As part of a series of decisions made by the Board of County Commissioners signaling the beginning of the new year, Clifford Lucero was named chairman of the BoCC, with John Ranson being named as vice chair for 2010.
Bob Moomaw held the chair for three years prior to Lucero’s designation, throughout the county’s financial crisis that began in 2007.
“I’ve been chair now for three years, and I have to admit, it has been one heck of a ride,” Moomaw said. “When I first took office, I thought the county had money. That was not correct; the county was bankrupt.”
Moomaw went on to recount the county’s process in coming out of the financial meltdown, including replacing most department heads at the county and cutting the budget, before declaring it time to turn over the reigns.
“We’re no longer in crisis mode. And since we are no longer in crisis mode, I think it’s time, you know, to return to the normal practice of the chair rotating every year.”
Lucero and Ranson both offered their thanks to Moomaw for his work and leadership, while County Administrator Greg Schulte noted that he appreciated “the steady hand on the tiller that has been there and that’s kept us on a straight course.”
After Moomaw and Lucero switched seats, the BoCC returned to business and passed a number of items, many of which were characterized by Schulte as general administrative items that must be approved yearly to satisfy state statutes:
•?A resolution was passed designating a number of banks as depositories for county funds.
• The board authorized Lucero to sign county warrants, with the other commissioners authorized to sign if Lucero is not available. In the specific case of child support warrants, Schulte is authorized to sign if no commissioner is available.
• The BoCC declared that designated official posting places will remain the bulletin boards located outside the clerk’s office and the commissioners’ meeting room at the courthouse.
Meetings will also continue to be held the first and third Tuesdays of the month at 1:30 p.m. During months with five Tuesdays, community meetings will be held at 6 p.m., with the March 30 meeting to be held in Pagosa, the June 29 meeting in Chromo, and in Arboles on Aug. 31.
• Schulte was again named as the budget officer.
•?The commissioners divided up a list of 23 boards and committees in terms of which commissioner(s) would represent the county at the meetings.
• The board approved increasing the county’s COBRA rates 10 percent to help defray the cost to the county. COBRA, the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, is optional health insurance continuation following a job loss.
• A resolution shook up the County Tourism Commission, decreasing the number serving from seven to five, among other changes (see related article).
• Funds were allocated within the 1A Training and Technology Fund and the 1A General Facilities Fund.
In December, the BoCC asked all elected officials and department heads for their requests for the funds. According to Schulte, requests totaled about $362,000 for technology and training, while only $346,000 was available. For facilities, requests totaled about $64,000, while only $28,000 was available.
Despite the large difference between requests and available funds in technology and training, the BoCC opted to not allocate about $33,000, instead keeping it to dole out throughout the year for other, more urgent needs that may arise.
• The BoCC followed suit with the Pagosa Springs Town Council, demonstrating intent to allocate matching funds should the Department of Local Affairs (DoLA) award the Southwest Council of Governments (SWCoG), of which the town and county are a part, a grant to expand broadband infrastructure for government entities.
The town council discussed its intent to match the grant in December and earmarked money at its Jan. 5 meeting.
DoLA invited seven entities to make full applications, competing for the $17 million available through the grant. The SWCoG will not know if any money, or what amount, is awarded until mid February.
• At the beginning of the meeting, the BoCC passed a proclamation declaring 2010 as Census Awareness Year.
• Two items involving the airport were tabled until the Feb. 2 regular meeting, along with a request to consider amending a section of the county Land Use Regulations pertaining to public notice requirements.
The next regular meeting will be held Feb. 2 at 1:30 p.m.