SAGUACHE COUNTY — Commissioners updated reporters Lisa Cyriacks and Teresa Benns on the progress made investigating what it would take to record Saguache County commissioner meetings Tuesday during the afternoon session held by the board.
The commissioners were approached March 7 about recording the meetings, something that has been discussed and tabled numerous times since the topic was first approached in 2010. Commissioner’s Chair Tim Lovato told the two women that the board is looking into the matter.
“We’re not going to stop here,” Lovato said, indicating that he is looking at different systems and it is mainly a matter of looking at a medium range system the county can afford.
County Co-Administrator Lyn Zimmer-Lambert said the county couldn’t afford the $8,900 quote presented by WSB Computers in Alamosa. She commented that she is trying to find another county that has a quote for a portable system.
Cyriacks told Lovato that recording the meetings will build trust among voters and Lovato replied he thinks commissioners have built trust. Commissioner Kenny Anderson indicated he really sees no need to record the meetings because the people he has spoken to don’t really care what commissioners do or how they do as long as it gets done.
Benns indicated this is not true of all those who live in the county, many of whom would like to know details of what really goes on at county meetings. Anderson said that if that is the case they can attend the meetings.
Cyriacks objected that most people have to work during the day and cannot miss work to keep up with what is going on in the county. Anderson gave both Cyriacks and Benns business cards and said that if anyone has questions about what goes on in the meetings they can call him. He also complained that many rumors have been started and he wants to makes sure they are nipped in the bud.
Benns pointed out that it is important for commissioners to address topics in context during the meetings and define terms, as many residents are not clear on the background of the issues commissioners regularly address.
Lovato said he will definitely continue to research the matter and placed the topic on the agenda for the May 16 meeting.
Other meeting topics
• Residents of the Reigel Subdivision were on hand for the proposed approval of a subdividing plan by one of the residents. The plan was opposed by subdivision residents who objected that it would place a strain on the water resources in the area and constituted “subdividing an already subdivided subdivision.” Planning commission member Jeff Shook, who commented on the proposed plan seemed to agree with this assessment, saying it would adversely impact “the fragility of the land.” County Attorney Ben Gibbons said there would be no violation of the law if the lots were subdivided and commented the county has granted such requests before. The board voted to table the request until the May 16 meeting.
• Sitting in for County Clerk and Recorder Carla Gomez, Trish Gilbert asked commissioners if they had made a decision regarding the $35,000 purchase of the new Dominion election equipment proposed at a previous meeting. She told the board that the Secretary of State’s Office (SoS) needs to know if the county will be purchasing the equipment before the end of April. Gilbert urged commissioners to participate in a phone conference with the SoS regarding the purchase before making a decision. Gilbert said the county will have to purchase the system eventually anyway, noting it is important for them to get in on the ground floor.
Attorney Ben Gibbons said this is not necessarily true as all state law says is that they have to purchase that equipment or “comparable” equipment. Commissioner Kenny Anderson asked if current ES&S equipment could be modified to do the job. Gilbert said the contract for ES&S equipment has expired. Gilbert told commissioners it is her office’s goal to provide “the best voting experience for the community” and added that everyone who is using the new system is very pleased with it. She informed commissioners that the entire county office is now certified as election officials and is “doing things according to Hoyle,” noting that former District Attorney David Mahonee commented before he left that this was the first time he had ever received signature verifications from Saguache County.
• Moffat School Board Secretary Matthew Crowley gave commissioners an update on progress made at the school and Crestone Charter School. He began by informing commissioners that the school has hired a special investigator from Adams State University to look into the altercation between two school administrators that took place at the school in full view of parents, other teachers, students and staff on April 3. He told commissioners the school won’t tolerate such behavior and is working to set policy to cover the situation. Parents have been invited to attend a school board meeting on Monday, April 24 at 5:30 p.m. in the Moffat school library to further discuss the matter.