City, county talk about justice center | SteamboatToday.com

City, county talk about justice center

But most of meeting spent discussing success of new groups

Susan Cunningham

After almost two hours of updates on several newer groups that city and county officials agreed are examples of successful city-county cooperation, the conversation turned to the location of the new county justice center.

The topic was not scheduled for the city-county joint meeting and received only a few comments.

The location of the $15 million court-ordered justice center has been a point of controversy, with the City Council urging the county to reconsider building downtown and county commissioners saying they would not change their minds about building west of downtown adjacent to the county jail.

City Councilman Ken Brenner brought up the most recent letter the city received from the county, which asked specific questions on how building the justice center downtown could be a “practicable alternative” to building west-of-downtown.

Councilwoman Kathy Connell said she felt it was important for the two governments to keep dialogue going on the issue. That, she said, could help make the justice center — wherever it is built — better than it would be without the conversations.

“I don’t think we should agree all the time,” she said.

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County Commissioner Doug Monger said he agreed that the groups needed to learn how to disagree.

But, he encouraged the city to involve as much of the community as it could if it has discussions about the justice center’s location. The City Council has been “listening to a vocal part” of the community, he said, which does not represent the whole constituency.

Earlier in the meeting, the City Council and county commissioners received updates on the recently formed Tax Policy Advisory Board, the Yampa Valley Housing Authority and the Yampa Valley Airport Commission.

The Tax Policy Board has been meeting regularly and is working on examining common concerns that residents have about the area’s tax policy that could be “misconceptions,” said the board’s Co-chairman Jack Dysart.

The Yampa Valley Housing Authority is working to choose an executive director and also accepted $79,500 from both the city and county, which each received $79,500 in increased capital funds from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs.

The Yampa Valley Airport Commission reported that it is reviewing capital improvements and marketing strategies, planning a Labor Day event, and working to validate the view that having two airports — one in Hayden and one in Steamboat Springs — is in the best interest of the community, commission Chairman Marty Kolonel said.

The groups also heard about the threat of wildland fire and the area’s success in preparing for bad fire seasons.

All the groups came out of years of hard work, Councilwoman Nancy Kramer said.

“I think this is the example of good leadership in our community that’s really moving things forward,” she said.

— To reach Susan Bacon, call 871-4203

or e-mail sbacon@steamboatpilot.com