Despite rising cases in Colorado and the county, Clear Creek is not looking to implement a mask mandate — at least not by itself.
Tim Ryan, the county’s public health director, and his colleagues across Colorado have asked Gov. Jared Polis to implement a statewide mask mandate. Ryan said during a Nov. 16 county commissioners meeting that a “piecemeal approach” would be ineffective.
“Many individuals won’t act unless it’s a statewide mask mandate,” Ryan said.
Commissioner George Marlin said he’d be comfortable with a regional approach, such as if all the Denver-area counties implemented mask mandates simultaneously.
“I don’t think a mask mandate in Clear Creek County alone will change our outcomes,” Marlin continued.
With about one in 50 Coloradans infected with COVID-19 and a surge of cases expected post-Thanksgiving, Ryan recommended everyone get tested five days after any holiday gatherings.
He also encouraged parents to get their children vaccinated and eligible adults to get their booster shot, if they haven’t already. There are multiple vaccination clinics throughout the county, including at the Clear Creek Health & Wellness Center and the Idaho Springs Safeway, he detailed.
“Call us and we’ll come vaccinate you in your home,” Ryan said, clarifying that several residents have made in-home vaccination appointments already. “… (Vaccination) is the only thing that’s going to turn us around.”
Marlin remarked how he got his booster shot recently because he saw the impact of the current wave of cases and wanted to do his part.
Commissioner Randy Wheelock also wanted locals to take care of themselves during the holiday week, remarking how hospitals nationwide are turning people away because they’re over capacity.
2022 budget up for approval on Dec. 7
County staff members have prepared a draft 2022 budget, there are a lot of long-term items that need more examination, officials discussed at a Nov. 16 meeting.
County Manager Brian Bosshardt presented a draft 2022 budget for public comment on Nov. 16, and the final version is expected to be adopted on Dec. 7.
Overall, the county is anticipating about $40.1 million in revenues across its various funds, and about $39 million in expenditures.
Bosshardt said the biggest takeaway from the 2022 budgeting process was that expenditures are outpacing revenues. Property taxes continue to decline, and sales tax revenues are slightly improving.
“(The county’s) needs outpace the available funds to support them,” Bosshardt continued.
He and the commissioners said the county’s long-term financial sustainability is something that the new county finance director will need to investigate.
The position has been vacant for several weeks, and Bosshardt clarified later that Clear Creek is interviewing candidates on Dec. 6
Commissioner Sean Wood said he wanted to look at sales tax trends and lodging tax incomes to get a better idea of where the county’s revenues are coming from and how sustainable they might be long-term.
Wood also asked that the forthcoming finance director examine the county’s long-term trends for both revenues and expenditures.
Because the county didn’t have a finance director for much of the 2022 budgeting process, Bosshardt had to undertake some of it. The commissioners thanked him for his work. Bosshardt in turned thanked his staff and Patsy Hernandez, a former finance director for Clear Creek, who helped with the process.