The Elbert Board of County Commissioners had its hands full recently when balancing the 2009 budget. The 2008 budget was tight, but not as tight as …
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The Elbert Board of County Commissioners had its hands full
recently when balancing the 2009 budget. The 2008 budget was tight,
but not as tight as next year’s.
According to Commissioner John Metli, about $2 million had to be
cut from the 2009 budget, leaving only $1,300 in the general fund
to start 2009.
To balance the 2009 budget, the commissioners made some drastic
changes. Each county department was asked to cut their hours and
salaries by 10 percent and the old courthouse building’s hours were
reduced. As of Jan. 1 the court house will be open from 7:30 a.m.
to 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays.
Each department took a significant budget cut and will have to
work with less money than it had in 2008. Suzie Graeff, chairman of
the board of county commissioners, said the board had a lot of
options to reduce costs for 2009, but this was the best option for
the county and employees with out any lay-offs.
In regard to the 10 percent cut in hours, the sheriff’s office
will have a hard time cutting hours and keeping the necessary
services needed in the county. Sheriff Bill Frangis said that even
though this option is the least painful for most county employees,
the plan the commissioners have developed is not a good working
plan for public safety personnel.
“The plan they have come up with is really tailored to the
county employees who are there Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to
4 p.m.,” he said. “When you have to start working people 24 hours a
day seven days a week, how do you decrease your hours by 10 percent
and still maintain your coverage.”
The county is on a hiring and spending freeze that will continue
2- Walmart comes to Elbert County
After months of debate and preparation, construction of Walmart
west of Elizabeth on Colo. 86 began in early September. The
supercenter is part of a larger commercial development, the Shops
at Wild Point.
The store is set to open in late summer of 2009 and will have
sustainable features including light sensors on refrigeration units
3- New faces on 2009 commissioner board
The 2008 county commissioner election was a race until the end,
with the republicans as the winners.
Del Schwab grabbed 68 percent of the votes over Patty Sward for
District 1. Hope Goetz, an incumbent, had 94 percent of the votes
over Paul Heller for District 2. John Shipper, Republican, had 68
percent of the votes over Robert Thomasson for District 3.
More than 94 percent of Elbert County’s 13, 146 eligible voting
residents cast their votes in the election. The polls were open
from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Nov. 4. More than 7,000 voters mailed in
Another issue on the 2008 election ballot was initiative 3A. The
race was close but voters said no to the initiative with 52 percent
of the votes, leaving 48 voting yes to 3A, a $1.2 million override
measure for a 7.034 mil solution to add funding to the Elizabeth
C-1 School District.
4- Hearing date for Scouts sooner rather than later
After months of debate, letters and meetings, the Boy Scouts
will face the Elbert Board of County Commissioners Jan. 6. The
meeting will address the special-use permit application for the
construction on the Travis Shooting Facility and the Sporting Clays
Course at Peaceful Valley Boy Scout Ranch.
Issues with the shooting ranges began in June 2008 after
complaints from neighbors were brought to the Elbert County
Since then, the Boy Scouts have been accommodating to all
requests made by Planning Director Robert Miller and ranch
5- Construction of justice center under way
Groundbreaking on the highly anticipated justice center in
Elbert County began June 16 and has since been progressing to a
building that will bring the court system back to the county.
The building is between the sheriff’s office and the 911
building at 751 Ute St. in Kiowa.
The 12,000-square-foot building will house two courtrooms,
judges chambers, district attorney’s office, probation office and a
6- Stampede numbers break records
As with every year, the Elizabeth Stampede was a success, but
2008 brought in more attendees than ever.
Opening night in June brought in a record crowd of 2,200 for the
first Professional Bull Riders event with Saturday’s rodeo roping
in another record crowd of 1,300 people.
The annual Stampede parade also helped bring in 15,000 people to
Elizabeth, which is not bad for a town of 1,500 residents.
7- Code adds funds to county
With the 2009 county budget tight, the sheriff’s office might
help bring in some needed cash.
As of May 14, Elbert County drivers started following a new
model traffic code approved by the Elbert Board of County
The purpose of the ordinance is to promote general public
welfare and safety by enforcing reasonable and necessary traffic
restrictions. It will allow the money from the traffic fine to go
back to the county.
8- Bill cleans up titles
Property owners living in the potential 3-mile-wide toll road
corridor felt some relief after House Bill 08-1007 was signed by
Gov. Bill Ritter.
The bill, signed June 2, will clean up private property owners’
titles from previous documents filed on their titles by Prairie
Falcon Parkway Express Co. It will void any authorized written
notice, disclaimer of interest or map filed or recorded by a
previous roll road or toll highway company.
9- New light in town
Elizabeth residents now have an extra stop on their way east out
of town. A new traffic signal at the intersection of Colo. 86 and
County Road 17 was up and running by November.
The signal is meant to improve northbound traffic turning left
onto the highway from County Road 17 as well as traffic headed to
and from Elizabeth Parks and Recreation.
10- Elizabeth host to race
Elbert County is a new member of the American Society Relay for
Life organization. The debut race lasted from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. June
27-28 at the Elizabeth High School stadium with 29 registered teams
and more than 300 participants.
The 12-hour event also had live music, booths and games and is
expected to be an annual tradition in Elbert County.
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