Clear Creek News Briefs

Posted 9/8/21

Masks for all atClear Creek schools The county commissioners, sitting as the Board of Health, passed a public health order on Sept. 2 that requires all students and staff to wear masks at local …

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Clear Creek News Briefs

Posted

Masks for all at
Clear Creek schools

The county commissioners, sitting as the Board of Health, passed a public health order on Sept. 2 that requires all students and staff to wear masks at local schools and requires regular COVID-19 testing for certain individuals.

All students and staff who participate in extracurricular activities that involve travel and/or mingling with students from other districts, such as athletic competitions, must be tested twice a week, regardless of vaccination status.

Tim Ryan, the county’s public health director, said that student-athletes and the like are at a higher risk for COVID-19 exposure, because of their interaction with students from areas with greater spread.

Unvaccinated staff members must also be tested regularly.

The order has no end-date, as officials anticipate it being in place the entire school year. However, it could be rescinded sooner if necessary, they clarified.

Several parents and county residents expressed their opposition, saying they were concerned about the physical and psychological impact of children wearing masks all day. They also felt students who are required to be tested regularly might feel singled out.

Superintendent Karen Quanbeck said that the district will determine ways to test staff and students regularly in a manner that makes them feel comfortable and protects their privacy.

Ryan said the tests are self-administered nasal swabs, and that the order doesn’t specify where those individuals must be tested. Thus, he explained, they could go to the county’s community testing sites in Idaho Springs and Georgetown and get tested in the privacy of their own vehicle.

Ryan, Quanbeck and the commissioners all emphasized that the measures listed in the public health order are necessary to have in-person learning for as many days as possible.

“I think it’s the right thing at this point in time,” Commissioner Randy Wheelock said.

1% sales tax for Road &
Bridge on ballot

The Clear Creek Board of County Commissioners has approved a resolution to include a 1% sales tax question on the November ballot.

The proposed sales tax revenues would fund Clear Creek County Road & Bridge operations and projects. However, 25% of revenues from the tax would go toward the municipalities’ road and bridge operations, county officials stated at Thursday’s commissioners meeting.

Road & Bridge staff members have projected at least a $30 million deficit in their department over the next 20 years; and since initial discussions in March, the commissioners favored a sales tax increase as it would capture more payers, namely visitors, who use county roads.

If passed, officials anticipate that it would generate about $1.7 million in its first year, and the overall county sales tax rate would go from 1.65% to 2.65%.

The municipalities’ share, about $400,000 in the first year, would be divided among the four towns by the Colorado Department of Revenue based on several factors, including lane miles.

County Attorney Peter Lichtman clarified a previous comment about the proposed tax not applying to grocery sales. He said the county could make groceries an exemption, but then that exemption would apply to the county’s entire 2.65% sales tax rate, assuming the ballot measure passes.

He suggested that, if voters approve the tax, Clear Creek could revisit the exemption discussion in a year when it has a better idea of its revenues; and the commissioners agreed.

During the Aug. 24 commissioners meeting, consultants said a recent survey found that found 66% of respondents would vote to pass a 1% sales tax. The survey also showed the residents were concerned about the condition of the roads and wanted to prevent costly repairs.

Commissioner George Marlin said at Thursday’s meeting that he felt the community should have a discussion on the ballot about Road & Bridge funding.

Illegal concrete dump
in Empire cleaned up

The illegally dumped concrete in northeast Empire has been cleaned up, thanks to the efforts of town staff and volunteers.

According to Police Chief John Stein, sometime before Aug. 25 someone apparently cleaned a cement truck onto town property on the northeast side of town. The property will be a parking lot for a future park along U.S. Highway 40.

Empire is still trying to determine who is responsible, but hasn’t had any success.

Thankfully, after town staff and residents started mitigating the damage, Stein said Asphalt Paving Company volunteered to scrape out all the materials and then put in additional millings on the property.

Not only did it save the town thousands of dollars in clean-up efforts, but Stein commented that the site looks just as good as it did before the incident, if not better.

APC has been working in the area, but doesn’t work with concrete, Stein explained regarding the company’s involvement in the case.

He and other town staff members were grateful for the company’s time and manpower in helping with the clean-up.

Empire police has asked anyone with information about the case to call Clear Creek Dispatch at 303-679-2393.

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