Nobody took the opportunity to give public input.
Purchasing Manager Rob Turf approached the Board. Turf sat and proceeded to update the commissioners on the process in purchasing 10 all-wheel drive or 4x4 SUVs for the Weld County Sheriff’s Office. Turf said five bids had been received and that the Sheriff’s Office and Police Services were now reviewing the bids. A final chosen bid will be presented for the commissioners’ approval at the September 12th Board of Weld County Commissioners meeting.
New Business 1
The first matter of new business involved Deputy Director of the Department of Human Services Jamie Ulrich. Ulrich came before the Board today to ask that a funding contract be approved. The contract concerned IV-E Demonstration Project Funding, which would provide the Department of Human Services with $582,110.
This money, Ulrich said, would be used to support three programs. The first being Family Engagement, where money from these funds would be used to hire three new family engagement practitioners and three family finders. The second program the money would go towards would be Kinship Supports to hire one new kinship care coordinator while using other funds for kinship funding. The last program was Trauma Informed Screening—no funds from the Demonstration Project Funding award would be used for this program, but the County would be involved in other ways.
Vote was taken on the matter and the contract was approved by a 3-0 vote.
New Business 2
The Department of Human Services was of concern in the second piece of new business today as well. This piece of new business also involved the approval of a contract. The contract in question would be with Self-Management Resource Center for a $500 license lasting from July 1, 2018 through July 1, 2021. The license would allow the department to operate 20 individual workshops and two leader trainings while in place.
Deputy Director of the Department of Human Services Jamie Ulrich said this license was previously held by an association known as Older Adults Wellness. The license they held expired in June, making the County now have to obtain their own license.
This request was approved by a 3-0 vote.
New Business 3
The third piece of new business today was yet another contract involving the Department of Human Services. This contract would see funds go towards the Platteville Senior Center. The contract allows for funds from the Friendly Fork Senior Nutrition Program to be distributed to the senior center. Department of Human Services’ Deputy Director Jamie Ulrich informed the Board that the Platteville Senior Center was 1 of 23 meal sites in Weld County. Ulrich also said that the Platteville Senior Center is known to serve 25-30 meals a day to seniors.
Vote was taken and the contract was approved by a vote of 3-0.
New Business 4
The penultimate piece of new business dealt with a contract for the Department of Human Services one last time. This contract would allow Weld County “to have a Medicaid intake specialist located at the District 6 Family Center three days per week to support all District 6 families and students,” Deputy Director of Department of Human Services Jamie Ulrich said. The duration of this contract would be from July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019.
Pro-Tem Barbara Kirkmeyer opened up discussion among the commissioners. Commissioner Julie Cozad spoke first. Cozad asked Ulrich whether or not Weld County was working with other school districts in the county. “For this particular outreach, no, we are not at this time,” Ulrich responded.
Commissioner Sean Conway then took time to ask questions. First, Conway wanted to clarify something Ulrich mentioned about the salary and benefits for the intake specialist. Conway wanted to know what would happen if pay for the employee exceeded the cap set at $24,000 for the year ($2,000 per month). District 6 would reimburse the County for this $24,000, but “anything in addition to the $24,000 is paid out of [the County’s] budget,” Ulrich confirmed. The deputy director made clear, though, that this position was not new: “it’s one of the staff members [we already have] going out and doing work off site,” Ulrich said.
Conway’s second question was a follow-up on Cozad’s question as to whether or not any other school districts were involved. Conway asked, “are we exploring options with other school districts if they reach out to us?” The deputy director said that as the department continues to work on its outreach efforts they could consider attempting to work with other school districts that would wish to institute a similar program in their district.
“But,” Kirkmeyer intervened, “before we would do that we’d make sure that was economical. Part of the reason we do District 6 is because there are a great number of families and children that can take advantage of this service and it makes sense for us to have [someone] stationed there.”
After one last question from Cozad in reference to St. Vrain School District, the Board took a vote. The commissioners approved the contract by a vote of 3-0.
New Business 5
The last piece of new business to come before the Board today involved the Director of the Department of Planning Services Tom Parko. The director said that over the past year his department has been working with a number of fire districts in Weld County to make all fire suppression systems and access consistent. As part of this effort, Berthoud Fire Protection District was seeking to move from following the 2012 International Fire Code to the 2018 International Fire Code.
The commissioners voted and consented to grant Berthoud Fire Protection District’s proposal by a 3-0 vote.
The first planning issue of the day saw Evan Pinkham of Department of Public Works addressing the Board. Pinkham said the department was requesting that the Board allow for the release of $31,800 in collateral the County currently holds from a company called Journey Ventures. In addition to this release of money in collateral, Department of Public Works was requesting the Board also accept $901,249 in collateral from Journey Ventures. Pinkham said this transfer and payment would go towards offsite improvements Journey Ventures is working on for the County. These improvements include work done to the County Road intersection at CR 53 and CR 58. Journey Ventures contribution to this project will amount to 14%. The company is also helping with widening CR 58 by four feet on both sides and making improvements to deceleration lanes on their worksite.
Pro-Tem Barbara Kirkmeyer asked Pinkham if these changes matched with what the commissioners originally approved. Pinkham responded that they did. Kirkmeyer was referring to prior problems with work on this contract getting done on time. Pinkham assured Kirkmeyer that this would resolve such issues going forward.
Vote was taken and the request was approved by a 3-0 vote.
The second planning matter of the day involved Department of Planning Services and its director Tom Parko. Parko said that they had made changes in proposed amendments to Chapter 24 of Weld County Code. The fixes, Parko said, revolved around the listing of some incorrect townsites in the originally proposed amendments. Planning Services removed these townsites that would have otherwise fallen under the definition for historic townsites in the newly proposed Chapter 24.
Additionally, though, the commissioners had a problem with other language in the proposed amendments.
But first, time was given for public input as this was a public hearing. No one took the opportunity to speak, though.
Commissioner Julie Cozad was then given time to address the Planning Services director. Cozad was wondering how townsites were being defined since, as she pointed out, the language in the proposed Chapter 24 would not be all-inclusive.
Parko responded, “it’s not designed to capture every [historic townsite].” Current and future development is expected to occur in areas considered historic townsites, and Planning Services wants to be ready and have all the requirements for building on a historic townsite in place when developers put in applications.
The problem the commissioners had, though, was that the proposed language was too vague. In the new Chapter 24, the words “including but not limited to” would, the commissioners felt, would create problems with applications.
Parko suggested this could be worked out in the pre-application process. But the commissioners would eventually overrule Parko on this.
Pro-Tem Barbara Kirkmeyer then brought up her puzzlement as to why subdivisions were being included as historic townsites. Kirkmeyer let this go, though, stating that this was a matter for another discussion. But her main point surrounded the phrase “including but not limited to.” In the new Chapter 24 in Weld County Code, “including but not limited to” would come directly after the phrase “or any subdivision created prior to September 20thof 1961.” Kirkmeyer suggested just deleting all that came after “1961.” This would include deleting “including but not limited to.” That way, the commissioners all agreed, the definition would be much clearer.
It should be noted that the significance of the date September 20th, 1961, had to do with the fact that was the date the County first adopted subdivision regulation.
A motion was made on whether or not to approve the deletion of all that was written following the period after “1961.” The motion passed by a vote of 3-0.
Immediately upon approving this motion the commissioners took a second vote. This vote was on whether or not to approve all of the previously discussed changes to be made to County Code (including the deletion just agreed upon). Vote was taken, and the new Chapter 24 was approved by a 3-0 vote.
The last planning discussion today again concerned the Department of Planning Services. This third planning matter was one of extra importance. It involved changing chapters in Weld County Code related to zoning and pipelines. When people talk about rules the government puts in place without involving them, these are laws being put in place that anybody can be involved in discussing (as you’ll see later in this meeting).
This was a second reading of the proposed changes, and Planning Services’ Director Tom Parko laid out a few minor changes that had so far been made since the first reading. These changes included consideration of whether a section on soil reports (23-2-520) should be moved to somewhere else in County Code, adding “and” and “terminus or end of route” to section 23-2-1020(h) and section 23-2-1130, respectively, and a few additional small changes.
Pro-Tem Barbara Kirkmeyer asked if all of these changes had been sent out to everyone participating in a work group with the commissioners on this matter. This workgroup is made up of investors, property owners, surface owners, subsurface owners and residents concerned or interested in this issue.
Parko said, “they went out to the industry last week.”
Kirkmeyer stressed, “[b]ut beyond the industry . . . did [everyone in the work group] receive copy of the changes?”
“I believe that went out to the group as well,” Parko responded.
It turned out that the changes had in fact been sent out, but they hadn’t been received until yesterday, one day prior to this second reading where the changes would be discussed. This, plus the fact that two commissioners were not present today, led the commissioners to suggest continuing this reading at a later date. The date eventually decided on for this second hearing was the September 24th Board of County Commissioners meeting. A date for a third hearing was also agreed to: the October 8th Board of County Commissioners meeting. This would provide time for the commissioners to have a worksession discussion on this matter, the Department of Public Works to hold a scheduled meeting with the oil and gas industry on September 4th and the work group to look over changes and have themselves prepared for discussions.
Kirkmeyer noticed that members of the work group and representatives from the industry were present, though, and so she opened up the hearing for public input in the case any came prepared to speak at today’s reading.
Quite a few people would take Kirkmeyer up on the offer.
First to do so was Ryan Seastrom of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association. Seastrom thanked the commissioners for continuing this reading to a later date due to the copies of all the changes from the first reading being delivered so late. Seastrom said his association still had some “outstanding concerns” they wished to see addressed and that further time would allow them to prepare and work with the departments on these concerns beforehand.
Next to speak was Jeannette Jones of Noble Energy/Noble Midstream. Jones won’t be able to make the September 24thmeeting and so she wished to address Noble’s concerns in her comments today. According to Jones, Noble’s first issue had to do with redundant regulations. Jones suggested the County didn’t need to write further mapping regulations as the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) already has such regulations in place. Noble’s second issue was with the Department of Public Works Right of Way regulations. The concern for Noble was that a road might expand into a Right of Way (the small, excess area along the side of roads) in the future and obstruct the company’s ability to put certain pipelines under certain roads (the pipeline might be too wide for the road and have to follow additional Right of Way regulations as a result then).
Greeley attorney Patrick Groom then delivered his input. Groom brought up the problem companies have been running into with currently pending applications. Some parts of these applications are in limbo until these changes to County Code are finalized. Groom made suggestion of a workaround that would allow applications to be approved and companies to be able to move forward on projects while waiting for the new County Code. The commissioners agreed with Groom’s suggestion and decided to include voting on approval of this motion in their vote at the end of the reading.
Next to speak was a farmer from Greeley named Dennis Hoshiko. Hoshiko said while he understood the need for the continuance, this delay would be burdensome for those such as himself who are being “bombarded . . . by land agents and various pipeline companies for easements and crossings across [their] properties.” Hoshiko, whose livelihood is dependent upon irrigation ditches, said he was glad to see proposed rules that would grant irrigation ditch easement owners more rights in terms of the property their ditches cover.
But Hoshiko still took strong issue with other parts of the proposed changes to County Code. For one, Hoshiko strongly urged the commissioners to make the regulations retroactive. Hoshiko complained that pipelines are not always marked, especially existing pipelines that have been in the ground for many years. Companies are required to provide property owners with a document detailing where pipelines will be buried, but these lines are not marked for those who might own the property in the future. Though irrigation ditch owners should always call 811 before excavating their ditches for routine maintenance, Hoshiko said when ditches run on for two, five or even 25 miles that 811 becomes rather impractical.
Hoshiko had a few other issues, but his main concern was with the marking and public recording of all pipelines. Some pipelines were never marked, and companies that take on old pipelines are not required to mark or record the depths of these pipelines. This has left irrigation ditch owners like Hoshiko in a dangerous situation where they could at any time inadvertently hit a gas pipeline no one knew the depth of and be burned or even killed, as has happened with irrigation ditch owners at times before.
In addition to this predicament, Hoshiko also pointed to a new bill that has just been signed into law that makes those who don’t call 811 before digging responsible for up to $75,000 in fines plus the amount of any damages caused to the pipeline. If 811 cannot absolutely guarantee where these pipelines are at and their depths, then irrigation ditch owners are left in a bind.
Hoshiko also brought attention to County taxpayer money having to be spent on pipelines that weren’t buried deep enough when they were first installed, the fact that these rules have been two years in the waiting, during which time “several hundred miles of pipelines have already been built,” and to his protest of exemptions for pipelines less than 12 inches in diameter.
After Hoshiko finished, Kirkmeyer gave time for questions and comments from the Board.
Commissioner Julie Cozad said she wished to have something on the record. In response to Hoshiko’s comments about the exemptions, Cozad said, “[m]ost of the pipelines that are coming through the County are going through a process, and they’re going through either a land use process, and if they’re not they still have to go through a Right of Way process for county roads. And so, they are being reviewed by our Public Works department.”
All of the commissioners thanked Hoshiko for his time and asked that he continue to participate in this matter via worksessions and meetings.
The last individual to speak was Matthew Norton. The address Norton provided is the location of Rinn Valley Properties in Longmont. Norton spoke in defense of 811. He stressed the importance that people always call before they dig, even for long 25-mile ditches, as Norton said 811 has ways to accommodate these requests.
Kirkmeyer then asked if pipeline owners themselves were required to go out and report the depths of pipelines, especially those they have acquired from previous owners.
“We’re not required to,” Norton answered.
“And that would be the problem,” Kirkmeyer shot back. She added that laws the County was now forced to follow “worked to fix the problem for the oil and gas industry yet caused a major issue for the agriculture industry.”
The Board then moved to vote on whether or not to approve the workaround that would allow applications to be approved while waiting for changes to County Code, the continuation of this reading to the September 24th Board of County Commissioners meeting and the third reading on this matter taking place during the commissioners’ October 8th meeting.
All three motions were approved by a 3-0 vote.
At the end of today's meeting Pro-Tem Barbara Kirkmeyer made an admission that she had solicited funds for a 2016 training conference. This training conference took place in Breckenridge and provided emergency management training to County employees. The commissioner admitted to directly asking Xcel energy if they would contribute to the tab to pay for this training conference. Kirkmeyer said, “I need to correct the record. After other information came forward, I did not remember doing this, but apparently I did. So, I just want to make sure that the record is correct, that I did actually garner funds or solicit funds from Xcel in July of 2016 for [the emergency management] training.”