County commissioners address Hayden residents' questions about fairgrounds, cuts, gravel

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Routt County commissioners spent much of their time Tuesday evening dispelling rumors about the fairgrounds, budget cuts and gravel pits.

About 10 people attended the Board of Commissioners chat Tuesday night at Hayden Town Hall. Several folks sprinkled commissioners Diane Mitsch Bush, Doug Monger and Nancy Stahoviak with concerns about events at the Routt County Fairgrounds.

The county requires insurance for fairground events, and insurance costs money. Resident Tammie Delaney asked whether fair and county officials could ask other counties how they insure events such as horseback riding clinics.

"There is tremendous potential in whatever can be done to really foster and encourage and enable these events to occur," Delaney said.

Fair Manager Jill Delay noted that one company specifically insures equestrian events at a lower rate. For events such as reunions or weddings, a person often can get event coverage through his or her homeowners' insurance. That typically costs as much as $25, Delay said.

She explained that insurance was necessary, and Stahoviak said the county's attorney recommended that the county require it.

"What the county's trying to do and trying to communicate, they're trying to limit their risk and their liability," Delay said.

Commissioners also made it clear that they weren't planning to slash the Cooperative Extension Office. Monger explained that the county hasn't done layoffs but has cut pay and created a furlough program.

That rumor might have come from a discussion of cuts at Colorado State University, which runs the office, Mitsch Bush said.

"CSU is looking to restructure the Extension (office), and part of that is what they're calling regionalization," she said.

That could result in some counties sharing extension agents.

Resident Don Hayes asked commissioners about a sometimes hot-button issue.

"What's you guys' official stance on gravel pits, current or prospective?" he asked.

Any pits would go through the county's special-use permit process, Mitsch Bush said. If the builder of a pit meets requirements and mitigates potential impacts, commissioners said, they would approve it.

That wasn't what Hayes had heard.

"As far as the rumors, you guys have stated no more pits in Routt County," Hayes said.

The commissioners assured him that wasn't the case. But companies that want to add or expand pits must take their neighbors' issues into consideration.

"We can put conditions on those permits that mitigate those concerns," Stahoviak said. "And in the 16 years I've been a commissioner, we've only denied one gravel pit," which was in Hayden.

Monger provided a final reminder about the county's reaction to residents' concerns. At last year's chat, the room was loaded with residents concerned about the slide on Routt County Road 76, the Cog Road.

The county has put out requests for proposals on fixes for C.R. 76 and the Elkhead slide on Routt County Road 86. The state Department of Local Affairs gave the county $582,000 for the projects, and the county will pay for the rest, Monger said. Commissioners signed the contract with DOLA on Tuesday, Monger said.

The county expects work to start in August.

"Those projects are continuing to move forward despite our budget shortfalls," Monger said.

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