Carl Dunham, Routt County building official, listens as the Steamboat Springs City Council and Routt County commissioners discuss building regulations, and procedures at Tuesday night's meeting. Seated with Dunham were Dan Strand, Routt County finance director, and County Manager Tom Sullivan

Photo by John F. Russell

Carl Dunham, Routt County building official, listens as the Steamboat Springs City Council and Routt County commissioners discuss building regulations, and procedures at Tuesday night's meeting. Seated with Dunham were Dan Strand, Routt County finance director, and County Manager Tom Sullivan

Rift mended - for now

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— Steamboat Springs builders will have at least one more season working with the Routt County Regional Building Department.

Avoiding what has proved to be a third rail of local politics, the Steamboat Springs City Council has reversed the stance of the previous City Council and will attempt to resolve differences with the county before hiring an outside contractor to provide its building department services.

"I think it's in the best interests of the community to get everybody back at the table and improve the (intergovernmental agreement)," Councilman Jon Quinn said. "I don't see any merits to outsourcing this service."

The previous City Council gave the county notice last year that it wanted out of its intergovernmental agreement regarding the building department. But in an amicable joint meeting of the City Council and Routt County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday, the two bodies agreed to extend the scheduled termination of that agreement about six months, through the end of the year - despite the lingering concerns of city staff. The two governments will in the meantime try to develop a new agreement that is amenable to all.

Contractors in the audience Tuesday reacted gleefully to the proceedings.

"I'm so pleased to see the two bodies willing to work together," local contractor Mark Halvorson said to the groups. "I encourage you to keep going down the road you're going."

Steamboat resident Steve Aigner sounded a more cautionary opinion, citing the issues that brought city and county officials together in the first place.

"If the city had not made this proposal, I don't know if you would have got together," Aigner said. "It's incumbent on you to get this worked out."

City staff has raised a myriad of concerns, throughout many years, regarding the regional building department. A memo submitted by City Manager Alan Lanning outlining minimal needs for restructuring an agreement with the county calls for changes such as joint supervision of the county's chief building official, Carl Dunham, and improvements to the current record-keeping system. The memo also calls for a complete audit of the building department, dating back to 1984, including an evaluation of whether a controversial $1.4 million transfer last year from building department funds to the county's general fund was appropriate.

Noting the political volatility of that particular issue, Councilman Scott Myller suggested that audits only be performed on an annual basis going forward - not retroactively.

"It's such a hot topic that we need to take it off the table," he said.

A committee of city and county staff and representatives from the elected bodies was asked to come up with a revised intergovernmental agreement in the next 30 days.

Comments

Scott Wedel 6 years, 11 months ago

Hooray. Common sense can prevail on the City Council.

I don't know how joint supervision of a county employee could work. That's a bad idea. Concerns should be passed from City Council to County Commissioners.

Yearly audits is so obvious that only question there is why weren't they done in the past.

With all the money SB gets from sales taxes, it should quit worrying about that $1.4M transfer. Can the City survive without that money? Easily. Is the money going to something the City opposes? No, more likely it is going to what the City thinks the County should be doing. Will it happen again? Not likely with the yearly audits and so on.

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housepoor 6 years, 11 months ago

Looks like Lanning is on the oppisite side of this again, although he appears to be keeping his comments to himself this time.

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portagetheyampa 6 years, 11 months ago

Good for the new city council! ONE building department is sufficient. The city and county need to work together to maintain and reestablish, if needed the integrity of the building department.

Maybe this council won't so freely spend our money on their own whims.

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armchairqb 6 years, 11 months ago

Scott-- NOT WORRY ABOUT THE 1.4 MILLION. ARE YOU KIDDING??? How do we know its not1.6 or 2.3 without and audit. Better yet, if it's not that that big of a deal deposit it in my account. I guarantee not to waste it like the city or county will.

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