Larimer County and Town of Berthoud launch new citizen information format
By Rudy Hemmann
The kick-off meeting which ushered in the first joint session with both Berthoud Mayor Will Karspeck and District Three County Commissioner Tom Donnelly in attendance was held Wednesday morning May 8.
Bonnie Glass from the Office on Aging (OoA) which is a volunteer group that meets once per month in Fort Collins, put out a call to individuals from the Berthoud area to join the group. She stated there was a need for citizens from southern Larimer County to become involved in the OoA.
Donnelly stated the OoA did a lot of good work in support of the senior citizen population of the county. He specifically mentioned the guide for seniors that offers information concerning senior issues.
According to Donnelly one of the challenges the county faces is getting a broad county-wide representation on the various county boards and commissions. He informed the group there are approximately 30 boards and commissions that advise the county commissioners on a “variety of different topics ranging from parks to land use to senior issues to public safety issues.”
He went on to state county government “can become somewhat Fort Collins centric,” so it is up to the county residents who live outside of Fort Collins to remind them that the county is bigger than just Fort Collins. Being a part of a board or commission is a way for citizens to have their voices heard. “I always encourage residents from the more rural parts of the county to become involved,” said Donnelly.
He went on to state that he hoped the new format for the citizen information meetings would make it easier for people to attend the sessions. He said he realizes people are busy and changing the meetings to include the mayors to lead the meetings would be beneficial in that county residents could meet with two of their elected representatives in an informal setting.
Donnelly reported on a 15-member oil and gas task force recently established by the county. He stated the county had no supplemental regulations governing land use, hours of operation, truck routing, etc. for oil and gas exploration. Last year the commissioners decided to establish the task force to assist the commissioners in developing regulations for oil and gas exploration within Larimer County. Donnelly informed that the 15 members were selected from a pool of approximately 95 to 100 applicants.
He went on to report that the 15 members would be approved by the commissioners at their regular meeting next Tuesday and that the task force would begin meeting by mid-June. Donnelly stated he envisions the task force taking at least 6 months to provide the commissioners with a finished product.
In closing, he also mentioned over-crowding at the county jail, especially on the weekends. The facility itself is 36-years-old. The kitchen and the laundry are both 35-years-old and there is no medical treatment facility at the jail.
The county commissioners are leaning toward using Certificates of Participation (COPs) to pay for extensive renovations at the jail. The COPs are similar to bonds and the funds borrowed by the COPs are paid back over time.
The Larimer County Comprehensive Plan was the last item which Donnelly spoke to. The comprehensive plan is a 30,000-foot view of how you want your county to look. The current comprehensive plan the county is working under was last reviewed in 1997. The next large document to be tackled by the county planning commission will be the county land use code.
The meeting closed with a quick overview of the Mountain Avenue Corridor Project from Highway 287 to the west to Interstate 25 interchange to the east.
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