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El Paso County Colorado District 49

Actions and accomplishments

The end of another year is upon us, and I would like to report on accomplishments and actions here at the county for 2011. This was El Paso County’s sesquicentennial year ñ our 150th birthday! What a year it has been! Taken from our own internal assessment, I would like to share highlights of a few of the noteworthy items for the year.Beginning with roads, the planned 2011 Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority capital projects that were completed include Meridian Road, Stapleton Road, Marksheffel Road and Hodgen Road.We completed over $6 million in road paving; concrete maintenance and repairs; and the purchase of material in support of road and resurfacing operations.We completed the Hwy 94 access management plan in a successful collaboration between the County, City of Colorado Springs, Schriever Air Force Base and the Colorado State Department of Transportation. We continue to work with the state in an effort to prioritize future dollars for the improvement and expansion of Hwy 94.We completed road maintenance and improvements resulting in 108 miles of chemical dust control abatement compared to 44 miles in 2010, 27.87 miles of graveling and 31.88 miles of chip sealing.We continued the implementation of our county moves project, which will be completed next year. This project will address the long-term facilities needs and statutory responsibilities of the offices of the Sheriff, Coroner, Treasurer, Assessor, Clerk and Recorder and Board of County Commissioners, as well as the Departments of Human Services and Health and partnering agencies like the Pikes Peak Workforce Center, for many years to come. By consolidating agencies and existing budgets, this project has been accomplished with NO increase in general fund spending, NO tax increase, NO service cuts and major improvements in citizens’ services.We have continued strong financial management resulting in the county’s increased reserves from 19 to 43 percent in order to enable the county to sustain operations and an improved bond rating from Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s during an otherwise unstable economic climate.We have been aggressive about savings here at the county for the last several years and this year was no exception. We established new fraud recovery processes resulting in $450,000 in savings related to Human Service Assistance payments. We refinanced the jail bonds from 2002, resulting in $700,000 in savings. We reorganized the Information Technology Division resulting in annual savings of $500,000.In our Public Services Department and in support of the Economic Development Corporation’s and Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce’s “Think Local Campaign,” we recommended the awarding of more than 80 percent of contracts for services, equipment and materials to local companies; 13.9 percent of contracts to statewide companies; and 5.43 percent of contracts to out of state companies. Total contracts awarded were 782, representing over $87 million in contract expenditures.Our Development Services Department continues to work on improvements to customer services and streamlining processes. In partnership with our Barriers to Business group, we continue to root out oppressive and over-burdensome regulations, which impede small and large business as well as property owners in general. With protection of private property rights at the forefront of our responsibilities, we will continue in these efforts and believe in focusing on excellence in service to the citizens we serve, efficiency with a business mindset and transparency in all our efforts.We continue to lead regional coordination with all municipalities within the county in order to find opportunities for shared services between entities resulting in money savings and improved services. We have many shared services agreements already in place, like facilities maintenance and security services and we are actively working on more.With a mind on shared services and mutual agreements, we recently and unanimously entered into an agreement with Ft. Carson to reopen and expand a gun range on their property, which will ultimately be open to the public and provide more range opportunities to everyone. This agreement, two years in the making, just received the approval of the Secretary of the Army in an unprecedented effort whereby our duty as a county to provide adequate range services for our Sheriff’s Office will be improved AND made available to the public at the same facility. Funds will be raised through a nonprofit foundation to complete the austere first phase, and operations will be handled entirely through the Morale, Welfare and Recreation office on Ft. Carson. All net proceeds will go strictly to benefit soldiers and their families.In our Public Information Division, we have been extremely busy. I have personally had eight town hall meetings in 2011 and continue to meet folks in their club meetings, homes and on their roads whenever possible. We conducted another county citizen’s college at which county wide elected officials, commissioners and department heads share information and answer questions about the wide variety of responsibilities and services that the county must provide. This college occurs over the course of two full Saturdays and is all done on volunteer time and with donated resources.We have had two very large town hall meetings in conjunction with state representation on the oil and gas issue, which is of vital importance to everyone in the county. With an eye on the protection of our water resources ñ both quality and quantity ñ and our local infrastructure, we have been engaged in an exhaustive effort to assess state and federal regulations, our local authority, best practices and your input in order to define the best way forward. We expect to make decisions on our local policy in January.With just a snapshot of all that has gone on in 2011, I want to pause and wish you all the very best in the coming year. It is now as it always has been my great honor and pleasure to represent you on the Board of County Commissioners and I look forward to another busy, vibrant year!Please remember that my door is always open to you.Amy LathenChairEl Paso County Commissioner, District 2719-520-6412

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