DEL NORTE — Commissioners Gene Glover and Suzanne Bothell switched seats during their meeting at the Rio Grande County Courthouse on Tuesday, Jan. 8, positioning Bothell as the new chair with Glover in the vice-chair seat. Newcomer John Noffsker nominated both commissioners and finished the meeting with a full plate of responsibilities himself.
No one was present to speak during the public comments phase of the routine meeting, but dozens of residents still lingered in the courthouse following swearing-in ceremonies upstairs. The commissioners worked through the agenda for a couple hours, broke briefly to start a working session ahead of schedule and returned to work again in the afternoon.
After determining chair and vice-chair positions, commissioners scheduled meetings and county holidays for the entire year. The county holiday count is 11.5 days (a half-day on Good Friday and Christmas Eve instead of Columbus Day).
Although Colorado state law requires a minimum of one meeting a month for each board of county commissioners in the state, Rio Grande County usually runs two or three regular meetings, in addition to special sessions.
The regular meetings of the year include Jan. 16 and 30, Feb. 13 and 27, March 13 and 27, April 10 and 24, May 15 and 29, June 19 and 26, July 17 and 31, Aug. 14 and 18, Sept. 11 and 25, Oct. 16 and 30, Nov. 13 and 26 and Dec. 11, 18 and 31.
Changes to the meeting schedule and special or emergency meetings require communication with the public, which requires each county to designate an official county newspaper. The official newspaper has been the Monte Vista Journal, but residents in South Fork, Del Norte and other parts of Rio Grande County might require subscriptions to ensure notifications. Historically, the official posting location started with a bulletin board in the hall, according to County Administrator Roni Wisdom. But publishing online and in print meet the definition of “…a generally circulated newspaper” today. Noffsker motioned to continue with the Monte Vista Journal, and the motion passed.
Next, commissioners approved nine Rio Grande County department heads and swapped their own duties serving on other boards and commissions. Equally dividing almost 30 separate organizations, commissioners discussed their individual expertise and considered meeting locations and schedules before committing to represent Rio Grande County.
For example, Glover sits on roughly a dozen boards in different capacities. Although he wants to devote time to the Veterans Coalition, it’s a scheduling conflict every month, so he had to swap. Considering multiple board meetings for themselves, commissioners’ calendars squeeze tight throughout the year.
Each commissioner shared updates from recent meetings, another reason they carefully divide duties. Some organizations are worthy of attendance from all three commissioners, but sharing information from separate situations helps the trio function collectively.
From Commissioner Glover, the 2019 San Luis Valley Potato Festival is still on track for Sept. 7.
Commissioner Bothell updated the group from emergency meetings recently, and commissioners discussed how the Land Use Codebook is woefully outdated and will receive attention for updates during a special meeting at 2:30 p.m. on Jan. 15, also in the Rio Grande County Courthouse.
Commissioner Noffsker relayed information from a recent airport meeting, particularly plans for more hangar space, a lounge for pilots and other improvements.