Commissioners sworn in, chair elected

John Scarffe, Gilpin County.  Ron Engels was sworn in as a new commissioner, and Gail Watson was sworn in for her second term during a regular meeting of the Gilpin County Board of County Commissioners at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, January 10, 2017 at the Gilpin County Courthouse. Later in the meeting, Watson was elected as Board chair.

Gail Maxwell, with the Clerk and Recorder’s Office, told the Board and members of the public that an election had taken place in November. “In order for the new commissioners to be sworn in, we have to say they actually won the election,” Maxwell said.

Maxwell presented Engels and Watson with their certificates and said, “We are in the land of possibilities, and I hope it will be the best for all of us.”

Judge Dennis Hall then swore in Watson and Engels. Board Chair Linda Isenhart recognized Commissioner Buddy Schmalz who ended his term of service. Isenhart thanked Schmalz for eight years of service to the County and all the things he has done.

Schmalz has an emergency medical background, and during the past year served as chair of the Gilpin Ambulance Authority as well as the advisory council for the Department of Local Affairs gaming impact hearings. “He has represented us very well. A lot of the funding we have has been carried to that group by Buddy.”

Also during his term, he didn’t commit the County to a huge debt and got us through the economic downturn in 2008, Isenhart said. He made a lot of rough decisions, and that takes a lot of fortitude. Watson said she appreciated Schmalz’s intelligence, institutional knowledge and good humor.

Schmalz said he has been very fortunate to have the caliber of staff the County has. Board Clerk Sharon Cate helped him keep track of things and kept them in order. County Manager Roger Baker provided guidance through the job.

“County government isn’t easy to understand and Roger guided me through that,” Schmalz said, “what we’re supposed to be doing on not doing.” They got into some serious conversations about Trevor Story and what the Rockies are going to do.

Schmalz also acknowledged the County treasurer, assessor and clerk. “We didn’t always see eye to eye, but we’re able to work through all that and work together,” Schmalz said. He also got to work with Commissioners Jeannie Nicholson, who went on to serve in the Colorado senate, and Connie McClaine, as well as Watson and Isenhart.

“The thing I appreciated most is that things don’t linger and carry on to the next issue. We live with those decisions and move on,” Schmalz said. “The biggest thank you goes out to the folks of Gilpin County for allowing me to represent you. I never took it lightly. At the end of the day I hope I’ve made Gilpin County a little tiny bit better. I knew I was not going to change the world, but I hope I made things a little better.”

Later in the meeting, the Commissioners discussed their list of annual appointments. One of the first was chair of the Gilpin County Board of County Commissioners. Engels suggested that Isenhart and Watson switch places, since the chairmanship usually rotates, and Watson took over as chair.

Representation on statutory Boards would remain the same with Engels replacing Schmalz. Engels said he had a training session coming up on committee responsibilities but it would be a month before he attended it.

Isenhart said she wants to stay on the same committees she’s had because she has a working relationship, so Watson said they would keep everything as is until Engels finds an area he would like to concentrate on. At the next meeting, they will set aside some time to talk about goals and committees.

The Board denied a request for a refund of taxes from George, Richard and Robert Dullnig, who requested the residential assessment rate of 7.96 percent. It is currently being assessed at 29 percent. The property is contiguous with another parcel that has a home on it.

County Assessor Anne Schafer said it is a 40-acre property, but it is two separate petitions, because they have two separate parcels. It is the assessor’s decision to decide if it’s one property or two.

If the property has a garage on it or something that makes it seem as one parcel then it could be considered as one property, Schaefer said. The other parcel does not contain any outbuildings and they don’t walk on it. They don’t utilize the other parcel in conjunction with the residential property.

From the County Board, it goes to the Board of Adjustment Appeals, Schaefer said. The Commissioners voted to approve the motion to deny the request. The Commissioners approved liquor tasting events at Underground Liquor, LLC, 15107 Highway 119, Black Hawk, for the 2017 year.

Stephanie McCollum said the tasting events are great to get those new products out there. She started with them six months ago, and it’s been great. They rotate and do wine one time and then beer. “I will be there for all tastings,” she said.

Watson asked about the event dates and said the County has two different liquor stores doing tastings. Only three of the dates for the events at the two stores are not the same. “Do we have any sense that it would be better not to have them on the same day?”

Engels pointed out that customers could get four ounces of alcohol maximum during the tastings, so even if a customer went to two different places that’s the equivalent of one drink. Watson and Cate said that maybe next year they can look at coordinating the events.

Engels said you could actually use it to market the County: ‘Come on up and try new products.’

The next meeting of the Gilpin County Board of County Commissioners will be at 9 a.m. Tuesday, January 31, 2017, at the Gilpin County Courthouse, 203 Eureka Street, Central City.