JOANN KALENAK, DCCR SENIOR BLOGGER — At today’s public meeting, Delta County Commissioners agreed to write a resolution opposing Ballot Initiative 16 after being asked to do so by the Delta County Livestock Association.
Administrator, cattle rancher and beef retailer Robbie LeValley presented the request to commissioners implying that the bill’s title was misleading. “As you know, Initiative 16 is titled “Protect Animals from Unnecessary Suffering and Exploitation” and while the title seems very innocuous, the devil is in the details,” said LeValley. She went on to focus on a section of the initiative that defines the natural lifespan of common livestock species and restricting the harvest of these animals until they have lived at least one quarter of their defined natural lifespan. Restrictions to the veterinarian industry were also mentioned.
Under the initiative’s lifespan definition for a cow, for example, it could not be slaughtered for meat until it reached five years of age, or one quarter of its defined lifespan of 20 years. USDA Slaughter and Grade Standards currently lists 30-42 months as a minimum age qualification for processing of prime, choice and select grades.
LeValley explained that because of the vague language and the lifespan definitions, this initiative “would permanently harm not only the veterinary industry but also the livestock industry.”
“Just another attempt to adversely affect our way of life and the livestock industry in general,” said Commission and Board Chairman Mike Lane.
Commissioner Koontz motioned that staff draft a resolution opposing the initiative “as overreach on state government’s part and unnecessary interference on the livestock and veterinarian industry.” NOTE: This is citizen-initiated ballot measure to amend Colorado State Statute (and not government-initiated) and is in the signature gathering phase.
FROM THE FILED BALLOT INITIATIVE:
(3.5)“NATURAL LIFESPAN” FOR THE FOLLOWING SPECIES SHALL BE EXPLICITLY DEFINED HERE BASED ON STATISTICAL ESTIMATES: A COW LIVES TO 20 YEARS, A CHICKEN LIVES TO 8 YEARS, A TURKEY LIVES TO 10 YEARS, A DUCK LIVES TO 6 YEARS, A PIG LIVES TO 15 YEARS, A SHEEP LIVES TO 15 YEARS, A RABBIT LIVES TO 6 YEARS.
(1.9)ANY PERSON WHO SLAUGHTERS LIVESTOCK IN ACCORDANCE WITH ACCEPTED AGRICULTURAL ANIMAL HUSBANDRY PRACTICES DOES NOT VIOLATE THE PROVISIONS OF SUBSECTION (1) OF THIS SECTION SO LONG AS THE ANIMAL HAS LIVED ONE QUARTER OF THEIR NATURAL LIFESPAN BASED ON SPECIES, BREED, AND TYPE OF ANIMAL AND THE ANIMAL IS SLAUGHTERED IN SUCH A WAY THAT THE ANIMAL DOES NOT NEEDLESSLY SUFFER.
The ball’s in your court, Commissioners
Delta County Commissioners now have the option to exempt up to 100% of business personal property from the levy and collection of property taxation for the 2021 property tax year. Senate Bill 130, which was signed into law last week, is designed to help businesses in the next tax year by eliminating some of their tax burden.
During today’s COVID-19 Response Report, Commissioners did not discuss this important new way to help local businesses impacted by the pandemic restrictions. Instead, Commissioner Don Suppes took the opportunity to caution business owners “not to fall into that trap” as he referred to Governor Polis’ “stupid decision” to allow gatherings of unmasked people if 80% or more had been vaccinated. Counter to the Center for Disease Control’s HIPAA and COVID-19 vaccination guidelines, Suppes falsely reasoned that asking for proof of vaccination is a violation of HIPAA’s Privacy Rule. Under the rule, individuals may freely provide their personal vaccination information.
More tasty bites
Delta County has a new Land-use Code Compliance Officer. Carl Holm, the county’s head of planning, announced at last week’s Planning Commission meeting that he had hired Olathe resident Daniel Castle to the position.
Planning Commissioner Tate Locke, a local builder, told fellow commissioners, “People [are] buying lots and [are] needing to address because there are few houses to buy, so people are buying land. We’re in a period of extreme growth.” This comment came after Planning Director Carl Holm told Planning Commissioners that the department has seen 26 addressing requests in a single day.
Commission Wendell Koontz will host his first “Coffee with a Commish” meet-and-greet at the Coaltrain in Hotchkiss this Friday, May 7 at 7:30 am. It’s a good time to voice your feelings about local government activity — if you’re out and about that early.
Delta County Commissioners selected Hardy Hutto, owner of Hutto Construction in Cedaredge, to fill a District 2 open seat on the Planning Commission.
County Administrator Robbie LeValley announced that Delta County had recently received National Forest Payments to the tune of $169,953.86. The money is from a USDA Forest Service program dubbed “Secure Rural Schools” and is earmarked to support public schools, roads and other municipal services.
“The Secure Rural Schools program is one of many ways the Forest Service supports rural communities as a good neighbor,” said Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen. “This support is part of USDA’s ongoing commitment to work hand-in-hand with community leaders and to provide vital economic relief to local communities.”
Delta County school district will receive $72,230.40 of the funding; county road and bridge will receive $72,230.39; and county emergency services will receive $25,493.07.