Feds' deadlines burden county

By Hank Lohmeyer


The county administration and commissioners are finding their resources stretched thin in order to meet deadlines for submitting official comments on federal public lands policy documents.

On Monday, the BoCC issued a request to Brian St. George, a BLM deputy director, asking for a 60-day extension of time for commenting on the Gunnison Sage Grouse Rangewide Draft Resource Management Plan Amendment and the Draft Environmental Impact Statement.

The deadline for commenting on the document is Nov. 1 which is the same day the county's comments on the massive Uncompahgre Field Office Resource Management Plan (UFORMP) are due.

"Delta County has limited capacity to read through each plan and currently staff has spent the majority of their time on the UFORMP," states the county's extension request to St. George. County staff so far has only outlined the county's positions on UFORMP issues that are seen as critical to the county's people and economy in the future.

In a related matter, the county's local government designee, Bruce Bertram, reported on Monday that comments on the UFORMP will focus on key areas -- Gunnison sage grouse, wild and scenic rivers, wilderness study areas including Adobe Badlands north of Delta, and issues surrounding oil and gas exploration and development.

In other business at their Sept. 19 regular meeting, the county commissioners dealt with the following matters:

• The county's auditor gave commissioners a progress report on his annual financial review. "The county is in better financial condition at the end of 2015 than at the end of 2014," said auditor Pete Blair. The cumulative total of all fund balances is showing an increase of about $500,000, he reported.

This year's audit process has required a low number of accounting adjustments with few "anomalies" to reconcile. Commissioners and administration await a final report after review of departmental financial control procedures.

• The commissioners adopted a resolution supporting a grant for a county trails master plan and a grant from GOCO for funding it.

• The commissioners received jail census reports for Sept. 19 and 13. On Sept. 19 there were 51 detention inmates and six in work release. A week earlier on Sept. 13 there were 46 in detention and seven in work release.

• The commissioners approved bills payable from all funds between Aug. 20 to Sept. 9 of $487,243, and in addition a monthly county payroll of $1.02 million.

• The commissioners adopted an amended county emergency operations plan. Staff explained that having the plan is a requirement to qualify for federal financial reimbursement in the event of an emergency response to wildfire, flood, or other incidents requiring large scale first-responder involvement.

• The commissioners approved a liquor license renewal for Kuros LLC dba Alexander Lake Lodge.

• In planning matters, the BoCC took three actions: approval of final plat for Gallup Farm II subdivision, owners Teddie and Tena Graff, applicant Jared Graff; approval of replat of lot 2, Carvill Family Minor subdivision, owners Paul and Rebecca Burris; and, approval of exemption from subdivision process for a land division to facilitate county road relocation on Last Chamber Road.