The Bent County Board Commissioners passed a resolution in opposition to the “Red Flag Bill” currently before the Colorado Legislature and expected to soon be signed by Gov. Jared Polis.

Resolution 2019-10, which was before the BOCC at its March 28 meeting, reaffirms support of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and calls upon the Colorado General Assembly to recognize the multitude of existing laws related to the manufacture, sale and possession of firearms.

It also acknowledges that in order to combat gun violence, the state and country must enforce existing laws and more effectively punish and deter those who commit crimes.

“Bent County is not a sanctuary county," said Board Chairwoman Jean Sykes and added that the complete resolution will be available for viewing on the Bent County website.

Sykes also urged citizens to contact their state representatives and express their opinions about the “Red Flag Bill.”

In his report, Core Civic Warden Carl Roark said there has been a major reduction in utility bills since the installation of LED lighting throughout the prison and grounds.

Roark also told the commissioners there are 30 job vacancies at the prison, a substantial increase from the 19 openings he reported in February.

The warden said he is seeking to find good help and will be reaching out to other areas because he has been unable to fill the positions locally. 

The board voted to accept a quote of $13,875 from MonCor in Lamar for garage doors on the county building. MonCor's quote as higher than another bidder, from Colorado Springs, but the commissioners expressed their desire to keep the business in the Arkansas Valley.

The cost of three doors with 1/2 horsepower openers is $13,875, which includes installation.

County Administrator Calvin Feik said the lights in the garage will have to be relocated, to accommodate the new doors.

After several months of discussing the installation of a handicap lift on the east side of the courthouse, the commissioners rescinded that decision in favor of a ramp with open grating and a double switchback.

Removal of the old concrete ramp and installation of the new metal ramp is expected to cost approximately $102,000 but could be lower if workers from the Road and Bridge department can do the work.

At the February BOCC meeting, Feik reported the cost of the lift would be $107,000, and the State Historic Fund would have to give its approval before the county could proceed.

Soil testing will also have to be performed to determine if there's sufficient support for concrete piers, the fire escape stairs will need to be stabilized and the landing to the east entrance will need to be replaced.

The courthouse will remain handicap accessible while the work is being performed, it was reported.

Feik said he will confer with Tom Duke, historical architect, regarding the plans for the new ramp.

In other news:

Early Learning Center Director Crystal Redner reported that the center is at 69 percent capacity, and the new playground should be finished by Monday. 
Bruce Fickenscher, Extension Area director for the Southeast Area, presented a Memorandum of Understanding between the Colorado State University Extension Service and Bent County. During the discussion, Sykes mentioned that new agent, Abby Weber, is a strong personality, and a few conflicts with other strong personalities had surfaced. Sykes and Fickensher said they thought the problems had been resolved.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the District Attorney of the 16th District will be addressed at the April 4 meeting.
A update on the proposal to purchase the county-owned Market on Sixth Street building was mentioned but no details were given.
Commissioner McDonnell suggested that the director of the Bent County Development Foundation have quarterly meetings with the commissioners. It was decided that BCDF should be on the agenda the first meeting of the month each quarter.

Commissioner meetings are held the first, second and fourth Thursday of the month at 9 a.m. in the basement of the courthouse, and they are open to the public.