As roads in southern Colorado deteriorate, particularly the I-25 corridor between Monument and Castle Rock, Teller County Commissioner Norm Steen urged voters to pay attention to Propositions 110 and 109 on the Nov. 6 ballot.
Proposition 110, formerly No. 153, seeks a sales-tax increase of 62 cents to increase transportation investment while 109, formerly No. 167, seeks approval from voters to allocate $3.5 billion from the general fund for road projects.
“There is no money, zero, in Colorado’s general fund to pay for roads,” Steen said, adding that Colorado’s road projects are funded by gasoline taxes and federal transfers.
Steen, chair of Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments, plays a significant role in the state’s transportation issues. “These are very important; I hope everybody gets involved, understands the issues,” he said, speaking at the meeting Thursday.
County Road 51 source of controversy
In the controversy surrounding the recent closure by the O’Neils of a portion of CR 51, county administrator Sheryl Decker said the road will remain open. “The couple wrote letters to neighbors telling them they were going to close the road; they even put a sign up directing traffic to a different way to access the forest,” Decker said.
In response, the county sent letters to the same property owners emphasizing that 51 is a county road. “We do believe 51 is a public road and that it will stay open,” Decker said. “We will do what we need to do to have it stay open.”
To make the point, the county posted the information on the website as well as its social media site. “We are going to stand our ground to make sure the road stays open,” Decker said.
In a letter posted online and sent to local newspapers, Fred Clifford, public works director, repeated the county’s position.
In response, O’Neil sent another letter, copied to The Courier: “Your stance gives me no choice but to proceed with the installation of gates on my property. Once the gates are installed, I will be locking the gates to area residents, neighbors, forest users, and the general public. They can use CR 3, CR 33, CR 94 or CR 32 to access the National Forest. However, emergency services, U.S. Forest Personnel and certain landowners will be given the combination to the gates,” states a paragraph of the letter.
Steve Steed resigns
Decker bid an an emotional farewell to Steve Steed, director of the Office of Emergency Management, who resigned due to illness, effective Aug. 31. Decker had received Steed’s telephone call that morning.
“Steve wanted to express his gratitude to the board, county officials, employees and the citizens of Teller County for eight years of his employment,” she said, overcome with emotion.
Commissioner Marc Dettenrieder followed. “Steve showed incredible leadership and a vast amount of knowledge to this county, interfaced beautifully with agencies, local, regional and state,” he said. “We really appreciate what he has done for this county and wish him the best on his journey.”
Steen added, “Steve is a true professional who worked at the state level and seamlessly integrated agencies from multiple levels in protecting the lives and safety of the people of Teller County,” he said. “Steve was a tremendous gift, a good friend and has some serious health issues. We’re going to miss him.”
Steed re-invented the wheel when he came to OEM, said Commissioner Dave Paul. “He’s one of the folks we were blessed with who are probably grossly over-qualified for the job. His legacy will stay with us for many years. He set us up for success not just while he was here but for the future,” Paul said
Craig Alexander, director of the county’s information technology, added a note: “Thinking about Steve, he really did set us up for success. I remember being out at the fire (High Chateau) and I knew what we needed to do because Steve prepared us.”
Commissioners recognized employees for their years of service: Carolyn Davis, administrative assistant to the sheriff, five years; Deputy Kelsey Johnson, five years; and Linda Johnson, 20 years with the information technology department.