Commissioners okay large tax abatement

By Hank Lohmeyer


County assessor Debbie Griffith got BoCC approval for a large tax abatement on a 1,267-acre parcel during the commissioners' meeting Monday, Aug. 15.

The abatement amount was $12,912. By state statute, Griffith explained, any property tax abatement over $10,000 needs BoCC approval before being sent to the state for additional approval.

The subject property, located "up Leroux Creek," was converted from the residential to agricultural use class by the assessor's office in the first year of ag production. The new owner from Texas who bought the property out of foreclosure began running 100 cow/calf pairs on it and there was decreed water for it also, Griffith told commissioners. So, the standard three-year ag production requirement for conversion to ag use assessment status is shortened.

In other business at its regular meeting on Aug. 15, the BoCC dealt with the following matters:

• Commissioners gave an approval for a $44,225 grant from the Western Colorado Community Foundation. The money is to be used at Delta-Montrose Technical College, at Colorado Mesa University, and at Western State Colorado University at Gunnison for the educational benefit of Delta County residents studying there, according to discussion

at the commissioners' meeting. The colleges are expected to provide some matching funds, and commissioners also committed matching funds "not to exceed $5,000."

• The commissioners approved a grant from the Economic Development Administration for work at the former Paonia Elementary building converting space for use as a commercial kitchen incubator and entrepreneurial support facility.

• Commissioners held an executive session with the county attorney to discuss "regular meeting attendance requirements" and the status of a lawsuit.

• County assessor Debbie Griffith reported a preliminary county assessed value in excess of $313 million. That number is "close to the final value" that will be certified in December. The current value does not include new construction, she told the commissioners. The assessed value figure equates to a $60,096 decline in revenue for the county general fund from the previous year.

• The commissioners asked Chuck Lemoine, health and human services director, to write the state and request figures for the amounts paid statewide for Medicaid transportation reimbursement to patients in the program. The figures have not previously been reported.

If Medicaid clients are not able to get treatment or consultation locally, the program, which is 100 percent funded by the federal government, will reimburse travel costs to see specialist. Reimbursement includes mileage, and in some cases lodging and a meal, Lemoine reported.

• The commissioners approved a $5,850 contract for the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program funded with federal dollars. The program was explained by HHS staff as a training initiative for youth who have been in foster care and need to learn independent skills.



• Commissioners approved an agreement with consultant Stolfus and Associates to do a Highway 92 access study and plan for the Rogers Mesa corridor.

• The Delta County Sheriff's Office issued jail census counts for Aug. 8 and 15. On Aug. 8 there were 55 in detention and 11 in work release. On Aug. 15 there were 50 in detention and 10 in work release.

• Commissioners approved bills payable of $654,701 for July 9 through Aug. 5; and, they approved monthly county payroll and benefits including HHS department personnel of $1.03 million.