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BoCC considers money matters at Jan. 5 meeting

Archuleta County will again need help maintaining cash flow through the beginning of 2010, until property tax receipts are received in February.

At their regular meeting on Jan. 5, the Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners directed county staff to pursue a line of credit with a bank for the maximum amount of $500,000 to assist with cash flow until property tax receipts are received in February.

The agenda item also authorized BoCC Chairman Bob Moomaw to sign the agreement.

Current interest rates through a bank would likely fall at 4 percent, County Administrator Greg Schulte said.

Following its financial meltdown, in 2008 the county took a loan out against TABOR reserves, which is for emergencies, to keep it afloat during the lean months. In 2009, the county’s financial situation wasn’t viewed as an emergency because it was anticipated, but the county took out a line of credit through Citizen’s Bank for the same purpose.

At last week’s agenda review, two items were scheduled to be on the agenda to assist with cash flow — pursuing a line of credit with a bank, as well as a loan from the General Fund Reserves, with the thought that one option could serve as the backup to the other.

Commissioner John Ranson brought this up at Tuesday’s meeting. “We talked about possibly freeing up reserves as a possibility, as well, and I, personally, would like to see it ... I’d just like to throw that out ... I’d rather be safe than sorry,” he said, noting that he was aware it couldn’t be done at that meeting.

The BoCC then directed staff to schedule a special meeting to address the BoCC’s interest in the staff recommendation of borrowing from General Fund Reserves. The meeting was scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.

In an e-mail, Schulte wrote, “We did talk about doing both the line of credit from a bank and a loan from the reserves at the agenda review last week and, quite frankly, we had some confusion about agendizing both items... We should have had both items agendized for (Tuesday’s meeting).”

Other business addressed at the meeting dealt mostly with vehicles and law enforcement needs, but also included some beginning-of-the-year business:

• Michael Whiting presented a successful request to the BoCC on behalf of the county’s Parks, Recreation, Open Space and Trails Task Force (PROST) to allocate $38,450 from the 1A Parks and Recreation Fund into the 1A Small Grants Fund to “replenish the pot” and bring the total back up to $60,000.

Commissioner John Ranson asked, “Are people looking at this pot differently than the overall? Does it help to have the small grants available?

“I think the grant application process, for people who don’t do it for a living, can be intimidating,” Whiting responded, adding that the process was more approachable since potential grantees could discuss ideas with PROST before presenting a formal request.

The cap for small grants doled out from the fund is $8,000.

• The first agenda item passed involving a vehicle was a request presented by Karin Kohake on behalf of PROST — to allocate $18,750 from the 1A Parks and Recreation Fund for the Wolf Creek Trailblazers Club (a snowmobiling club) as part of a 50 percent match for a grant received to purchase a haul truck for the club’s snow groomer.

The club received a grant for $37,500, half the estimated price of the new truck, contingent upon a match by the club. The club has raised $18,750 towards the truck and will now receive another $18,750 from the county.

The club grooms approximately 110 miles of U.S. Forest Service roads for various winter sport activities open to the public and also assists with search and rescue operations through use of the groomer, Kohake explained, adding that the club’s 1976 truck was close to the end of its life.

The truck and groomer are stored at Nick’s Hangar year-round, outside in the winter and inside in the summer.

In response to questions asked by Ranson, Dennis Mingo, grooming chair for the club, said the club advertises the public use of the roads locally and through the Colorado Snowmobile Association and that the registration and insurance for the truck would be paid by the club.

The item was met with more questions, most by Commissioner Clifford Lucero, during the agenda review session a week prior, at which time he questioned the cost of the truck and the responsibility of PROST to help purchase vehicles, but no such concerns were brought up at the regular meeting.

• The BoCC voted to accept a Court Security Grant award from the Colorado State Court Administrator’s Office for $73,154 for the third year in a row.

The grant funds the court services officer position, now filled by deputy Bill Thomas, as well as an additional “.25 position” to cover vacation, sick leave, and times when an additional person is needed.

The grant also provides $10,060 for equipment and $3,250 for training of officers.

“Archuleta County is considered one of benchmark programs in the state for the Court Security Program Grant funding,” Kohake said.

• The commissioners approved a one-year extension of the medical services agreement with Pagosa Springs Family Medicine Center, PC, for medical services for the county jail. Another portion of the medical services agreement extending mental health services through Southwest Colorado Mental Health was passed in December.

• The Sheriff’s Department can also cross some vehicles off their wish list thanks to the board approving the lease/purchase of up to three vehicles for an amount not to exceed $43,000.

One vehicle will likely be designated for animal control, with the other two used for patrol, Schulte said in a later interview.

Because the vehicles are for a specialized purpose and will likely have to be built, it will probably take 90-120 days for the vehicles to be delivered.

“These vehicles were promised to the S.S. Gonzales back in January of 2009, so let’s get that order in so my kids on patrol can be safe,” said Sheriff Pete Gonzales in thanking the BoCC.

• A resolution to adopt the County Fee Schedule was tabled until the Feb. 2 meeting because amendments to the Land Use Code, which could change the fee schedule, will be proposed at the next regular meeting, scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 19, in the commissioners’ meeting room.