Board of County Commissioners goals and policy directives 2023
The following is a compilation of the goals, policy directives, strategies, and priorities of the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) for the calendar year 2023 that promote the county’s mission to deliver quality services to the citizens of Garfield County. This list reflects key priorities identified by the BOCC throughout the public hearings in consideration of the 2023 adopted budget. These are in addition to the annual processes, initiatives, work plans, and programs currently underway and day-to-day operations and services provided to the community. These straightforward policy goals are the core of a dynamic strategic planning process, which is adaptive and will be ongoing throughout 2023.
Infrastructure and Investment
- Continue to execute the 10‐year master plan for the Garfield County Airport as a general aviation airport and promote the airport as an economic development engine in the region by updating the airport development guidelines and completing the Land Leases Available for Development of Private and/or Commercial Hangars request for proposals. Continue to make airport improvements by successfully completing key capital projects including the engineering for the ramp replacement, fog sealing the airfield, upgrading the instrument approach system, and purchasing a zero track front mower and a CAT front-end loader rubber-edged snow pusher.
- Continue to maintain and improve the county’s road and bridge system. Specific projects include completing Phase 2 (approximately 2 miles) of the CR 215 rebuild project as well as complete the final engineering of Phases 3 and 4. Complete the annual chip seal program of 21.5 miles of county roads, complete as needed asphalt paving and continuing to make drainage improvements to the Battlement Mesa road system. Additionally, the county intends assist the USFS by improving the lower 5.5 miles of the Buford Road with new gravel and magnesium chloride applications. Complete heavy equipment purchases including 2 tandem dump trucks with upfitting and 1 backhoe.
- Maximize the Garfield County Fairgrounds as a year‐round events center with enhanced promotions and capital investments including final sound system improvements, roof replacement for the office and north and south grandstands and commissioning engineering to evaluate a new restroom facility. Support the remodel of the warehouse at 937 Railroad Avenue for use by the 4-H and Colorado State University (CSU) Extension programs including the construction of the associated outdoor classroom. Continue to evaluate potential future use of the former NAPA building.
- Continue to advance the county’s regional communications network infrastructure by working with the Colorado Department of Transportation to remove barriers allowing direct access to the fiber in I – 70 so the county can complete phase I of the middle mile network. Continue improvements to the regional network by advancing phase II grant applications and partnerships with Region 10. Increase tenants on county remote communication towers with promotion and advertising.
- Continue to work with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) to advance amendments to the Garfield County Landfill Master Plan and the engineer design and operations plan to include the recently purchased Langstaff property. Specifically, this includes the development and use of the associated 1.04 cubic feet per second (cfs.) water rights in the Langstaff Ditch by improving the head gate, placing the ditch back into service and constructing a pond for irrigation purposes. Additionally, complete the 9-year lease with the Bureau of Land Management to incorporate the Langstaff homestead structures into the Langstaff property.
- Continue to promote infrastructure projects that are priorities for our local communities in the county with state and federal grants through the Intermountain Transportation Planning Region. Specifically, maintain support and advocacy for New Castle and Silt I-70 interchanges and roundabouts.
Public Health and Human Services
- Support the aging population through Garfield County’s senior services and community health programs, and through decisions on land use, transportation, housing, economic development, and health care. Bring the senior needs assessment to completion.
- Continue to provide support to all populations within the area with a higher concentration on the most vulnerable individuals and families through a wide variety of programs in the department of human services. Continue our support for local non-profits through the Human Services Commission and the Human Services Grant programs.
- In anticipation of the lifting of the federal public health emergency order, we will evaluate and analyze potential impacts, and poise operations to provide support to the community as this transition happens. We will address the economic impact of a decline in food assistance and the ending of Medicaid for Garfield County residents in collaboration with community partners.
- Promote overall community physical and mental health by preventing disease with vaccinations and addressing environmental health concerns (water and air quality) by providing high quality services including educating and advocating for specific community needs, fulfilling State grants and through collaboration and partnerships.
- Continue to explore all viable mental health options throughout Garfield County with partners including Mind Springs Health and the Aspen Hope Center. Continue to support the construction and operation of the recently developed Withdrawal Management Services Facility (detox center) in Glenwood Springs and serve on its governance committee.
- Advance Garfield County’s participation level with the State of Colorado with our community corrections program and evaluate additional funding sources from the State of Colorado to support the program.
- Emphasize options for increased and affordable childcare through partnerships and grants as well as evaluate options to lessen regulatory barriers in the county’s land use and development code. Focus specifically on implementing the Colorado Universal Preschool law where 4-year-old children will have access to 10 hours a week of tuition-free preschool in public school classrooms or private settings, such as childcare centers, churches, or homes licensed to provide preschool.
Community Outreach and Transparency
- Commitment to partnerships and effective communication with the cities, towns, and communities within its borders through intergovernmental agreements, joint meetings, town halls, and quarterly meetings with managers.
- Commitment to supporting non-profit organizations through the Human Services Commission grants, partnerships, and programs.
- Maintain and promote transparency and improve community relations by providing improved access to meetings such as continuing the use of Zoom and Granicus as well as access to information and financial data and services.
- Continue to highlight county activities, decisions, proclamations, awards and events through press releases, public service announcements and other media forms.
- Advance the county’s website as a communication tool. Continue to work diligently towards meeting the requirements of House Bill 21-1110 which requires state and local public entities to meet established website accessibility standards where government websites must provide reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities by July 2024.
- Continue to support the mission of the Energy Advisory Board and host the 9th Annual Energy Environment Symposium.
- Increase the commitment to support the Latino Community Committee as an advisory committee to the BOCC.
- Showcase the Garfield County Fair and Rodeo as a premiere event for the Western Slope with premier talent, events, and carnival.
- Promote economic development around the Rifle Garfield County Airport to leverage opportunities with private industry such as hangar development, with general aviation activities and with government entities such as the Center of Excellence for Advanced Technology Aerial Firefighting, the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Training Facility, the Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Management Unit, and the SEAT base.
- Advance broadband systems and partnerships in Garfield County and with Region 10 including phase I regional network implementation and phase II partnerships and design.
- Protect Garfield County and Western Slope water rights including negotiations, the facilitation of a semiannual Garfield County Water Forum, and maximize Board involvement on statewide and regional water issues including the Colorado River Basin Roundtable, the Colorado River Water Conservation District, and the Middle Colorado Watershed Council’s conservation planning.
- Prioritize economic development through capital projects, policies, programs, and collaboration including working with Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado (AGNC), their federal Economic Development District, the Rifle Regional Economic Development Corporation, Carbondale CoVenture and Garfield County Economic Development Roundtables.
- Continue our work with Garfield Clean Energy and focus additional funding for energy efficiency on senior and low-income households to build a resilient economy with clean energy. Work with Garfield Clean Energy and private industry to enhance clean energy programs and clean energy infrastructure in Garfield County. Look at state and federal grants for county and municipal clean energy projects. Incorporate Garfield Clean Energy’s recently completed mapping tool into the county’s energy resource inventory.
- Participate in community discussions and work sessions on affordable and attainable housing through land use decisions, policies, programs and collaboration with non-profits and private enterprise. Continue to evaluate opportunities to reduce obstacles such as development fee waivers to the development of affordable housing.
- Maximize natural resource opportunities in the Piceance Basin through improvements to county road infrastructure such as completing upgrades to phases 2, 3 and 4 of CR 215, land use code updates, and active collaboration with industry, federal, state, and local governments to support liquid natural gas (LNG) export facilities that serve the Piceance Basin.
- Continue to support the agriculture industry and promote the county’s agricultural heritage through policies, decisions and programs on land use, noxious weeds, farm-to-table programs, water policies and educational programs.
- Continue to partner with Colorado State University (CSU) Extension, support 4-H programming and support and promote our agricultural heritage through activities at the Fairgrounds including the annual county fair & rodeo.
- Continue to support and partner with the Bookcliff, Mount Sopris, and South Side Conservation Districts and through collaboration and cost sharing programs with Natural Resource Conservation Services.
- Improve the quality of life and health through partnerships and the strategic use of conservation trust funds.
Federal, State and Local Policy Agenda
- Continue the efforts of preserving historic access to public lands, historical rights-of-ways and county roads within Garfield County by continuing to advocate for RS 2477 legislation and seeking a positive outcome for the County Road 200 lawsuit.
- Advance the interests of the county through leadership, policy development and active representation in the National Association of Counties (WIR), Colorado Counties, Inc., Club 20, and the Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado.
- Advocate for the sustainability of the Federal PILT, severance tax, federal mineral lease, Secure Rural Schools funding programs and RS 2477 legislation in Congress.
- Coordinate and participate as a cooperating agency in the following federal environmental impact statements:
- BLM – The 2021 environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Greater Sage Grouse Land Use Plan amendments. Garfield County is a cooperating agency in this EIS development.
- BLM – Supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS) for the Colorado River Valley Field Office and Grand Junction Field Office Resource Management Plans, Colorado. This SEIS will consider whether lands will be open or closed to Federal fluid mineral leasing and analyze the effects that combustion of oil and gas produced in the planning decision area may have on greenhouse gas emissions, as well as related mitigation. Garfield County is a cooperating agency in this SEIS development.
- BLM – Big Game Habitat and Corridors Resource Management Plan Amendment and environmental impact statement (EIS) to evaluate oil and gas program and other management decisions across existing BLM Colorado resource management plans to promote the conservation of big game corridors and other important big game habitat on BLM-administered land and minerals in Colorado. Garfield County is a cooperating agency in this EIS development.
- USFWS – 10(J) Rule on the reintroduction of the gray wolf in Colorado. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service initiated a process for state-led reintroduction of the gray wolf in Colorado. Colorado Parks and Wildlife has requested increased management flexibility for the species under section 10(j) of the Endangered Species Act. Garfield County is a cooperating agency in this EIS development.
- Continue to participate and collaborate in various rule making efforts undertaken by the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission and the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment including engaging the 23-member Western and Rural Local Governments Coalition.
- Continue to coordinate with the Bureau of Land Management regarding the Environmental Assessment of Rocky Mountain Resources’ (RMR) proposal to drill five water monitoring wells and serve as a coordinating agency in the anticipated environmental impact statement for RMR’s proposed limestone mine expansion. Additionally, we will continue to diligently strategize the county’s associated lawsuit with RMR.
- Continue to coordinate with federal land managers to ensure natural resource development and multiple use on federal lands by implementing the Board’s policies in the Garfield County Federal Land Natural Resources Coordination Plan and Policies and continue to host the state and federal land managers meeting on a quarterly basis.
- Coordinate with the White River National Forest and Colorado Parks and Wildlife on the future use and management of the Sweetwater Lake property. Specifically, actively engage with the USFS as a cooperating agency the NEPA process.
- Continue to support efforts that address wildfire mitigation, suppression and education with the Roaring Fork and Middle Colorado Wildfire Collaboratives and through our partnerships with the Center of Excellence for Advanced Technology Aerial Firefighting, the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Training Facility, the Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Management Unit, the SEAT base and Garfield County Emergency Management.
Organizational, Core and Internal Services
- Advancing our commitment to making Garfield County an employer of choice in the region through continued engagement of employees with competitive pay and benefits; professional development and targeted training and with a focus on succession planning as well as continuing to evaluate specific cost-effective health plan options.
- Promote a culture of safety and advance the county’s risk management activities with a focus on measures to reduce the overall insurance costs to the county.
- Ensure the fiscal sustainability of county operations with a balanced annual budget and working to operate within it by reducing the reliance on quarterly budget supplements, maintaining headcount, and continuing to develop long‐term revenue forecasts and financial strategies for the county’s organizational structure and five-year capital improvement plan.
- Maintain the motor pool fleet vehicles for safety and reliability purposes and implement the new motor pool policy through the motor pool user’s committee.
- Advance IT cyber security, network infrastructure and data storage, maintenance of computer equipment and replacements, and increase the security of the county’s website. Continue the work of the technology advisory committee and IT assessment recommendations.
- Update the employee handbook to include cyber-security policy and advance the education and training on cyber security.
- Utilize our grant writer resources to maximize the availability of current funding opportunities to support county infrastructure and services.