Bent County Sheriff Jake Six met with Bent County Commissioners Thursday.

Prior to the meeting, Jean Sykes and Chuck Netherton performed the monthly jail inspection. Commissioner Kim MacDonnell was absent due to a meeting in La Junta.

Six and Undersheriff Wick Turner reported a January Revenue of $54,601.26 with 45 inmates currently in the County Jail. Sixteen inmates are from Bent County while Otero has 22 inmates, the Department of Corrections has five and with Crowley and Kiowa County each have one.

Bent County has been charging $45 a day while the state average is $52.50. The new sheriff raised the county rate to $55 and that rate could fluctuate depending on contracts and number of inmates from other counties.

The county no longer has a certified VIN inspector and is utilizing Colorado State Patrol VIN inspectors. Six is considering having an employee trained as a certified VIN inspector.

The volunteer Sheriff’s Posse has been revived by Six and 12 members are currently enrolled. Posse members can accompany road deputies, hold jail searches and assist deputies with other duties. The commissioners will continue to allocate $2,000 a year for Posse uniforms and training. This is the amount commissioners had budgeted in the past which went unused.

Robert Darnell, road and bridge supervisor for the West end, reported county gravel pits have been depleted. He suggested two locations for new gravel pits, one of which would require a small bridge be built for private use only. The new gravel pit is expected to last approximately 20 years. Having county owned gravel pits saves about 2/3 of the cost of buying gravel commercially.

The commissioners elected to pay $1,000 annual dues for a voting membership on the Colorado Water Congress Board which deals with water rights and issues.

Sykes and Netherton reviewed the county coroner’s transportation problems. They found a law enforcement officer must be present until a body is moved.

In Prowers County, a flat fee of $350 is charged if an autopsy transport is required. If no autopsy, then the family of the deceased is responsible for the cost of transportation. Commissioners decided more research was needed. Sykes will talk with Coroner Jason Nichols.

Commissioners will coordinate with Crowley County in sending a letter to the governor regarding the economic impact on small communities when private prisons are closed. Governor Jared Polis is contemplating closing private prisons, they said.

A quote from Racine Security Systems was received for installation of camera systems at the Senior Opportunity Center/Public Health Building. The quote of $5,900 for the system was approved.

The Senior Opportunity Center/Public Health Building does not meet current fire codes. Two quotes were received to update the Fire alarm system. Commissioners authorized the Johnson Controls bid of approximately $16,350 for installation of equipment which would bring the Center up to code.

Free Spirit Concepts submitted a quote for a sign over the entrance to the Community Center of $4,700. The lettering would be painted aluminum with background of aluminum clad wood. the Commissioners voted to accept the quote.

Packets were received from the Federal Census Regional Coordinator requesting the commissioners establish a committee of local leaders for outreach for the 2020 Census.

A correct count is important. Based on the last census Colorado receives $8 Billion per year, which is $1,481 per capita. A decision on the census matter was tabled.

The Bent county Fair Board requested new barrel racing equipment but were referred to the Conservation Trust Board (lottery money) for funding rather than taking money from the county’s sales tax fund.

Amounts of selenium in the river water from the Pueblo Reservoir to the John Martin Dam above EPA limits were mentioned. Several communities in the lower Arkansas River Valley are looking into ways to limit the amount of selenium in the river water through special filters and/or reverse osmosis and other methods.

The next county commissioners meeting will be at 9 a.m. Feb. 28, at the Bent County Courthouse. Meetings are open to the public.