Elbert County Under the Radar

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BOCC July 20 2016

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The Elbert County Board of County Commissioners' meeting on July 20, 2016, began with introduction of the county fair royalty by Mary Louse Jacobson. The girls spoke about the upcoming county fair August 3-7 as well as their activities over the past year promoting our fair.

Kelly Davis was recognized by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI), per the undersheriff, for outstanding work regarding submittal of daily reports. Jeri Speer, Health and Human Services Director, shared about positive recognition her department has received from CCI for 95% achievement on 23 different assessment measurements. County Clerk Dallas Schroeder recapped the successful primary election, in which Elbert County surpassed state turnout percentages, and thanked numerous citizens who assisted.

Robert Rowland then spoke about his outreach to the 18th Judicial District, but no mention was made of the issue about which he has contacted them.

Public comment: 3 citizens spoke in favor of moving the wild animal sanctuary from its present location.

The main focus of the meeting was the 2015 audit presentation by Eide-Bailey accountants. The overall take-away from the presentation was:

  • 1) The county is getting better each year about adding additional information to the financial statements.
  • 2) Fiscal management/budgeting is improving.
  • 3) Cash on hand has improved, but the "elephant in the room" according to the auditor is the almost $3 million loss. While the county is taking $6.1 million in depreciation, they only replaced $2.8 million of the depreciated "Capital assets are declining faster than we are replacing them." The auditor stated that the county needs to be looking at the long-term focus so we "aren't continually in the hole,....and money needs to be put aside to replace capital assets."
  • 4) The auditor gave several suggestions for increasing revenues: mill levy increase, attract more commercial property/economic development, and bring things into the county that we can charge for.

The auditor then went through deficiencies in specific departments, several relating to social services (which is carefully scrutinized because of the large amount of federal grants it receives). She also restated a deficiency in the sheriff's department, "The sheriff's office has checking accounts not recognized by the treasurer." This was a repeat deficiency from 2014. (Sheriff Heap's response to this was that he can't correct this deficiency until the county treasurer keeps his office open 24/7.)

During public comment about the audit, citizen Jim Whistler spoke about his concerns regarding depreciation of county roads, one of the county's largest assets.

The entire audit is available on the county website.

Following the audit, the county clerk and the county sheriff spoke about the need in their departments for more staffing using comparisons from similar-sized counties. The county treasurer then gave his quarterly trustee report, citing a slight increase in foreclosures from last year at this time. Home sales are about the same as last year with new construction up a small amount. Susan Murphy from the assessor's office presented "preliminary values" about actual and assessed state valuations.

Got Milk?
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About a mile south of East Parker Road, on Delbert, touching the corner of Meadow Station, stood a dairy

Continued >>>

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Water Advisory Committee

The Water Advisory Committee (WAC) met on Wednesday, July 6, 2016, at the Elizabeth library.

Chairperson of the WAC, Bob Ware, made the following announcements:

  1. Former EC Commissioner Kurt Schlegel has been appointed as the interim manager for Cherokee Water District.
  2. Weld County has adopted new water line regulations requiring that any proposed pipelines pumping water out of their county must go through a Use by Special Review and public hearings.
  3. Anyone wishing to be on the WAC email distribution needs to contact Bob Ware.

An update on the EC Water Study (Forsgren) Contract was provided by Ric Morgan. The revamped contract has been sent to the county. An extension is requested until September 2017. The commissioners approved the contract awhile ago, but so far there is no confirmation that the contract has been forwarded to the state. (Editorial comment: there is some perceived irregularity in the process of contract approval as Forsgren initially presented a contract that was not in compliance with the RFP; they (Forsgren) were then allowed to modify their contract but other bidders were not allowed this same courtesy. Thus the hesitancy on the part of some of our county commissioners to move forward on this contract.)

A brief summary of the USGS county well monitoring presentation by Rhett Everett in June was shared with the attendees. Basically it is too early to determine if the well levels in Elbert County are moving up or down. This study is a 3 year study, with just a little over a year of monitoring complete at this time.

A video titled "The Great Divide" was shown, tracing the history of water in Colorado.

Next meeting is Wednesday, August 3 at 7pm in the meeting room at the Elizabeth library.

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Elbert County Board of Canvass

The Elbert County Board of Canvass met on July 7, 2016, with representatives from both political parties and with the county elections department, to certify the June 28 primary election. Additionally, specific voting machines selected by the state were tested for accuracy.

The county commissioner races for Democrats were uncontested, so Marie Soderberg and Barbara Miller were the winners in their respective districts.

For county commissioner races in the Republican Party, following are the final totals certified and sent to the state:

District 1
Chris Richardson - 2315 votes
Jim Whistler - 1689 votes

District 2
Grant Thayer - 2176 votes
Scott Wills - 2074 votes

All voting machines tested perfect for accuracy, and the results of the certification did not change the outcome of any of the contests.

Elbert County Public Service:

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