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    January 30, 2014Elbert County, Colorado | Volume 119, Issue 1


    A publication of


    Printed on recycled newsprint.Please recycle this copy.

    Secretary of state to intervene in ruling Gesslers o ce to oppose judges decision to ne commissioner

    By George Lurie glurie@coloradocommunitymedia.com

    A spokesperson for Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler has confi rmed that Gesslers offi ce will attempt to nullify a recent ruling by an administrative judge who fi ned Board of County Commission-ers Chairman Robert Rowland $1,000 for

    violating Colorados Fair Campaign Prac-tices Act.

    We are planning to intervene in the case, Andrew Cole, a spokesperson for the Secretary of State, said on Jan. 24.

    The judge directed the commissioner to personally pay the fi ne to the county, which is not what the constitution di-rects, said Cole. In addition, we have some broader First Amendment concerns with the ruling and what it could mean for elected offi cials going about their work.

    Rowland said he was encouraged by the Secretary of States support, adding, I am a long way away from writing that check.

    Cole said lawyers in the Colorado At-

    torney Generals offi ce are currently working on Gesslers response to the judges controversial rul-ing, which was issued on Dec. 24.

    On Jan. 16, the BOCC held a special meeting during which commis-sioners voted 2-1 to ap-peal the judges ruling

    with Commissioners Rowland and Kurt Schlegel voting in favor of the appeal and Commissioner Larry Ross casting the dissenting no vote, arguing an appeal would be an additional drain on county resources.

    Its kind of a fl uid situation right now but my objective is to fi le the appeal be-fore the end of January, said County At-torney Alex Beltz, who explained that fi l-ing an appeal effectively stops the clock on the judges deadline for Rowland to pay the fi ne.

    Since the ruling was made public Jan. 4, Rowland said that he has also heard from a number of other county com-missioners around the state, as well as from the CCI Colorado Counties Inc., a statewide nonprofi t which supports county commissioners, mayors and city and town councilmembers.


    Kelly Shepherd and her 10-year-old quarter horse Louie had Sundown Arena to themselves on Jan. 22. Shepherd owns the cavernous enlcosure, which is located on Road 37 just north of State Highway 86. Frustrated by what she describes as obstacles the county keeps putting that get in the way of her plans to use the arena for commer-cial purposes, Shepherd has put the building and the 20 acres it sits on up for sale. Asking price: $850,000. Photo by George Lurie

    ROOM TO ROAM 2012 budget audit done Treasurer: Freeze order could be li ed this week

    By George Lurie glurie@coloradocommunitymedia.com

    An outside accounting firm has completed its work on the 2012 El-bert County budget audit and the Board of County Commissioners has scheduled a special meeting on Jan. 27 at 10 a.m. during which the long-overdue document is expected to be approved and then submitted to the state before months end.

    In November 2013, after the county missed multiple deadlines to file the state-mandated document, the Office of the State Auditor froze more than $102,000 in county tax revenues, ordering Elbert County Treasurer Rick Pettitt to hold all funds generated pursuant to the tax-ing authority until you are noti-fied in writing by this office.

    By law, the 2012 budget audit was supposed to have been filed with the state no later than July 31, 2013.

    BOCC Chair Robert Rowland blamed the snafu on the countys former finance director Stan Wilmer, who was fired in October 2013.

    The decision to bring in an out-side contractor to finish the au-dit cost the county nearly $90,000, according to Commissioner Kurt Schlegel.

    Rowland said some of that ex-pense has been recouped by not having to pay Wilmers $70,000-a-year salary.

    The states Department of Local Affairs, which can freeze repayment to counties of property taxes if the county does not comply with state-mandated annual filing deadlines, is expected to release the frozen funds before the end of January.

    It usually only takes the state a day or two to release the funds once they approve the audit, Pettitt said.

    The accounting firm of Eide Bail-ly performed the work necessary to complete the 2012 audit.

    A similar situation occurred in 2012 when the county also missed repeated deadlines to submit to the state its year-end 2011 audit.

    In that case, the state froze more than $117,000 in county property tax revenues for nearly two months until the report was received by the auditors office.

    At a Jan. 14 study session, Row-land vowed: This is going to be the last time the county finds itself in this position.

    Wild re mitigation e orts unveiled Key recommendations by governors task force absent By Vic Vela vvela@coloradocommunitymedia.com

    Gov. John Hickenlooper and state law-makers unveiled a package of bills on Jan. 23 that is aimed at improving Colorados ability to mitigate and fi ght wildfi res.

    However, Hickenlooper and legislators spent most of a Capitol press conference answering questions having to do with wildfi re mitigation options that are not part of the eight bills that were introduced.

    The bills do not include key recommendations made by the governors own wildfi re task force committee, includ-ing ones that place fees and building code mandates on homeowners who reside in ar-eas where a high potential for wildfi res exists.

    And the package does not address the creation of a state fi refi ghting fl eet. The governors offi ce says the issue needs more work.

    But a Republican lawmaker who is sponsoring his own air tanker legislation said at the same press conference that the

    time for a wildfi re fl eet is now.I believe that wildfi re is a

    clear and present danger to Colorado and we need to take action, said Sen. Steve King, R-Grand Junction.

    The governor insists that the bipartisan pieces of wild-

    fi re legislation that were intro-duced on Jan. 23 will go a long way in com-batting a growing threat facing the state.

    I think with this year we will continue to raise the ante and try to dedicate more resources up front to try to get to these fi res sooner, Hickenlooper said.

    The bills deal with a variety of areas aimed at wildfi re prevention. They include giving the governor the ability to provide fi nancial assistance without a federal di-saster declaration; and allowing county governments more autonomy in putting bans on agricultural burning during peri-ods of high fi re danger and to clamp down on summer fi reworks.

    Bills also deal with the creation of the wildfi re information and resource center

    Ruling continues on Page 9

    WIldfi re continues on Page 10


  • 2 Elbert County News January 30, 20142-Color

    The Beautifuland the Deadly

    photos by Joe McDonald

    19 varieties of live turtles, crocodilians, lizards and snakes from around the world displayed in natural habitats.

    Kids will score a goal at this fun and exciting event featuring sports-themed interactive games and outdoor adventure sports activities.

    Visit our website for a complete listingwww.thewildlifeexperience.org

    Classic romance, drinks, hors doeuvres and your Valentine as happy as can be. Make it a worry free evening with our Valentine Hotel Package.

    Kids BowlSaturday, February 19:00 am - 5:00 pm

    The Wildlife Experience10035 Peoria Street, Parker, Colorado 80134720.488.3300thewildlifeexperience.org

    Located near Park Meadows, 1 mile East of I-25 at Lincoln Avenue and Peoria Street.Located near Park Meadows, 1 mile East of I-25 at Lincoln Avenue and Peoria Street.

    CasablancaFriday, February 145:30 pm

    BeautifulOpening Satu

    rday, February 1

    Wild Outdoor Workshops:

    Ice Fishing Archery and More

    OFFICE: 9137 S. Ridgeline Blvd., Suite 210, Highlands Ranch, CO 80129 | PhOnE: 303-566-4100

    A legal newspaper of general circulation in Elizabeth, Colorado, the Elbert County News is published weekly on Thursday by Colorado Community Media. PERIODICALS POSTAGE PAID AT ELIZABETH, COLORADO and additional mailing offices.

    POSTMASTER: Send address change to: 9137 S. Ridgeline Blvd., Suite 210, Highlands Ranch, CO 80129

    ADVERTISInG DEADLInES: Display: Thurs. 11 a.m. | Legal: Thurs. 11 a.m. | Classified: Mon. 12 p.m.

    elbert county news (USPS 171-100)

    We are part of the Centura Health Cancer Network, delivering integrated, advanced cancer care across Colorado and western Kansas.

    HOPE STARTS HEREHOPE STARTS HEREThe Cancer Center at Parker Adventist HospitalWe start with hope and blend together a healing and spiritual environment with the latest in advanced treatment options. Our cancer center provides patients and their families with a personalized and coordinated approach to care.

    The center is equipped with the latest in advanced radiation therapy technology, including the advanced Varian TrueBeam linear accelerator, that allows us to target and treat various forms of cancer with pinpoint accuracy.

    To learn more about our unique approach to cancer care or to make an appointment, call 303-269-4975 or visit parkerhospital.org/cancer-center.

    Centura Health complies with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and no person shall be excluded from participation in, be denied benefits of, or otherwise be subjected to discrimination in the provision of any care or service on the grounds of race, religion, color, sex, national origin, sexu