Commissioners announce policy directives for 2021

Economic development, COVID-19 pandemic response are top priorities

January 25, 2021

The Garfield County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) has unveiled its policy directives and action plan for the year, including a focus on health and human services, economic development, federal, state and local issues and more. Drafted from the commissioners’ goals and priorities, the policy directives help guide decision-making at the county level, while operating within the county’s adopted budget.

Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic is a top priority in 2021, with increased efforts for disease prevention, vaccination, improving quality of life, and economic recovery. The county is also continuing its strong support of our senior community through county and community health programs. Promotion of services that help maintain and enhance strong physical and mental health for all citizens are vital.

The county is also working with the Peak Health Alliance in an effort to lower the costs of healthcare and healthcare insurance in the region and supporting a detox center to aid those battling addiction. Participation in community discussions on affordable and attainable housing, as well as providing land-use and planning policies that are responsible yet allow for growth are also paramount in 2021.

In helping the community to bounce back financially from the pandemic, Garfield County is promoting numerous economic development opportunities, including advancing broadband systems, prioritizing capital projects and maintaining transportation infrastructure, making

improvements at the Rifle Garfield County Airport, and supporting tourism, agriculture and energy development to ensure a well-rounded local economy. Opposition to Rocky Mountain Resources’ (RMR) proposed limestone mine expansion near Glenwood Springs remains a priority to protect its tourism industry.

Garfield County continues its commitment to transparency in government, promoting a culture of safety for its employees, and fiscal conservancy in all operations. The county’s long history of leadership in state and regional groups, such as the National Association of Counties (NACo), Club 20 and the Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado (AGNC), endures in 2021.

The county continues its work at the local, state and federal levels to advocate for federal payment in lieu of taxes (PILT) and severance taxes, as well as federal mineral lease dollars and funding for Secure Rural Schools programs, to help cover the cost of local improvements. Protecting historic rights of way, preserving Western Slope water rights, having a strong voice on Greater Sage-grouse protections and wolf introduction in Colorado, and working with federal land managers on multiple use are also on the board’s priorities list for the year.

The policy directives are determined with input from the Garfield County Budget Team, which includes Garfield County Commissioner Tom Jankovsky, County Manager Kevin Batchelder, Deputy County Manager Fred Jarman and Finance Director Theresa Wagenman. More information can be found online at

“Our budget is our business plan and that’s what we operate by,” said Commissioner Tom Jankovsky. “These policy directives come out of that business plan and there are many things we will get done in 2021.”

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