Police Chief Mike Rulo
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Police Chief Mike Rulo.

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The Cripple Creek City Council met Jan. 16 and heard from Police Chief Mike Rulo who gave an overview of the Police Department and Emergency Services activities for 2018 with some interesting numbers cited.

Rulo said there were 13,643 calls for police department services with calls ranging from vehicle VIN inspections to criminal complaints. There were 879 9-1-1 calls.

Total police department calls for services came in at 13,643, along with 1,629 Division of Gaming, and 1,562 Fire/Emergency Medical Services for a total of 17,713 calls.

A further breakdown of the police departmental calls gave insight into services performed, including:

• Directed Car Patrol — 1,317

• Directed Foot Patrol — 1,334

• Agency Assists — 1,484

• Business Checks — 2,817

• Citizen Contacts — 348

• House Watches — 402

• Public Intoxication — 334

• Parking Violations — 617

• Theft Cases — 128

• Traffic Complaints — 1,081

• Suspicious Persons — 205

• Animal Shelter Checks — 400

• Friendly Caller Checks — 346 (These are agreed upon checks for senior citizens and those with mobility issues)

Breaking down these numbers even more revealed 544 charges, 286 arrests, 789 traffic citations (including parking) and the bookings of 180 individuals (144 Police Department, 36 Division of Gaming) into the Teller County Jail.

A question from councilman Tom Litherland led to an interesting discussion with regards to an increase in crime. According to Rulo, a recent conversation with Teller County Sheriff Jason Mikesell revealed that a snapshot of county-wide crime rates went up from 550 in 2017 to 750 in 2018. Rulo said the city has seen an approximated 20 percent increase in crime, adding that these numbers are important with regards to receiving additional gaming impact funds from the state. DUI arrests have doubled thanks to a grant that provides for an additional patrol officer.

Anecdotally, Rulo said the District Attorney is “bemoaning the fact that his office is dealing with so many filings.”

Future plans for the department include more training with the Fire Department and Emergency Response Team members.

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

With Colorado’s 2019 legislative session now in full swing, the city heard a report from lobbyist Sol Malick. Malick keeps the Cripple Creek apprised of issues important to the city — especially with regards to gaming since device fees are the major source of revenue.

With only 11 days into the 120 day session, Malick said 100 bills have already been filed with many more on the horizon.

One major issue of importance Malick has identified is sports betting, something that some proponents wish to bring to a statewide vote, with others preferring the legislature to tackle the measure. Attached to the sports betting question is off-track betting with some proponents wanting to allow devices such as Keno machines at racetracks; this is not a desired outcome with regards to Colorado’s three gaming communities, Cripple Creek, Blackhawk and Central City.

According to Malick, the desired outcome would be a licensure program that would allow the purchase of sports betting licenses through casinos at the three gaming cities. In that way, any revenue would remain in the gaming designated communities.

Malick said that a citizen vote on the initiative is generally more expensive with more work involved and a less predictable outcome.

“Our position is that all gaming should remain in the gaming communities,” Malick said.

Another bill introduced in the House is HB 1076 which is an addition to the Clean Indoor Act to outlaw vaping, which wasn’t in existence until recently.

The freedom to sleep anywhere on public property if homeless, HB 1096, would permit those without a home to sleep or camp on county open space, parked at a curb, at State Parks and technically upon the six-foot city easement between a homeowner’s property and the sidewalk.

“There are a lot of new people with a lot of new ideas,” Malick commented, referring to the 2018 election legislature changeover.

In other city business, the council approved a five-year lease agreement beginning Apr. 1 between the city and UC Health, relieving the city of its financial subsidization of the health plaza.

The plaza will be leased for $1 for the first two years and raised to $500 in 2021, $550 in 2022 and $600 in 2023.

Another financial decision made by council was the approval for Finance Director Paul Harris to go forward with looking at paying off two existing USDA water bonds in the amount of $1.5 million and pursuing refinancing at a lower interest rate. The bonds were initiated in 1992 and 1998 at interest rates of 5.5 and 4.75 percent with 13 and 19 years remaining, respectively. The bond refinance terms would be a lower interest rate for 15 years. The $45,000 issuance fee is within the $50,000 budgeted for that purpose and, according to Harris, it is a good opportunity for the city to realize a lower rate.

Harris said he is seeking council to be “guinea pigs” to sign up to test the new online bill payment system for city sewer and water bills.

And finally, the council gave approval to allow city staff pursue an agreement for professional services with Rees Consulting, Inc. as a sole source provider for a Cripple Creek and Victor housing needs assessment. The city is seeking DOLA grant funding to cover the costs of the assessment.

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