Meeting called to order at 9am, invocation and pledge of allegiance.
Agenda modified to remove one item from Consent Agenda. Item D.2., Approval of Special Event Permit for Elizabeth Chamber of Commerce, Oktoberfest, to be considered at a later date. Item D.1. Approval of Elbert County Sheriff's Office Inmate Housing IGA was accepted. Read the IGA here: http://www.elbertcounty-co.gov/IGA%20Douglas%20County%20Inmate%20Housing.pdf
DEPARTMENT HEADS/STAFF REPORTS
No Reports from Elected Officials, Staff, or Department Heads
Rick Brown, Elbert - Addressed his concern regarding potential conflict of interest for Commissioner Richardson voting on the Independence Development application next week while he is also a Board Director with the Elizabeth School District. Rick stated he had sent a letter to all commissioners several weeks ago outlining his concerns and suggesting possible remedies to the conflict. To date, Mr.Richardson has only replied that he would consider Mr. Brown's concerns and proposed options. Mr. Brown asked the commissioner if he would address today's audience or perhaps post something on the EC Citizens Facebook page regarding his decision. Mr. Richardson said he would address the potential conflict of interest opinion at the beginning of the Independence hearing on Sep 5.
1. Approval of Resolution on Term Limits to be placed on the November 2017 Ballot
Commissioner Richardson read the proposed ballot questions: "Shall the term limits imposed by state law and in Article XVIII, Section 11, of the Colorado Constitution on the office of Sheriff of Elbert County be modified so as to permit the current office holder of the office of Sheriff of Elbert County, Shayne Heap, to seek and, if the voters of Elbert County choose to re-elect, to serve a third consecutive term?" The same wording applies to a second resolution with a ballot question for the voters regarding a third term for the current office holder, Rick Pettit, County Treasurer. (Editor's note: The two-term limit would go into effect again following the completion of these two individuals serving out their third terms.) The resolutions may be found here:
Commissioner Richardson asked the county clerk for a ball park figure on the cost of an election. Estimated cost $30,000-$35,000. Dallas “has heard” that there may be some issues on the ballot already. We have the “money available” to hold an election.
Marlene Groves asked if info would be on website prior to meeting (which is only 1 day away). Per Commissioner Richardson, it won’t be online until after meeting.
Opinions covered the gamut of support and opposition. Some of the comments - Sheriff is doing a great job; both men are doing a great job; term limits are wrong because good people are force out; term limits take away the voters' choice. The sheriff is not doing a good job; term limits cause stagnation and/or fiefdoms, term limits are good because it brings in new people with new ideas which are beneficial for the county. Procedures for getting questions on the county ballot are non-existent. There is no statutory requirement for a citizen petition; the county should write a policy with procedures. Reference was made to Chris Richardson's handling of the 2015 effort to extend term limits for Sheriff Heap. After that failed initiative, Chris was quoted as saying that any future attempt to extend term limits for Heap would require a count of 4,500 people in support of his extension since that was the number of voters who said "no" on the 2015 ballot. Today's petition for the term extensions numbers has 150-200 signatures, but he said he looked to see who the signers were. And they are new people who weren't involved in the 2015 effort.
This statement was made to counter arguments that EC voters have decided this issue 6 times in the past. Scott wills argued that only the commissioners can put something on the ballot, that citizens have a right to vote, and "the commissioners have an obligation to allow us to vote". In arguing against applying some sort of rule about the level of citizen support for a ballot measure, he used a bizarre analogy saying denying this from the ballot would be like denying Democrats the right to be on the ballot just because Republicans in EC win all the elections. Other folks felt that continuing to bring this to a vote of the people when they clearly want term limits is a slap in the face to those people. J.D. Schroeder argued that commissioners should listen to the thousands of voters who continually vote in favor of these term limits and to not fold to pressure from the few nitpickers who keep bringing up this issue. Some have stated people didn't understand the ballot question in the past. (Editor's Note: Where is the evidence that voters are confused about this?)
In final discussion among the commissioners, Thayer said the consideration for extending term limits should be based on the position, not the person. Willcox finally revealed his personal opinion in support of term limits but felt any petition from the citizens must be considered by the commissioners. Richardson said he doesn't like term limits in general, especially for law enforcement. He made a distinction between people and personalities and said that elections are about people. In response to some citizens' suggestions that Richardson should recuse himself from this vote because he had directed the 2015 initiative to extend the sheriff's term limits, he said he felt no need to recuse himself and then turned to the county attorney for his opinion. Attorney Bart Greer concurred that no recusal was necessary based on what he had heard in discussions.
The final vote on the two resolutions to allow voters to decide whether a third term should be granted for Rick Pettit, Treasurer and for Shayne Heap, Sheriff: Thayer - Nay; Willcox - Aye; Richardson - Aye. Motion passed: 2 to 1.
2. Public Hearing: Consideration of adopting a resolution which establishes a Public Improvement District, board jurisdiction of the Public improvement District, declaring a PID formed of organized, with the BOCC acting as governing body of PID, and the ordering of the submission of tax and debt questions to eligible electors of the PID in a specific service area, in an election to be conducted in accordance with Section 20 of Article X (: TABOR") of the Constitution of the State of Colorado
The majority of the attendants at today's BOCC meeting were citizens desiring to speak and ask questions regarding the proposed establishment of a PID to improve roads in the Sun County Meadows subdivision. All the speakers were residents of Sun Country. The proposed resolution will, as stated above, allow for the establishment of the PID with the BOCC acting as its governing body and put a question on the ballot for residents of Sun Country Meadows only to accept or reject the PID which would have the authority to establish mill levies for those residents only to pay for the accompanying bond debt to pave just a few miles of two roads in the subdivision. Statutorily, a PID petition must have a certain percentage of the residents' signatures before the commissioners can consider the petition. This percentage was met.
The speakers opposed to and in support of this resolution were passionate, polite, informed, and articulate. Every voice was heard.
Commissioners stated that this particular PID, as proposed, is limited to tasks specifically called out in the resolution (which was not available to the general public), namely paving a certain amount of roadway and that the PID would be terminated when the bonds were paid off. The commissioners stated that they are just facilitating a legitimate request (by Statute)from Sun Country residents to establish the mechanism by which public improvements may be accomplished, if desired and approved by vote of the affected residents. Unclear if this would require a majority or some established percentage of votes or voters.
Final vote: All commissioners voted aye. The resolution will appear on the ballots for Sun Country voters.
Meeting adjourned around 11:30 am.
Kate Base, filling in for Jill Duvall