Busy day at the county offices

Otero County Emergency Manager Danny Chavez reports that, after due consideration, he, fire chiefs of various districts and Otero County Sheriff Shawn Mobley have decided to leave Fire Restrictions at Stage 2 for the county. These restrictions forbid outdoor burning without permission of the relevant fire district. The moisture content is still lower than necessary to remove the ban, and human caused fires are down by 70 percent.

County Clerk Sharon Sisnroy reported the expected rush in the clerk’s office for automobile registration and drivers licenses has occurred. If you can wait, do, but do not go one day over your expiration date for renewal. The state is enforcing overdue penalties for even one day over. Also, the new rules specify that a 2018 car bought at any time in 2018 will be charged the entire first year taxes, rather than pro-rated as was formerly the rule.

Sisnroy also requested exemption from the over $5000 goes to bid rule for the firm currently engaged in digitizing the county’s records. They have been working at it since 1993 and will finish in approximately 20 years, at an estimated cost of $53,056.12. She believes switching to another firm would not help the process and might set them back considerably. The commissioners agreed.

All transactions are now forwarded to the state live, and no local records will be retained. Also, a clerk who is away from a customer for five minutes must be signed back in by the supervisor, which has resulted in slowing down rather than speeding up the counter time.

Human Services Director Donna Rohde requested not more than $51, 840 for the CBR mentoring program for six kids, averaging six hours a week for six months. The mentoring program has been successful in other venues.This is not the same as the Kristin Carpenter Communities That Care program, which focuses on career training.

Otero County Economic Development Coordinator Danelle Berg has met with Landon Gates, who has secured over 189,000 signatures on the proposed ballot issue to increase state sales tax by .62 percent. The increase is to go for transportation projects throughout the state, including bicycle paths and multi-modal transportation. He has twice as many signatures as required to get the measure on the ballot in November.

Otero County Administrator Jean Hinkle has now submitted to the Department of Local Affairs the $400,000 matching grant approved at the previous meeting (Otero County pays $200,000; state pays $200,000). The grant will be used to replace nine units of rooftop heating and air conditioning, the roof of the annex building and an emergency generator at the sheriff’s office. A request for bid will go out for a carded-access security system for the courthouse, the annex, the road and bridge buildings for Districts 1, 2, and 3. The bids will be due Aug. 21 and a mandatory meeting of potential bidders is scheduled for Aug. 17.

Commissioner Keith Goodwin met with Fort Carson officials to discuss mitigation for gaps in historic artifact protection. It was suggested the damage be recorded, the information registered with appropriate historic archiving. If artifacts cannot be saved, at least the pertinent information can be saved.

Otero-Crowley Health Department Director Rick Ritter has already submitted his preliminary budget, which is due on Aug. 17.