Rio Grande County discusses Public Health District with Saguache County


RIO GRANDE COUNTY- Rio Grande County Commissioners briefly talked about a possible Public Health District with Saguache County during their meeting held Wednesday, Sept. 2. During the discussion, new Interim Administrator Susan Benton mentioned the possible district with commissioners while updating the board on applicates who have applied for the Rio Grande County Public Health Director position.


Benton had received a total of 17 applications but only three have completed the county-wide application needed in order to be considered for the job. Benton stated that the remaining 14 applicants needed to finish the Rio Grande County application before they would be considered for the Public Health Director position.


Commissioner Susan Bothell asked Benton to create an email to send to the remaining applicants notifying them of the additional application that needed to be completed. Benton also brought up the fact that commissioners needed to set a pay threshold and a deadline date for the applications. The board ended up making the deadline for two weeks out, giving applicants enough time to complete the steps needed to apply.


While discussing the details for the hiring process, Benton referred to conversations the Rio Grande County Commissioners have been having with Saguache County Commissioners about forming a Public Health District similar to the one that was created in Creede several years ago. Benton pointed out that if the county was seriously considering this move that they would also need to confer with Saguache County officials when hiring a new Public Health Director.


It has become common in rural communities in that past several years to form Public Health Districts due to low populations and better benefits that are available to communities with higher populations. Creede is the only Public Health District in the Valley and was formed in 2016. It has proven to be highly beneficial for both Mineral and Hinsdale counties.


Though commissioners are only in the beginning stages of negotiations, Commissioner Chairman John Noffsker did confirm that the two counties are considering the move.

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