In an expected move during its Feb. 5 regular meeting, the Chaffee County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution formally establishing Chaffee Common Ground as a county program. The Chaffee Common Ground Citizen Advisory Committee will govern and administer revenues generated by the conservation funding measure that was approved by voters in 2018 (Ballot Issue 1A) in last November’s general election.
Revenues are earmarked for three general categories: strengthening forest health, conserving and supporting working ranches, farms and rural landscapes and managing the impacts of the growth in recreation and population the county is experiencing.
Chair Greg Felt pointed out that he wanted to clarify some public confusion over the name of the group “It’s ‘Chaffee Common Ground’ not Chaffee County Common Ground, just so we’re clear.”
Commissioners discussed the care that must be taken in creating the underlying subject matter expert groups that will report to the citizen advisory committee, to be sure there is flexibility to appoint the best-qualified advisers. They also underscored the importance of the scoring rubrics for the distribution of funds to grant proposals.
Rick Hum, who has been a leader of the Envision process and the effort behind ballot issue 1A, pointed out how carefully the ballot language had been framed. He added that the citizen advisory committee would be doing more than approving grant requests.
“The wording on 1A was very careful. It covers ‘grants and/or partnerships’. This gives good flexibility,” said Hum. “It allows for maybe a couple times a year Chaffee Common Ground can consider putting out an RFP to agricultural groups, or forest groups – these would be partnership projects.”
“Communities go through stages of development like kids do, and we’re ready for this,” said Commissioner Keith Baker, who made the motion. “People are the critical factor and the citizen advisory committee will be very important.”
Last week the county published its call for applications for the Chaffee Common Ground Citizen Advisory Committee. Information and the application forms are available on the county website at:
Applications are due into the county by 4 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20. They can be hand-delivered to the County Commissioners office at 104 Crestone, Salida or mailed to P.O. Box 699, Salida, CO 81201. Applications can also be emailed to email@example.com. Those with questions or requiring more information can call 719-539-2218.
Commissioners will be conducting interviews and plan to make appointments to the board by the end of March.