Chaffee County Commissioners have called a public work session for 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 13, at the Chaffee County Fairgrounds to review the results-to-date of a professional poll assessing the potential to introduce a funding measure that may become an Envision ballot initiative on the November ballot. The poll and the event are an outgrowth of the county’s lengthy Envision process, intended to inform the development of a new comprehensive plan. If the decision is made to move ahead, organizers say the measure could support some combination of funding for fire protection, forest health, rural landscapes and management of recreation impacts.
“This is the public’s opportunity to hear the polling results, ask questions about them and to express their opinions,” said Central Colorado Conservancy Board President Cindy Williams, who has overseen the effort. “We would love to have supporters of the concept there to hear the results and have input into the decision to refer a (ballot) measure or not.”
Chaffee County Commissioners requested technical assistance from the Trust for Public Lands, which in turn organized the poll to be done by a third party, polling company FM3. No information has been provided about how many people were polled and how were they chosen, or how much it cost to conduct the poll.
According to Williams, the commissioners haven’t yet seen the results of the poll. “The commissioners wanted the public to see the poll data at the same time they do. It will show how voters feel about the categories they were asked about; those categorizes are fire protection, clean waters, forest health, rural landscapes and management of recreation impacts.”
Asked about other issues important to Chaffee County such as affordable housing, transportation and access to health care, Williams responded, “Those are separate baskets. In this particular basket are the things related to the physical environment, but we are looking at how those things fit in. I just had a meeting with the new Chaffee County Housing Director, Becky Gray, and we are quite aware and are planning some future session with the Housing Policy Advisory Committee.
“Our vision is we have to do all things parallel – if you have a fire or a forest health event, the people who get impacted are the same people looking for housing. I call it taking a ‘Yes, and’ approach. We have to do both. If we fund forest health and clean water, then how can we make housing move forward?”
Williams said currently the county has a recreation imbalance. “Recreation is growing at 17 percent per year in the Four Mile area. … How do we keep that in balance?”
If a measure is to be placed on the ballot this November, formal notification to the County Clerk and Recorder’s Office must be made by Aug. 21, and the deadline for ballot content is Sept. 7.