Posted on September 17, 2011 by Bob Berwyn
Kim Fenske on the summit of San Luis Peak.
Analyzing Summit County’s wellness program: Tightening standards may exclude those employees who could benefit the most from participation
By Kim Fenske
The purpose of this commentary is not to criticize well-intended fitness programs. Rather, it is to evaluate the criteria used in punitive wellness programs that base insurance benefits on qualifying numerical data extracted from employee screening.
Summit County government, like many health insurance benefit providers, has adopted a wellness program based on the criteria of body mass index, cholesterol LDL, and blood pressure. The program is managed by the corporate health provider MiCare.
Previously, each employee received a deductible account of $750 each year. However, under the MiCare provider, employees must earn the benefit, limited to $500 annually, by meeting certain standards.Each year, the standards tighten. By 2013, each employee must attain BMI 24.9; LDL 140; and BP 120/80 to qualify for a monetary benefit. (more…)
Filed under: Colorado, commentary, Summit County Colorado, Summit County news | Tagged: health, Summit County Colorado, Summit County government, Summit County wellness program | 3 Comments »
Posted on May 25, 2011 by Bob Berwyn
Electric-assisted rental bikes at Lonestar Sports in Breckenridge, Colorado.
Commissioners grapple with vexing questions related to new breed of electric-assisted bikes; changes to regs would require buy-in from U.S. Forest Service
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — The county commissioners continued to juggle a potentially hot political potato this week, as they tried to decide how to deal with the issue of electric-assisted bicycles on the local recpath system.
According to a memo from the open space and trails department, local bike merchants and others have asked the county to amend existing recpath regulations to allow the use of E-bikes.
Spelling out the issues, the memo explains that the majority of the 55-mile path system is on U.S. Forest Service land, where special use permits specifically designate the paths for non-motorized use. With the exception of the county commons, the rest of the paths cross private lands on individually negotiated easements. Any move to approve the use of E-bikes would involve re-writing those agreements and permits.
As motorized vehicles, the E-bikes are specifically prohibited on the paths, but they are, in fact, already in use in Summit County. For now, the county commissioners are still grappling with the question of whether or not they should be allowed, and if not, how to effectively enforce the ban. Here’s an overview of E-bike laws. Visit Electricbikes.com for some information on the many types of vehicles on the market. (more…)
Filed under: Breckenridge, Colorado, recreation, Summit County Colorado | Tagged: bicycling, Breckenridge Colorado, Breckenridge news, Colorado bicycling laws, Colorado news, E-bike bans, electric-assisted bikes, Summit County Colorado, Summit County government, Summit County News, Summit County open space and trails, Summit County recpaths | Leave a Comment »
Posted on December 31, 2010 by Bob Berwyn
Top stories and headlines …
Dillon Reservoir filled much faster than expected in May, 2010, leading to concerns about flooding downstream. The rapid filling was related to changing snowmelt patterns consistent with other signs of climate change in the high country, and has significant long-term inplications for water management in the region.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Early in April, the county’s open space advisory group started discussions on whether some key parcels of protected land needed extra protection against future development. The talks were held in the context of the significant investment that’s been made to buy open space locally: Does Summit’s open space need more protection?
On April 2, the Colorado Avalanche Information Center reported the eighth avalanche death of the season, involving a female solo climber in the San Juans.
Just a couple of days later, Summit Voice reported on the big March meltdown, looking at new research showing how the snowpack across North America is melting earlier each year. Here’s the story: Global warming: The big March meltdown.
In a related story, a summary of March weather stats showed that Summit County saw below normal snowfall and precipitation five months in a row: Summit snowfall on low side for 5th month in a row.
A few more early April headlines
Filed under: Colorado, Summit County news | Tagged: 2010 headlines, avalanches, Dillon Reservoir, Environment, global warming, runoff, Summit County government, Summit County News | Leave a Comment »
Posted on July 13, 2010 by Bob Berwyn
Summit County could be facing some harsh budget realities the next few years as tax revenues are projected to decline significantly.
Our Future Summit hosts July 15 round table on Summit County’s fiscal options
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — Declining property values could take a $4.6 million bite from county tax revenues next year, forcing elected officials and staff to consider program and staff cuts.
A July 15 forum at the Summit County Community & Senior Center set for July 15 (7 p.m. to 9 p.m.) is aimed stimulating conservation about which local program could be most at risk, given decreased federal and state aid and the projected decline in local tax revenues.
“Summit County is facing quite a dilemma … because we rely on property values,” county manager Gary Martinez said during a county commissioner work session last month. “It’s a worse problem than we faced last year and the year before … even if the economy improves, we have to prepare for a worse revenue picture. We have some ideas what to do in some areas, but it’s going to require some pain in county government,” Martinez said. “We know we have a cliff we’re going to hit.”
County commissioner Thomas Davidson, county manager Gary Martinez, treasurer Bill Wallace and Board of Education treasurer Brad Piehl will join other decision makers in identifying the hard choices they face and the strategies they are considering to address the dollar budget shortfall. (more…)
Filed under: Summit County Colorado | Tagged: Summit County, Summit County budget, Summit County government, Summit County News, Summit County property values down, Summit County tax revenues | Leave a Comment »
Posted on April 1, 2010 by Bob Berwyn
Local open space properties are valued by citizens for their natural resource values, as buffers between developed areas and as important scenic view corridors.
County officials trying to plan ahead for the multimillion dollar investment of taxpayer money in open space protection
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — Some local open space parcels may deserve an extra layer of protection through re-zoning, restrictive covenants, or even with formal conservation easements, county commissioners said earlier this week during a recent work session.
The informal work session talks were aimed at figuring out a way to give permanent protection for valuable open space parcels that might lend themselves to development. For now, the talks are preliminary, but the concept could gain more traction next week when the commissioners meet with the county’s open space advisory council.
“It’s a concept we’ve discussed in the past,” said Scott Hummer, chair of the open space council, adding that the question of permanent protection has been an ongoing theme for the citizens advisory group.
There’s no immediate threat to any of the county’s 170 open space properties, purchased with a dedicated stream of sales tax revenue approved by Summit County voters in 1993, 1999 and 2003. About 13,500 acres of land has been protected through land acquisitions, conservation easement donations, access easements, and partnerships with other agencies. (more…)
Filed under: Environment, public lands, Summit County Colorado | Tagged: Bob Berwyn, conservation, open space, Summit County Colorado, Summit County government, Summit County News, Summit Voice | 1 Comment »
Posted on March 11, 2010 by Bob Berwyn
Shoppers aren't spending and local sales tax revenues are hurting. PHOTO FROM PIETER MUSTERD VIA FLICKR'S CREATIVE COMMONS.
2010 not off to a good start, as January revenue drops 13.5 percent from 2009, with critical months coming up
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — Sales tax revenues collected at Keystone and Copper Mountain, and across the rest of unincorporated Summit County, continued to decline in December and January, according to county finance director Marty Ferris, who recently completed the final tally for 2009.
December 2009 was down 14.5 percent from 2008, which, in turn was down 24 percent from 2007. The county’s December sales tax revenues have dropped 38.5 percent from two years ago during one of the key months of the year.
March is the single biggest month for tax collections, with December, January and February following close behind. About 45 percent of the county’s annual sales tax revenues are collected in the first three months of the year, Ferris said. (more…)
Filed under: business, Summit County Colorado | Tagged: sales tax revenues dropping, Summit County budget, Summit County Colorado, Summit County government, Summit County News | 1 Comment »
Posted on March 9, 2010 by Bob Berwyn
A map from Forest Service environmental documents shows the Old Dillon Reservoir project area.
New water supply will help meet future demand; bidding on $7 million project to start soon
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — County commissioners Tuesday gave their go-ahead for the enlargement of Old Dillon Reservoir, a $7 million project that will give local water users some new options, with storage high in the Blue River Basin.
The 62-acre-foot reservoir was built in 1936 and stored water for Dillon until the town was relocated when Dillon Reservoir was created by Denver Water. Under the proposed enlargement, formally approved by the U.S. Forest Service last week, Old Dillon Reservoir’s capacity would be upped to 286 acre feet.
According to a county fact sheet, the water will be used to meet demands from new growth in Summit County and a variety of other purposes, potentially including ball fields and other recreational open space, wetlands restoration, new community facilities and augmentation of well water usage in the Blue River Basin. (more…)
Filed under: federal government, Summit County Colorado | Tagged: Dillon, Old Dillon Reservoir enlargement, Silverthorne, Summit County government, Summit County News, US Forest Service, water, water storage | 1 Comment »
Posted on February 23, 2010 by Bob Berwyn
Proposed changes to the Upper Blue master plan will affect dozens of properties between Breckenridge and Hoosier Pass.
County targets seven areas for rezoning based on surrounding land uses and environmental constraints
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — The ongoing push to revise local master plans may ultimately lead to a selective rezoning of properties that were platted for development in the pre-zoning era.
The changes would affect development potential in about 30 neighborhoods currently designated as platted residential subdivisions, most of them in the Upper Blue between Breckenridge and Hoosier Pass.
County planners started to work on the changes after a court ruling invalidated the county’s authority to impose master plan restrictions that conflict with underlying zoning. Specifically at issue are about 30 subdivisions under county jurisdiction (mostly in the Upper Blue Basin) that were platted before the county adopted zoning regulations. At a Feb. 23 work session, the county commissioners specifically discussed changes to the Upper Blue Master plan.
Filed under: Summit County Colorado | Tagged: Breckenridge, Summit County Colorado, Summit County government, Summit County News, Summit County zoning, takings, Upper Blue Basin | Leave a Comment »
Posted on January 14, 2010 by Bob Berwyn
Local officials say funding to complete the four-laning of Highway 9 between Farmer's Korner and Breckenridge is just a few steps away from final approval.
$8 million for Tiger Road to AGAPE section nearly certain in CDOT budget; Highway 91 and Silverthorne exchange improvements in planning phase, with an intriguing new design idea that could loosen the traffic knot at the busy junction. Please see the link at end of the story for a full explanation.
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — Travelers on Highway 9 in Summit County could soon be zipping along four lanes for the entire distance between Farmer’s Korner and Breckenridge.
Assistant County manager Thad Noll said the Colorado Department of Transportation is only two steps away from securing the $8 million needed to complete the widening of Highway 9 on the heavily traveled route. First, the State Transportation Advisory Committee, meeting Jan. 14, must approve the funds, and Noll said that approval is nearly certain.
“It looks like Region 1 will get the money to do the section from Tiger Road to AGAPE,” Noll said at a meeting of the Summit transit board Wednesday. If all goes as planned, the work should be done by the summer of 2011.
Filed under: I-70, Summit County Colorado, transportation | Tagged: Breckenridge, Colorado State Highway 9, Divergent Diamond exchange, Farmer's Korner, highways, I-70, roads, Silverthorne, Summit County government, Summit County News, transportation | 3 Comments »