Gilpin County Commissioners discuss slash site close
The Gilpin County Board of County Commissioners discussed extending closing dates for the County slash site at its regular meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 24, at the Gilpin County Courthouse. The Commissioners also put off until next a year a request to provide road maintenance for the Ralston Creek Road and tabled a request to increase the salary for a fleet supervisor.
Curt Logsdon, public works director, said the amount of slash coming to the County’s slash site is way down this year. Slash loads have dropped 75 percent from September to October in 2011. It was 80 percent in 2012. The current closing date is Oct. 6.
Commissioner Gail Watson said, “My hope is to find a way to be more responsive and limber.” Logsdon said, “It makes it hard because we have to have someone down there. It makes it hard because that’s where we mix our winter materials.”
Watson said, “I think it’s a fantastic program. We have to encourage people to do as much fire mitigation as possible.”
Logsdon said, if the Board wants to adjust the budget to extend the close date, he was all for it. Last year he budgeted for the slash site from May 1 to Oct. 6. He has proposed the same in the budget this year. It costs about $550 per week for five days to run the site.
“Where we stockpile our winter material is the same place we bring in slash,” Logsdon said. “We’ll have to find another place to mix our materials. It’s a hard surface there.”
Chair Buddy Schmalz asked him to come back with some options for a couple of weekends and costs. “How do you manage the schedule and the cost? Our goal here is to extend it and adjust the hours on the back end. We do hear a lot of people talking about it. We can try to somewhat accommodate them.”
Logsdon said he will look into starting in May and extending slash site hours in October.
Ralston Creek Maintenance Request
The Ralston Creek Lane Recreation Association, a non-profit 501(c) 3 organization, wishes to pay for services provided by the Gilpin County Public Works to reshape existing Ralston Creek Lane, Logsdon told the Board. The County cannot use funds to maintain or improve private property.
“Typically maintenance of private property such as driveways and roads are maintained by property owners or is contracted out to contractors by the property owners to provide maintenance of said roads and driveways,” Logsdon said.
The Ralston Creek Road Association will pay the County to maintain Ralston Creek Road, but Logsdon has questions and arguments pro and con. His third policy question asks “Is it practical for the County to commit to providing services on all private driveways and roads?” He suggested this could be considered a test for Gilpin County. All residents would benefit.
Logsdon in his con arguments said counties don’t often offer that service. “Public Works is already shorthanded in many ways. Does this make sense? Public Works is in need of additional equipment and staff to offer the professional services expected by the residents and the BOCC.”
Commissioner Watson said it’s important the County not be in competition with businesses in the County, and Logsdon said many local contractors aren’t qualified to put down a road. Schmalz agreed and said Ralston hasn’t been able to find anyone who can perform the services at that level. They haven’t been satisfied with others.
“We don’t have enough equipment and staff,” Schmalz said. “I empathize with their issues because sometimes it’s hard to find contractors up here. I’m real hesitant to start down this path. It’s not a public road.”
Watson said: “I would be willing to try this once but we have to have a better way to let people know we are talking about this so they can come in and say, ‘Hey, I can do this.’ If we had this money earmarked for this it would benefit other residents. I’d like to put this out to the business community.”
Logsdon said he couldn’t do anything this year. He’s way behind and the floods are tearing him up. Schmalz tabled this until next year. “The truth is you couldn’t do this. Talk about it in budget discussions,” he said.
Fleet Supervisory Salary
Logsdon also brought a proposal to the Board for an increase in the Public Works fleet supervisor salary. “In 2010, Road and Bridges was re-organized and formed the Fleet Services Division,” Logsdon said. They have about 100 vehicles. “In 2011 a Fleet Services Supervisor was hired.”
Since then three supervisors have left and he now only has six applications who have applied, and only two fit the minimum qualifications, but they turned it down because of the salary. He offered $51,000 and was turned down. No one internally is qualified.
Schmalz said the County income is flat and has a lot of expenses. “If we look at a $14,000 increase, someone else isn’t going to get $14,000. It’s an ongoing expense. Something has to give somewhere. We don’t have anything extra coming in. It could be less. How do we keep the overall County budget? We talk about this at length at budget hearings and work sessions. Are we going to give up equipment?”
Watson suggested this be wrapped into the budget discussion, and Schmaltz said: “It appears we’re not in a position to make a decision right now. We’ll take this under advisement and we meet next month on the budget.”