Chaffee County has formally begun the application process for citizens interested in serving on the Chaffee Common Ground Citizens Advisory Committee. Applications will be accepted from now until 4:00 p.m. Feb. 20 at the Commissioner’s Office at the Courthouse, 104 Crestone Ave. in Salida.

The seven-member committee will make spending recommendations to the Board of County Commissioners for the allocation of the 0.25 percent county sales tax approved by voters in the November 2018 general election. The ground swell from the county’s Envision process that preceded the ballot initiative has come to be called Chaffee Common Ground. Organization of the committee to oversee fund distribution is a directive of Ballot Issue 1A, in which voters signaled that they support strengthening forest health, conserving and supporting working ranches and farms and rural landscapes, and managing the impacts of recreation growth.

The new county sales tax is expected to generate approximately $1 million in funding in its first year, to be distributed via a grant process that will be designed and managed by the new citizens advisory committee. County Commissioners will have the final approval over committee recommendations .

Commissioners will conduct applicant interviews March 4 through 8, with the intent to finalize committee appointments by March 12. The committee will convene in March to develop a grant application process and grant rating criteria, before the county begins the first Chaffee Common Ground grant cycle.

Public input has been sought for the county to reach this point. They including a Jan. 8 input meeting, and two, public commissioner discussions during their Jan. 15 and Jan. 22 regular meetings.

In developing the committee composition, commissioners sought to ensure geographic diversity across the county; requiring that one member must residing in each of the three commissioner districts, and the remaining four be selected “at-large.” The final committee makeup is also expected to represent a diversity of skills relevant to the three funding areas. Application forms and For information about the required skill-sets, and the application forms, are available at the county website: www.chaffeecounty.org/County-and-Community-News. According to the release, the county seeks committee members who “may not be a paid staff member of any organization applying for funding through the Common Ground program.”

Applications can be dropped off in person, mailed to P.O. Box 699 Salida, CO., 81201, or emailed to pbaldwin@chaffeecounty.org. But must be received by Feb. 20.Those wanting more information ca call 719-539-2218.