The Park County Commissioners have been holding their meetings in several different communities in order to get input from a larger portion of county residents. They held their Aug. 21 meeting at the Hartsel Community Center.
Commissioner Ray Douglas said, “We have been getting good turnouts at the meetings outside of our regular Fairplay location.”
Douglas added, “We have had evening meetings, however, attendance has not been great at those.”
The recent Hartsel meeting brought out eleven residents. The commissioners handled their regular agenda items and then held time for questions and comments from residents.
Monica Jones, assessor, reported on the work of her department. She anticipates an increase of two million dollars from property taxes. Her final report will be done in December this year.
Jones also explained that the assessor’s staff are prioritizing review of new home construction and home sales.
Jones added that her team is also re-evaluating commercial property.
The next agenda item was a petition for abatement, and there was discussion about use of property, mining claims and natural resources.
The assessor added that they have found increases in personal property and they will send out personal property declarations.
Land use regulations
Susan Jones, Hartsel resident, kicked off community comments and questions by reading an anonymous letter from two people who were not present. The letter was full of questions such as, “Are you going to steal our property and take away our rights?”
The letter led into a lively discussion on land use rights.
Commissioner Brazell gave an example. “Suppose you bought land and then a few years later, one neighbor has a junkyard next to your land and another neighbor is pooping in a bucket.”
Commissioner Elsner said, “I don’t see this as a camping issue, but a living issue, for example dealing with toxic waste.”
Elsner went on to explain that the county’s land use regulations are in the process of being revised, and there will be opportunity for input via public hearings.
Other comments from those in attendance included some who said they had a good experience with the county when dealing with permits and approvals.
One comment was that some of the population has not planned well and frequently calls the Hartsel Fire District to take them to get their medicine, bring them food and firewood.
The census and confidentiality
Susan Jones also brought up a concern that some community residents are worried that census workers will report violations to the county officials.
Commissioner Elsner explained that census data does not have any specific information when the county receives it, and that the data is only in aggregate form. Two census workers were at this meeting and confirmed this.
One idea was to have a speed limit sign in the town portion of Hartsel. County Manager Tom Eisenman said he will discuss this at the next road and bridge meeting.