A last-minute get-together with Governor John Hickenlooper took place Sunday afternoon. The meeting was hosted by the county commissioners, who welcomed Hickenlooper and his staff as well as county officials and elected representatives from Orchard City, Hotchkiss and Delta.
County commissioner Olen Lund opened the meeting by stressing that jobs is the number one concern of local residents.
Hotchkiss Mayor Wendell Koontz, a coal mine employee, thanked the governor for his work on the roadless rule, which will help preserve jobs in the coal mines and protect the economy of Delta County. Hickenlooper observed that three governors struggled with the roadless rule — Bill Owens, Bill Ritter and himself. The final version, announced earlier this month, will allow the coal mines to build temporary roads that will allow them to vent methane gas from the mines under the roadless areas.
"That's a classic case of getting everybody to the table," Hickenlooper said. "We ended up with a pretty good compromise." The decision, however, has not been popular in other areas of the state.
County clerk Ann Eddins urged the governor to sign House Bill 1036, which allows public inspection of voted ballots. As the bill sits on the governor's desk awaiting his signature, opponents argue it will unnecessarily restrict the right of citizens to election information.
The representatives from Delta County Health and Human Services were glad to hear that a solution is in the works for the Colorado Benefits Management System (CBMS), which helps determine eligibility for the state's medical and financial assistance programs. Snags in the computer system have been a "nightmare" since it was implemented in 2004, Commissioner Bruce Hovde said.
Governor Hickenlooper also discussed ColoradoTBD, or To Be Determined, a "nonpartisan, collaborative effort designed to create informed and constructive conversations among Coloradans about some of the biggest issues facing the state." One of those issues in the state budget, which is $1 billion less than five years ago.
"Everybody in the state thinks they're getting the short end of the stick," Hickenlooper said.
"Not Delta — we know we are," Lund responded.
Don Suppes, mayor of Orchard City, complained of the burdensome rules and regulations imposed by state agencies. Governor Hickenlooper said every agency is tasked with looking closely at every regulation on the books. "Hopefully you will see a dramatic reduction in the baloney," the governor said. As an example, he pointed out the 28-page application for food stamps has been whittled down to six.
Education and access to capital for the state's small businesses were also addressed before the governor returned to Grand Junction for the opening of a homeless shelter.blog comments powered by Disqus