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Commissioners Hear Annual Code Enforcement Report

The Board of Commissioners and staff were United In Orange in support of the Denver Broncos at Tuesday's regular meeting

Fremont County’s Code Enforcement Officers reported to the Board of County Commissioners Tuesday that their office closed 143 junk and trash code violation cases in 2013 and are starting 2014 with 47 active cases.   Officer Robert Sapp told the commissioners that while the success rate was good last year the 47 remaining active cases tend to be more difficult and complex.

Sapp reported that he and Officer Ron Zenisky made 144 site visits last year across the county to check on junk and trash code violators.   Sapp said their Helping Hand project has proven to be an innovative way to clean up junk properties while doing it at reduced cost.    Under Helping Hand the county provides trash dumpsters to the property owners through written agreements under which they must provide all labor for the cleanup.    If property owners fail to meet the terms the county then takes legal steps to enforce the agreement and collect all costs.  So far the county has invested $2,935 in this incentive program.

Sapp said they secured $1,085 from Colorado’s Waste Tire Grant program last year to clean up another 350 old tires.   Over the past three years the department has secured over $70,000 in Waste Tire grant dollars to clean up nearly 21,000 tires across Fremont County.

Sapp said he and Zenisky also handled 36 address changes across the county last year.   District 3 Commissioner Ed Norden said while changing addresses upsets some residents, it’s vital that emergency responders, including sheriff’s deputies and ambulance drivers, have good addresses to respond to.   Norden said the E 9-1-1 phone system relies on good addressing and to some people the few minutes saved in tracking down an address location could be the difference between life and death.   Sapp said they have about 8 addresses that will need changing soon in Penrose because previously assigned lot numbers in the mobile park do not represent real addresses.

The Commissioners also heard the latest numbers on retail sales tax collections in Fremont County last year.    Finance and Budget Director Sunny Bryant said 2013 retail sales tax collections through last November totaled $3,448,000.   She said that amount is down $9,179 from the same 11 month period in 2012 and is $19,200 below what the county budgeted.   She said while the collections are down, it’s still considered good news because the totals were expected to be even worse in the aftermath of the Royal Gorge wildfire.

Bryant did share final collection figures for auto use tax for 2013.   She said that total amounted to $724,535 which was $26,918 or 3.86% above 2012 collections.   However a further slowdown in construction activity resulted in total construction use taxes last year of $181,543 which was $19,585 or 9.7% under 2012 collections.

The Commissioners on Tuesday approved renewal of the agreement with the Upper Arkansas Recycling Program at an annual cost of $22,425.   The amount reflects an estimated $14,269 reduction in cost that was generated by the sale of recyclable materials.   The cost is the same as 2013.   Beth Lenz there is still a lot of room for improvement for recycling in Fremont County.   She said the two trash haulers in eastern Fremont County have reported that over 75 percent of the waste stream going into landfills could otherwise be recycled.   She said the biggest problem is that there is a segment of the community that simply won’t pay for recycling.

In other business at the January 28th Board of Commissioners meeting the board:

  • Heard a 4th quarter report from Fremont County Public Trustee Pat McFarland.   McFarland reported that foreclosure filings in Fremont County were down by one-third last year compared to the year earlier;
  • Approved a set of Operating Procedures for the Fremont County Airport Advisory Board;
  • Reappointed Mary Chamberlain to a three year term on the Fremont County Heritage Commission;
  • Approved the reappointment of Rodger Jump to the Board of Directors of the John C. Fremont Library District at Florence.