Commissioners support Club 20, others suggested Congressional redistricting


JOANN KALENAK, DCCR BLOGGER — At this morning’s regular business meeting, Delta County Commissioners agreed to support a suggested congressional map redraw (pictured above) advocated by Club 20, Action 22 and Pro 15. The current map will be re-examined following new population data revealed by the 2020 Census, prompting the need for lawmakers to reapportion the number of congressional seats in Colorado and other states.

The suggested map illustrates a “community of interest” and “should therefore be kept whole” according the Club 20 and other supporters.

“The Western Slope counties share interests on policies such as water, federal lands, forestry and wildfires, agriculture, environment, infrastructure, and outdoor recreation. This region is united by more than just geography. Our culture, economy, and way of life are uniting bonds,” states Club 20 on their website.

Under the suggested redraw, District 3 would shed Custer, Pueblo and Huerfano counties and gain Grand, Summit, East Eagle, Park, Teller, and Chaffee counties. The district is currently represented by Lauren Boebert of Silt, CO.

Colorado Independent Congressional Redistricting Commissioners Criteria for Drawing Congressional District Map must:

  • Have equal population, justifying each variance, no matter how small, as required by the U.S. Constitution;
  • Be composed of contiguous geographic areas;
  • Comply with the federal “Voting Rights Act of 1965,” as amended;
  • Preserve whole communities of interest and whole political subdivisions, such as counties, cities, and towns;
  • Be as compact as is reasonably possible; and
  • Maximize the number of politically competitive districts.

    County to improve road to North Fork High

    Commissioners agreed to invest an estimated $40-50K to resurface and widen the road to North Fork High School, the new name for the combined Paonia and Hotchkiss schools, in Hotchkiss. Since Bulldog Street, renamed Miner’s Way, is not a county road, Delta County School District asked Commissioners for help to improve the access in anticipation of added traffic in the fall. With safety as a paramount concern, Commissioners agreed that this project “is a good use of taxpayer dollars and would benefit all of Delta County’s residents,” said Commissioner Don Suppes.

    Police shooting investigation passes to DA

    Delta County Sheriff Mark Taylor told commissioners that the independent Critical Incident Team (CIT) had concluded their investigation into the shooting death of local Paige Yvonne Pierce by a still unnamed Delta County police officer.

    “The report is on my desk and once I’ve fully reviewed it, I will be able to speak more freely about the incident,” said Taylor.

    When asked if Taylor could provide more details, he informed Commissioners that the matter had now been passed on to the district attorney and that an internal investigation was also being conducted to review his department’s policies and procedures as they pertain to the incident.

    “We’re committed to transparency and all of the information will come out when concluded,” said Taylor.

    Commissioners to examine COVID-19 relief programs amid federal windfall

    Commissioner Suppes told DCCR that the county would be looking into a new tax exemption program as well as hold discussions on what to do with a $6 million windfall to the county from the American Rescue Plan Act. Both programs are designed to provide financial relief after more than a year under pandemic restrictions.

    Senate Bill 130, which was recently signed into law and designed to help lessen the tax burden for qualified businesses, would allow local government to exempt up to 100% of business personal property tax for 2021.

    The American Rescue Plan Act offers COVID-19 pandemic relief funds that can be used for public health emergency or its negative economic impacts, including assistance to households, small businesses, and nonprofits, or aid to impacted industries such as tourism, travel, and hospitality; response to workers performing essential work during the COVID-19 public health emergency by providing premium pay to eligible workers; government services to the extent of the reduction in revenue due to the COVID–19 public health emergency relative to revenues collected in the most recent full fiscal year prior to the emergency; and to make necessary investments in water, sewer, or broadband infrastructure.

    The funds may not be used for depositing funds into any pension fund, or to “directly or indirectly offset a reduction in the net tax revenue.

    More tasty bites

    A public lands clean-up day is planned for May 22 starting at 8am in part of Delta County’s adobe flats area. Organizers will gather at the corner of Trap Club and Fairview roads. Dumpsters, trash bags and other equipment will be provided and the public is encouraged to lend a hand.

    Commissioners approved a $880K bid from Golder Associates to expand the Adobe Flats Landfill’s southern field. “If we can get this going, we could extend the life of the landfill 25 more years. [I’m] very happy with this proposal,” said Commissioner Suppes. Commissioners expected much higher bid costs.

    Commissioners approved the first amendment to the new land-use code’s Board of Adjustment rules to clarify who has standing in an appeal and to clarify the timeline it takes to process an appeal. Read the new language starting in page 56.