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El Paso County Colorado District 49

Commitment to the county

It is with appreciation and honor that I write my monthly column, thanking the people of District 2 for their confidence and trust electing me as El Paso County Commissioner serving District 2. After winning the vacancy election in January and serving on the board for nearly a year, I am excited to begin my first four-year term. I look forward to the work ahead.This year has been busy, and it has been an honor to be able to serve my constituents respectfully and efficiently. I find that the one-on-one contact with many of you, the straight talk and the deeper understanding of the real needs of this county and district are critical to successful service in this role. I am constantly reminded of the desire for response from my constituents, even when I may not agree and/or when I cannot or should not use county resources to help.The volume and diversity of work as your commissioner is extensive and offers me an exciting and challenging job. I have proven, not only to myself, but to many within the county that there are a variety of ways to get things done and get them done right. Your county government can work responsibly for you, giving you the most bang for your tax buck as possible.As I begin my first full term, I will be working on many items, including budget responsibilities, mitigating flooding issues in and around the Highway 24 corridor near Falcon, reassessment of the land use development code in an effort to reduce the over-burdensome nature of some of our codes on small businesses and homeowners, exploring eastern public transportation options, working harder for District 2 roads, paving Eastonville Road, working to protect our 4-H program, legislative oversight, water quality and supply and helping people better understand the services provided by your county government.I’d like to address the status of 4-H. El Paso County has an agreement with CSU Extension that in order to keep the extension office running in 2009, we must provide $150,000. This amount is nearly the same as the funding that was provided for 2008 after the mid-year budget reductions. It was further agreed that the $150,000 need not all come from the general fund, but could be a combination of public and private dollars. In late September, the board approved two preliminary budgets: one assuming no revenue increase from ballot question 1A and one with revenue increase. CSU Extension was funded in both scenarios with a combination of public and private funds.In our preliminary budget for 2009, El Paso County has included $75,000 of general fund support for CSU Extension, with the additional $75,000 committed by outside agencies and private organizations. With this commitment our hope was that 4-H youth would have been able to begin registering on Oct. 1 of this year. Unfortunately, CSU Extension was not able to get registrations up and running by that time but is working on doing so. I appreciate CSU Extension’s willingness to honor the agreement we put in place, and I know we have a great year of 4-H programming ahead.Once again, please accept my deepest thanks for your vote of confidence as I embark on the next four years. I know that I must earn and keep your respect, and I begin each day with a sincere understanding of the responsibility I have to every citizen within this county. I will continue to be an open book, responding truthfully and respectfully – even while arguing opposite sides of an issue at times. My office is open to you at 520-6412 or LathenEl Paso County Commissioner,District 2520-6412

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