes on how to dissolve a Planning Commission and has found that they, as commissioners, can motion to have it dissolved or may also have a petition for that area and then go through public hearings. A vote by commissioners to dissolve the planning commission failed 2-1. The board agreed to advertise for public comment before proceeding further.
County Administrator Wendi Maez — Received a request from Kairinia Danforth to be re-appointed to the Saguache County Tourism Council. Tourism Council Chair Vivian Lawson will be emailed for the Board to review. The Board advised Maez to advertise for appointment to the Tourism Council before making any appointments to the Tourism Council at this time.
The county will receive $2,000 in grant funds for the SLV 2020 Census Outreach.
Western Colorado University emailed asking if Saguache County is interested in participating with the COSI Matching Student Scholarship Program this year. The county gave Adams State University $14,472 in 2019. Adams State University is on the March 24 work session agenda to request participation also. The Board agreed that Western Colorado University already receives funding from Energy, and wants to hear from Adams State for the COSI Scholarship Program.
Maez told commissioners all the paperwork for annual certification of the Northern Saguache County Ambulance District is in order for the Board to review and approve. Commissioners unanimously approved renewal of the Saguache County ground ambulance permit.
Maez spoke with Eric with Tyler Technology about the financial software system for Administration. As soon as a bid is received, Maez will place it on a work session agenda for board review.
The county is considering hiring additional maintenance personnel. A letter of support for the Highway 285 grant has been written.
The meeting adjourned at 2:19 p.m.