May 10

Snapshot - May 2, 2023 Work Session

Posted on May 10, 2023 at 2:22 PM by Courtney Pogue

The Work Session on Tuesday began with an update from the Transportation Department’s Coordinator, Kevin Bruce. The latest on the new Transit Facility was presented noting that the request for proposal had been completed and the department is now waiting for NEPA approval through the Federal Transit Administration. (Note: as of the evening of 5/2/23, approval was received from the FTA and an invitation to bid will be put out on May 18, 2023.) The Transportation Department was recently awarded $114,000 in grant funds to design and engineer a Park & Ride location in Aspen Springs. The property for the Park & Ride location is currently owned by CDOT and will be deeded to Archuleta County in the next one to two months. Davis Engineering has been approached to begin concept drawings. CDOT does have concerns with the distance between Hwy 160 and the bridge across Stollsteimer which is only 150 feet as opposed to the suggested distance of 250 feet. Bruce is looking at partnering with local agencies like the School District to relocate a bus stop and PAWSD for a possible water filling station. The process has begun to apply for grant funding to get the parking lot paved and there could be possibilities for electric vehicle (EV) charging stations and extending the Bustang route beyond Bayfield to include Aspen Springs. 

To increase ridership, Bruce has been conducting outreach to local groups like Vets4Vets, the Chamber of Commerce, Department of Human Services and the Rotary Club. From June to August Mountain Express Transit (MET) will participate in the Zero Fare for Better Air initiative, during Colorado’s high ozone season. 

The Transportation Department is expected to receive a new bus anticipating delivery in May with a second bus in the pipeline to be delivered in the 4th quarter of 2023 or the 1st quarter of 2024. With the second bus, a spare will be available for unexpected breakdowns. Regular route buses rack up about 3,000 miles per month which require regular maintenance and costly repairs as they age. Commissioner Maez requested a current cost analysis of bus repairs over their lifetime. A competitive funding opportunity (FY 23 5339B) through the FTA has been applied for to support state and local efforts to buy or modernize buses, improve bus facilities, and support workforce development. Lease options for ADA accessible buses are under review. 

The MET services to Durango through Arboles continue on a weekly basis and the bus drivers really stepped up during the closure of CO 151 due to flooding. Currently the route from Arboles to Pagosa is full on a regular basis. 

The Transportation Department is working with the town to identify new and safer locations for bus stops. Mostly to relocate them from busy parking lots providing safety and ADA access. These stops are currently in the Town rights-of-way and talks related to installation and maintenance are in the works. The Town Council has approved purchasing new shelters and will take around 30 weeks to receive once ordered. Consideration for a cluster stop at the new Pagosa Springs Apartments is under review. 

Next year the National RTAP will require location stops for all bus routes be added to their General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) system for stop locations to be visible universally on all mapping sites like Google and Apple maps. A social media push is working to increase ridership along with streamlining the website to find routes and fees more easily.

County Manager Woodman gave an update on the Public Health Department Transition to include that interviews for Public Health Director have been scheduled for May 12, 2023, and that two Public Health Directors in the surrounding area will be part of the interview process. Woodman presented on the status of the Nurse Family Partnership program and noted that the program must maintain 50-60 clients to receiving state funding. This is currently a 3 County program shared with La Plata and San Juan. A verbal memorandum of understanding (MOU) has been established with La Plata County for Archuleta County to receive its portion of the funding and discussion on WIC has been postponed due to budget. 

Woodman’s Admin Report updated the BoCC on an upcoming meeting between the County Public Works Department and the Town of Pagosa Springs to come to an agreement on the responsibility for maintenance of a certain section on Light Plant Road. Back in the 90’s the Town received funding from CDOT to pave a portion of Light Plant Road paved on the basis that the Town would be responsible for maintaining the road to include patching asphalt. The Town believes that this section of road is the responsibility of the County, but based on this agreement with CDOT the County believes otherwise. 

The River Access Lease Agreement with PAWSD is in the drafting process for visitors and residents to have access through a gate on Dry Creek. Access would be available from May – September. 

Heavy equipment repair quotes were reported and to bring the landfill bulldozer to operable condition comes with a cost of $180,000 compared to purchasing new for over one million dollars.  Commissioner Maez commented that with such a low tax rate the County budget for repairs cannot keep up with inflation and that most of the heavy equipment used in the County is from the 80’s. Woodman commented that the Fleet department would be over budget by $400,000 from the unexpected repairs and increase in the price of fuel but is hopeful that any leftover budget money from other departments will offset the overage.

Items of mutual interest were brought up next with Commissioner Brown informing the BoCC that there is an opening on the San Juan Basin Public Health Board. The term would only be filled until December 31, 2023, and it would be helpful to fill the position with someone who has the experience and expertise to be appointed. Brown instructed staff to advertise the position and follow policy in the recruitment process. The SJBPH board prefers not to add additional services during the Public Health Department transition. 

Commissioner Medina updated the BoCC on the Durango Wine Experience event which helped raise funds for Archuleta Seniors and informed everyone that there are still tickets available for the 1st annual Kentucky Derby party to raise funds for Archuleta Seniors Inc. The event will be held at the Tennyson Event Center on Saturday May 6, 2023, from 3pm to 6pm. 

At a recent Rotary Club meeting RISE presented and would like to recruit Short Term Rental Owners to provide temporary housing for those in need experiencing domestic violence and sexual assault. Medina asked if the County could possibly offset costs to include taxes, fees, etc. 

The Los Pinos Fire Station had its grand opening recently in Arboles which includes two fire trucks, one brush fire truck and an ambulance. Medina commented that the facility is “very nice”.

Commissioner Medina asked for a status update on restroom facilities at Cloman Park which County Manager Woodman responded that they have been ordered. Medina would like to push for further use of the park to include an event center and see utilities brought in as soon as possible with the option to use Parks & Rec funds to pursue. Woodman also noted that the disc golf improvement construction will be pushed out to the weekend of May 13, 2023, and are waiting on the snow to melt for installation of the approved concrete tee boxes. 

Medina recently toured Seeds of Learning where she was informed on the included health screening services provided to the children by San Juan Basic Health Department and would like to see those services incorporated into the new County Health Department. 

For more information visit the agenda and minutes web page to sign up for notifications and view recordings of work sessions and regular meetings of the BoCC. 

May 10

Snapshot - April 25, 2023 Work Session

Posted on May 10, 2023 at 2:16 PM by Courtney Pogue

In Tuesday’s Work Session, Seeds of Learning presented to the BoCC an expansion project to double the size of the early care and education center. The expansion will include a commercial kitchen, four additional classrooms and two fenced play areas. Seeds offers care and education to children from two and a half to 5 years in age. They offer a sliding scale for tuition based on household income with the current student population consisting of 51% at-risk and 80% low income. Seeds of Learning has been in business for over 25 years and is NAEYC accredited with Level 4 status with Colorado Shines. Being in the Town Limits, Seeds has requested .25 acres from the Town Council with no requests from Archuleta County. 

County Manager, Derek Woodman, gave an update on the Public Health Department Transition. Woodman discussed programs currently offered by San Juan Basin Public Health including WIC, Nurse- Family Partnership (NFP) and Oral Health. WIC currently offers services to an average of 230-250 clients. In Archuleta County, 12,000 residents are eligible for health insurance through the Child Health Plan (CHP) and Nurse-Family Partnership provides specially trained nurses to regularly visit first-time moms starting early in pregnancy through the child’s second birthday. The Oral Health Program has a dental hygienist on staff and recently provided services to 168 children in the area. Woodman also noted there are currently three qualified applicants for the new County Public Health Director position and is facilitating the interview process to include two professionals in the public health field. Interviews are scheduled for May 11th, 2023.

To discuss and recommend the closure of the Pagosa Junction Bridge, Public Works Director, Kevin Pogue, reported to the BoCC that due to the failing structural integrity of the bridge, closure is required. The BoCC was provided with a bridge inspection report completed in October of 2022 from the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) prepared by Stantec. In November 2022, CDOT sent a notification letter with a 90-day timeframe to remediate all issues listed in said report. The County Public Works and Transportation departments, as well as, County Administration have been petitioning the Southern Ute Tribe for years to gain right of way access in order to make these much-needed repairs. The last communication from the County to the Tribe in January 2023 reassuring there would be no cost to them and low to no impact of Tribal land was not returned. 

Currently, the bridge is being overtaxed by privately owned entities using haul trucks exceeding the current weight restriction of seven tons. The County has received noise complaints from local residents of these haul trucks operating during nighttime hours; and with these challenges the County has no choice but to close the bridge on the lower portion of County Road 500 beginning Friday May 5th, 2023, for the safety of residents and travelers in the area. The bridge will be blocked using concrete barriers and proper signage will be posted. Once Tribal approval is received, the County plans to replace the Pagosa Junction Bridge with a prefabricated structure reducing cost and installation time to resume service in a timely manner. The Commissioners offered their thoughts and concerns regarding the closure and future use of a new bridge including delays for emergency services and possible weight restrictions and implementation of Special Use Permits. 

In the admin report presented by County Manager Derek Woodman he reminded the BoCC that he would be attending the Colorado City & County Management Association Annual Conference this week and will attend a meeting with PAWSD on Saturday to gain river front access to Dry Creek and appoint a lease agreement. 

The items of mutual interest portion of the session included Commissioner Medina mentioning the Durango Wine Experience supporting Archuleta Seniors and that the non-profit received a $2,500 grant. Commissioner Medina brought up the Big Spring Clean and noted that the Arboles Transfer Station will be included and that the Transfer Station will accept regular household trash (for a fee), dry paint, grass clippings, tree branches etc. This event is only for Archuleta County residents and proof of residence will be required. In the manner of full transparency, Commissioner Medina would like to see the budget for the new Public Health Department amended to reflect a clear line item where one million dollars was earmarked from the County General Fund. And, to add a line item for housing where funds will generate from a portion of Short-Term Rental fees.

Commissioner Maez expressed his concerns regarding the BoCC attending Department Head meetings led by County Manager Derek Woodman. All Commissioners agreed that they would attend if County Manager Woodman invited them to the meetings or requested their presence.  

County Attorney Todd Weaver reported on attending a meeting with San Juan Headwaters. There was discussion behind the reasoning to discontinue plans for a gravel pit and a social trail system at Jackson Mountain. This decision was due to realizing the negative impact on wildlife migration. Weaver expressed his concern at this meeting for the need of gravel on county and forest service roads in Archuleta County. Weaver shared an invitation to the BoCC to attend a film screening documenting the success of containing and extinguishing the Plumtaw fire. This event will be held on May 17, 2023, at 6pm in the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts. 

County Manager Woodman reminded the BoCC that a joint work session with the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association (PLPOA) is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday May 2nd, 2023. Woodman discussed that a resolution has been drafted opposing SB23-213 which gives the state ability to take over control of land use development at the county level. The BoCC is working to protect the community and citizens of Archuleta County. The state bill would mandate allowing multiple residences on a single property. 

Commissioner Brown recognized the combined efforts of the Pagosa Springs CDC, The Town of Pagosa Springs, Archuleta County and Eric Hittle to designate the community as broadband ready with the completion of all 12 levels of work which will allow preferential consideration for grants. 

Apr 20

Snapshot - April 18, 2023 Work Session/Regular Meeting

Posted on April 20, 2023 at 8:37 AM by Courtney Pogue

Work Session - Tuesday’s work session kicked off with a request from Pagosa Springs Medical Center CEO, Dr. Rhonda Webb. The Upper San Juan Health Services District is applying for a grant from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) for one million dollars to remodel a neighboring building purchased in August 2022. This building will expand the orthopedics and physical therapy departments to increase timely and quality care for their patients to include wellness promotion for the local community.

Followed by Dr. Webb, was a presentation from San Juan Basin Public Health Director of Public Health Innovation, Adrian Uzunian to give an update on the latest Community Health Assessment Survey data collection and Public Health Improvement Plan to meet the health needs of our community by “setting priorities, planning and program development, policy changes, coordination of community resources, funding applications, and new ways to collaboratively use community assets to improve the health of the population.”

Samie Stephens from the SJBPH department was also present to give her update on our regional epidemiology.  The foundational capabilities of her program focus on emergency preparedness and response along with communicable disease prevention, investigation, and control. To sum up on recorded cases in Archuleta County for 2002, the top communicable diseases recorded were COVID-19, Chlamydia, Salmonella and Influenza-associated hospitalizations.

To give a semi-annual update on the Fleet Department, Fleet Manager, Mike Torres discussed the use of field transaction reports using the RTA system saving time and money to track breakdowns, repair process and inventory of parts in real-time. The Fleet Department serves 19 departments within the Archuleta County Government and provides about 20 preventative services per week. Major repairs to one motor grader and dozer are being outsourced and quotes are being reviewed to capitalize on cost and time savings within their department to focus on daily services. With the hiring of a new Service Writer, the Fleet department is also accepting applications for mechanics.

Archuleta County’s Veteran Services Officer, Raymond Taylor, gave the State Board of Veteran Affairs quarterly update. The greatest challenge faced by the department is transportation of Veterans to VA Hospitals for medical care including appointments and surgeries. This is especially concerning because most of the service locations can range from New Mexico all the way to Wyoming and sometimes Utah. By the time a patient is discharged there could be a 4-hour turnaround time and Veterans are released into an unfamiliar place with no local contacts.

The Public Health Department update by County Manager, Derek Woodman, began with a report on his visit to the SJBPH building where he met three current employees with combined experience equaling over 60 years. The goal is to recruit these employees for the new County Public Health Department opening to the public in January 2024 to seamlessly transition without service interruption to the residents of Archuleta County. The building includes suitable offices and exam rooms to support continued operations. At the joint work session between CDPHE and Transitional Oversight Committee environmental health, on-site wastewater, septic systems, and food safety programs were discussed. There are currently three applicants for the position of Public Health Director and a hiring committee will be appointed for interviews to begin in the next two weeks.

The Admin Report included an update on the arrival of a new compactor for the landfill which is an adequate size to do a much better job of the compaction of trash in hopes of extending the life of our local landfill. The County Landfill is a service provided for convenience and cost-saving to local residents that is not statutorily required by the State. The Clerk & Recorder Office requested the BoCC’s support of a letter requesting amendments be made to SB 23-276 which includes modifications to laws regarding elections. County Manager Woodman presented an invoice from San Juan Basin Public Health Department in the amount of $292,000 which was based on a price of $21.22 per resident. This amount has significantly increased from last year and the Commissioners have requested a review of the amended budget along with held reserves.

Other items of mutual interest consisted of a letter of support request from Build Pagosa presented by Commissioner Medina to receive a grant for the building of a Regional Workforce Center in order to champion our high school student’s vocational skills to build our future local workforce. Commissioner Medina also commended the Road & Bridge Department for their efforts last week in the flooding mitigation of multiple roads due to accelerated snowmelt and clogged culverts. Commissioner Brown gave a report on his recent trip to Denver for a CCI Steering Committee meeting which included updates on property taxes, health care policy and financing, behavioral health administration, early childhood and public lands.

Regular Meeting - Proclamations this week were declared for both Child Abuse and Neglect Awareness Month along with National Library Week. Both are imperative to the safety, growth and quality of life of our young citizens who deserve the opportunity to grow in a safe and stable environment. Our DHS Child Welfare Department was recognized for their tireless efforts in promoting the safety of children in our community and strengthening families. The Commissioners all commented on the dependability of libraries, their inclusiveness and accessibility for all members of the community.

The BoCC approved a special event permit to sell alcohol at the Boots, Barrels and Bling Fundraiser for Our Savior Lutheran Preschool and School. They also approved a license renewal for local business, Pagosa Liquor. All fees were collected, proper postings completed and are in good standing with the proper authorities. The Consent Agenda included un-consolidating one lot into 2 lots in Aspen Springs Subdivision No. 4 and ratifying the Chairman’s signature on a letter selecting Jviation, a Woolpert Company, to provide engineering services for the Archuleta County Airport.

In old business, the BoCC approved a resolution Establishing a County Public Health Department and Transitional Board of Health. At the April 4, 2023 meeting, public comment was received to revise the resolution with changes recommended by the County’s Public Health Department Transitional Advisory Committee. The resolution was tabled at that meeting; joint sessions and meetings were later fulfilled to collaborate with TAC on amendments to the resolution.

New business included adopting the 2023 Hazard Mitigation Plan 5 year renewal presented by Emergency Operations Commander, Ryan Foster; consideration and approval to install Wi-Fi equipment on the County Administration Building to be paid for and serviced by the Town of Pagosa Springs in an effort to improve internet connectivity for event coordinators, vendors, and attendees; and consideration and approval of a letter of support for the Upper San Juan Health Service Grant application to remodel a recently purchased building extending health care services.