HIGHLIGHTS, May 21, 2018, County Commissioners Meeting

  • Commissioners approved two lists of names for appointment to special working groups as part of extended study born from the updated Master Plan.

Elyse Casselberry, county community and economic development director, presented nominees for the Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) Working Group: Tom Kay, Patrick Dooling, Les Mergelman, Steve Harper, Jacob Gray, Dave Whittlesey.

Casselberry commented, “This group has its hands full. Here is where we have a lot of say in regulation development.”

Casselberry also presented nominations for the Oil and Gas Working Group: Alex Johnson, Shane Sobotka, Wendell Koontz, Michael Cleary, Natasha Léger, Mark Waltermire, Eric Sanford.

Commissioner Suppes expressed concern about the “lack of balance” in this team. “This group has the potential for long-lasting effects,” said Suppes.

Casselberry explained that the addition of Shane Sobotka of Solar Energy International was the result of a letter submitted by SEI “to make sure there are no unintended consequences that would impact the solar industry” and that Shane would be an “education-based partner.”

Both groups are expected to work through the summer and make recommendations by early September.

  • Commissioner Atchley entered a letter of complaint from Citizen Report into the official record as part of an explanation concerning an unnoticed addition to the board’s May 7 public meeting. A new county policy and resolution outlines that any additions to a previously noticed agenda can only be approved under extraordinary circumstances, and then, must be explained at the time the addition is requested. Commissioner Atchley told constituents that the parties involved in the May 7 public meeting had already been notified that they would meet with commissioners and an emailed request to be added to the agenda was found “missing” on the morning of the meeting.

Commissioners instructed staff to move the deadline for agenda item requests and information from Thursday afternoon to Wednesday, prior to a Monday public meeting, to give more time to produce a complete agenda.

Read Citizen Report’s letter of complaint.

  • Commissioners appointed an in-house team to study how best to include public meeting information that would accompany online agendas. County staff produces a packet of printed information for each commissioner to study before a public meeting. The new team will investigate how to scan and hyperlink this information so that the public may have the opportunity to read the information being discussed and considered prior to the meeting.

The staff members asked to serve on the team are John Baier, county attorney; Robbie LeValley, county administrator; Teri Stephenson, clerk and recorder; and Elyse Casselberry, county community and economic development director.

The team’s creation is a result of Citizen Report’s negotiations for more transparency and better open meetings.The County’s new liaison for oil and gas regulation compliance Tony Vervloet met with commissioners to present his first quarterly report. Vervloet presented commissioners with a suggested “job description” and explained the need to clearly define his duties. Also, as part of his training, he talked about meeting with various oil and gas developers in the region including representatives from SG Interests and Gunnison Energy. His main focus at the moment, however, is a review of the Mancos Plan and a written comment letter before a June 9 deadline.


  • County Health and Human Services staff talked with commissioners about possible cuts in child care services especially in the areas of foster and group home care. Staff wants to find ways to provide more services to children who would do best remaining in the family home.


  • In resolution, Commissioners initiated a Stage One Fire Ban until further notice. What is Prohibited: No building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire, campfire, or stove fire except in Forest Service developed recreation sites (not including dispersed camping areas). No smoking except in an enclosed vehicle or building, or in specific developed recreation sites.


  • Mark and Cheryl Husmann, managers of Blake Field Airport, met with commissioners to report a 45% increase in traffic and a 59% increase in fuel sales at the airport. Cheryl also updated commissioners on the new runway installation saying construction was on schedule.