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Board Hears Annual Reports on Roads, Weed, & Heritage Commission

New pavement through Coal Creek was one of the few asphalt paving projects completed by the Fremont County Department of Transportation Department in 2014. It was Phase 1 of a cooperative project between Fremont County, Coal Creek, Rockvale, Williamsburg, and Florence utilizing a $608,000 State Energy Grant. Phase 2 work will take place this summer.

The Fremont County Board of Commissioners heard details of 2014 activities from two county departments and from one of the Commissioners’ special boards at their January 27th regular meeting.

Fremont County Department of Transportation Director (FCDOT) Tony Adamic presented his annual report highlighting the source of revenues for county road and bridge maintenance.    The report shows that 80 percent of the revenue for Fremont County’s $3.66 million FCDOT 2014 budget came from the Colorado Highway Users Tax Fund or the state gasoline tax.   Adamic’s report points out that only 9 percent of his budget comes from local property taxes.   To paint a better picture of the reality of local property taxes used to maintain county roads Adamic presented pie charts showing that out of all property taxes collected in the county, county government receives 21 ½ percent of the total.   Of that 21 ½ percent total, FCDOT receives only 5.4 percent of that portion.

District 3 Commissioner Ed Norden added that in an analysis last year, a rural home in Penrose with an assessed value of $138,000 paid $7.41 for county road maintenance based upon those percentage breakdowns.  The detailed power point presentation on the FCDOT 2014 report can be found on the Department of Transportation web page at

Fremont County Weed Control Coordinator Jana Rapetti presented her annual report showing that once again partnerships with other agencies and other counties were vital to treating noxious weeds in the region.   Rapetti said her weed crew treated a total of 399 acres in 2014 that cut across a six county area.   281 acres of the treated area was in Fremont County.   She said 112 of those acres involved contracts for spraying on private property involving 28 different landowners.    Rapetti’s crews also treated 88 acres of BLM public lands in the area.   Her 2014 budgetary spending totaled $138,589.

Fremont County Heritage Commission Chairman Mike Madone also delivered an annual report citing the group’s volunteer efforts to finalize criteria and submission procedures for designating nine local historical landmarks as the Committee’s crowning achievement in 2014.   Madone said those buildings included the Fremont County Administration Building, the Greenwood Pioneer Cemetery, the Knights of Pythias Hall in Florence, the Bell Tower Cultural Center in Florence, the Deputy Warden’s house in Cañon City, the Coaldale Charcoal kilns, the old Howard Church, the Prospect Heights Jail, and the Julius Parker homestead in Coaldale.

For 2015 Madone said the Heritage Commission will host the 2nd annual Fall Heritage Festival, produce 11,000 copies of a Heritage Booklet, and will put together eight self-guided local Heritage Tours this March and April with the Fremont County Tourism Council.

In new business at the Commissioners’ January 27th meeting the Board approved a Special Review Use Permit for Royal Gorge Paintball on 8-Mile Hill west of Cañon City.   Michael Pond will open a paintball course on the same 2.16 acre site where he operates his heliport for a sightseeing helicopter.

The Commissioners also conducted a public hearing to receive any comment on the 2015 plan to disperse $110,000 in the next year’s allocation of federal Community Service Block Grant funding.   The Upper Arkansas Area Council of Governments (UAACOG) administers the program in Fremont, Custer, Chaffee, and Lake Counties with 44 percent of the funds being distributed to needy families in Fremont County.    Families can only qualify one time for emergency financial assistance which might include rent payments, utility costs, car repairs, medical, and food expenses.   The limit will be raised to $600 per household for 2015.

In other business the Board of Commissioners:

  • Conducted a public hearing on the 2015 Community Block Grant Business Load Fund.   UAACOG Director Judy Lohnes said they have a $290,000 contract for the next two years to assist small businesses in the four county area;
  • Appointed Denise Faoro as a new member of the Fremont County Fair Board;
  • Reappointed Mike Madone, Carol McNew, and Millie Wintz to the Fremont County Heritage Commission and newly appointed Linda Skinner to the Commission;
  • Approved a resolution adopting policies and procedures for Fremont County to follow its Pay Plan for employees;
  • Approved a one year extension of the Dawson Gold Project Exploration Conditional Use Permit on property located off of  Temple Canyon Road southwest of Cañon City.