New head of planning has a lot on his plate


Delta County Independent reporter Lisa Young interviewed Carl Holm, the county’s new Community and Natural Resource Director. The Q&A formatted article revealed Holm’s extensive planning background, current focus and future goals for the county’s planning department.

“Definitely the implementation of the new land use codes (is the current focus). For me, the long-term goal is really getting a planning department set up and operating with all the different functions that go with it. There’s the planning part of it, the enforcement part of it and really developing it into good procedures, a good consistent way of approaching things, making sure things are transparent for everybody,” said Holm.

The County’s planning development has long been criticized for incomplete application filings, inconsistent practices and procedures and a lack of enforcement. The department has also been plagued by controversial staffing and unfair compensation practices. The current county planner, Kelly Yeager, for example, was paid close to $95K in 2020 and $89K in 2019, while all preceding county planners have earned less than $55K per year. NOTE: The county planner works for the Community and Natural Resource Director.

Photo by Joel Angel Juárez/Monterey County Weekly

Fee for recycling at North Fork Transfer Station emanate?

This week, Delta County Commissioners put out a request for proposals for recycling services at the North Fork Transfer Station and Recycling Center. The summary request says that the county “is seeking a service provider, (Contractor), who will be proactive in helping the county manage recyclables most cost-effectively. … It is intended that the successful bidder will be the driving force behind increased diversion working in partnership with county staff and system users.”

The RFP comes on the heels of County Commissioner discussions (outside of public meetings) to make changes to the Station’s recycling project despite community pushback. District 2 Commissioner Don Suppes seems to be leading the charge citing rising costs, user misuse and unfair subsidizing. NOTE: The Station is located in District 3 and, while a countywide facility, it’s used extensively by North Fork residents.

The NF Transfer Station currently sits on a $50,000 reserve, while the landfill reserve hovers around $2 million.

Bill wants to “get politics out of health care”

Hundreds of government health directors across the U.S. have become the public face of the fight against COVID-19 and the restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the virus. In an effort to insulate public health experts from politics — and promote public health decisions that are driven by expertise and not political pressures — Colorado lawmakers are planning to introduce two bills in the 2021 session.

“I get that this pandemic has become really politicized and I get that it’s become really polarized, but I was really surprised that this is being directed to me as an individual in my home,” said San Juan Basin Public Health Director, Liane Jollon.

We’ve seen it locally, too. County Commissioners have battered state and local health care agencies about their continued education on hand-washing, mask-wearing and social distancing during the pandemic claiming their messaging is fear-mongering and is hurting our economy. Commissioner Don Suppes voted TWICE not to reinstate the county-proclaimed state of emergency.

Commissioners later allowed the state of emergency to completely lapse on Sept. 2, 2020, at the height of the local pandemic outbreak.

One of the bills mentioned has just been introduced by Cathy Kipp, D-Fort Collins, and seeks to take the politics out of public health decisions by banning county commissioners from serving on the board of health in their governing area.

Delta County’s Board of Health has five members, three of which are County Commissioners maintaining a board majority. It’s important to note, none of our Commissioners have health care backgrounds or expertise in a health related field.

Colorado State Rep. Matt Soper, R, and County Commissioner Don Suppes have declared their opposition to the bill.

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