Commissioners attend state meeting

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— Early childhood care, tax distribution and voting systems were among the topics county officials from across Colorado discussed during their annual winter conference this week.

Routt County commissioners Doug Monger and Dan Ellison were among commissioners who attended the Colorado Counties Inc. conference Mon--day through Wednesday.

Monger and Ellison took part in a roundtable discussion with other Western Colorado county officials who talked about the issues affecting their counties. They also heard a presentation by Gov. Bill Owens about the state's budget.

Some of the issues presented to county officials included:

Early childhood care and education. Commissioners talk--ed about funding, education and the future of early childhood programs. They discussed the possibility of forming a task force to address the issue statewide.

Proposed amendments to a federal mining act. Monger said he is opposed to the changes because they could allow development in areas he thinks should not be developed.

Severance tax distributions, which include funds that benefit counties affected by the energy and mineral industries. An official from the state's Department of Local Affairs discussed a change to the funding formula for these funds. Monger said he was concerned about disrupting the formula because he thinks those monies should go to communities that are directly affected by the energy and mineral industries.

Oil and gas rules and regulations. Commissioners talked about the requirements for the oil and gas industries' participation in the Clean Water Act, which was established to protect surface water quality in the United States.

The Help America Vote Act, which mandates changes to voting systems. Monger said the act's timeline is restrictive and that the changes could be costly.

"The commissioners are pretty concerned about how this is coming together and going down," he said.

Also during the conference, Monger was selected to be president-elect of the CCI board, a position he will assume in 2007.

-- To reach Dana Strongin, call 871-4229 or e-mail dstrongin@steamboatpilot.com

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