City Council votes against redirecting census monies to recovery efforts

The local census group’s desire to use $10,000 in community funds to hire a temporary recovery technician is now up in the air for two reasons.

First, the Idaho Springs City Council unanimously decided during its Aug. 10 meeting not to redirect its remaining census funds, which is about $2,500, toward countywide recovery efforts.

Council member Bob Bowland noted that he was supportive of it at the Aug. 3 work session but changed his mind as he thought more about the projects Idaho Springs cut from its budget because of pandemic-related revenue losses.

“This (money) won’t make a significant difference to the county, but it’ll make more of a difference to us,” he said.

Other council members agreed, saying they didn’t believe the city could afford to redirect the money.

Second, the county staff member the census group had hoped would become the recovery technician declined the offer, County Commissioner George Marlin said.

Marlin said the group will meet this week to determine how to move forward. With the census set to end Sept. 30, he believes the community will have a better return on its investment for recovery efforts than it would census outreach.

Agreement for trail-building approved

The City Council approved a memorandum of understanding with the Colorado Mountain Bike Association, called COMBA, to build trails in Virginia Canyon Mountain Park.

Trail-building could start next month, depending on funding.

COMBA has been a part of the park project for several years and has about 1,400 members. It’s also done other trail-building projects in Clear Creek, including at Floyd Hill Open Space Park.

City staff has confirmed that the MOU will cover anything that doesn’t require a fee. If COMBA needs to rent tools or machinery, which would be reimbursable expenses, that would require a separate agreement.

Planning Commission chair retires

After living in Idaho Springs for about 40 years, Planning Commission Chair Bill Mehrer has retired and moved out-of-state.

Mehrer, who was also a former City Council member, was recognized at the Aug. 10 City Council meeting for his years of service in and for the community.

Mayor Mike Hillman noted that, in addition to his years of public service, Mehrer also was involved with several local organizations, including the Elks Lodge, and owned Mountain View Woodworking for years.

Mehrer remarked that he would miss Idaho Springs itself but wouldn’t miss the snow or Interstate 70.

Contact reporter Corinne Westeman at 303-567-4491 or, and follow her on Twitter @cwesteman.