County Corner with Roger Baker

Among the agenda items at the Tuesday, February 10, meeting of the Gilpin County Commissioners will be the slightly delayed adoption of the Commissioners’ Goals and Objectives for 2015.

Previous Commissioners first started this practice a number of years ago as a way to look back at the year gone by and to set their targets for the year ahead.

As such, the document was usually drafted in a work session or two and formally adopted at either the last meeting of one year, or the first meeting of the next—the 2008 goals, for example, were adopted at the December 11, 2007, meeting.

Over the years, though, the Commissioners came to conclude that if the goals were to have real meaning—as well as a chance for realization in the year ahead—they needed to be adopted prior to the budget sessions in the fall, so that funding could be allocated for specific projects they wished to accomplish. That’s been the practice for the last few years, but that practice raised an additional obstacle this year, with a new Commissioner elected in November, but not sworn in until January.

So the Commissioners spent some of the time at their last work session discussing who would serve on what committees, and represent the County on various non-profit boards, and working on the somewhat belated 2015 goals as well.

Anyway, those goals are now ready for adoption, and the Commissioners will vote on them—with possibly a little last minute tweaking—on Tuesday.

Drafting goal statements like this is always tricky, as the goals themselves can range from the merest statement of support for the unattainable (“Foster world peace”) to the mundane, if obvious (“Continue to issue license plates”). The 2015 goals avoid both those extremes, though there certainly are goals we can’t accomplish without a lot of help and cooperation from other entities.

The first goal listed, for example—“Aggressively explore additional cell phone and broadband service opportunities”—is something the Commissioners have been working toward for a number of years, but with limited success.

The Commissioners have already spent a little money hiring a consultant familiar with these things to challenge one of the biggest obstacles, a federal map of available broadband services that actually shows Gilpin County as being pretty well served—despite what most of us can really get. But although some larger jurisdictions have passed laws allowing them to actually step in as internet service providers, that’s an option that’s probably a little too tough for Gilpin County to try.

The second goal, by contrast, is utterly achievable, though it’s a question of how quickly the Commissioners want to move forward, given the expense involved. It states the County should “Develop maintenance and replacement plans for buildings, equipment, computers, vehicles and election equipment.”

To some extent the County is already doing that; we have a four-year cycle of replacement of computers, and a regular plan for preventive maintenance on smaller items in our facilities. But moving to a regular replacement schedule for vehicles—especially the big ones, like road graders—will require a considerable capital commitment.

And so it goes on through the rest of the list.

I don’t think anyone believes all of these will be accomplished anytime soon, and some of them may never be fully implemented. But as goals they are admirable statements, and help assign responsibility and promote accountability among County employees and elected officials to achieve them.

We’ll post the goals on the County website after they are adopted, so all our residents can see how well we are doing.