Friday, December 11, 2015

This week in pics from around Mesa County

Mesa County government continues to be a busy place. Check out the photos this week.

Below are four pictures from a recent Criminal Justice Services staff food drive (way to go!): 

The best elves! Treasurer Janice Rich, left, and Chris, Amy, Melinda, Deydra and Arna enjoy some Christmas fun on Tuesday evening at Dragon Treasure. 
Mesa County Animal Services Officer Armour keeps a kitten warm while she finalizes a report for the court. Cuddling with pets is definitely a perk of the job!
The following nine pictures are from the MCEA holiday social this week. 

The three pictures below show Mesa County Weed and Pest staff among others at the Colorado Weed Management Association conference. They toured Colorado Cellars and the Palisade insectary to learn more about different methods of noxious weed control. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Mesa County updates Land Development Code to encourage economic development

The Mesa County Commissioners this morning approved four amendments to the county's Land Development Code. The amendments will encourage economic development by giving landowners more flexibility in how they can use their land. It falls in line with the county's Open for Business initiative and Developers' Bill of Rights.

After the law firm of Hoban & Feola issued a white paper on the county's land-use regulations earlier this year, the Commissioners appointed a focus group, comprised of business leaders and citizens from the agriculture, energy and development fields, to work with the Mesa County Planning Division to review the code, identifying areas of concern and, ultimately, drafting the amendments.

The Planning Commission also held several workshops, and the public in October was invited to two open houses.

The adopted revisions are intended to encourage business in the county by making the Land Development Code easier to use and reducing or eliminating conflicts with other regulations and policies.

"We want to provide clarity and conciseness in the code," said Linda Dannenberger, Mesa County's planning director.

Commissioner Rose Pugliese this morning thanked the focus group members and the Planning Division officials for their countless hours of work, over the past year, updating the code.

More work lies ahead, though, those involved said.

"This has been long overdue," said Don Pettygrove, a focus group member. "And we're not done. We just peeled away the first layer of the onion."

To read more about the changes to the county's Land Development Code, go here.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Commissioners approve 2016 budget

The Mesa County Commissioners this morning approved the 2016 Mesa County budget.

County Administrator Frank Whidden and Commissioner Scott McInnis both emphasized that the 2016 budget is a planning tool, made up of projections. The numbers aren't set in concrete, they said.

The 2016 budget looks like this:

"We're doing the best we can with the money we've got," said Commissioner Rose Pugliese. "But we can't do it all."

Department heads and elected officials will begin meeting in January to look at services the county is required to offer vs. services the county likes to offer.

"We're going to have to make this organization smaller and more sustainable," Pugliese said. "What is it we do that we don't have to be doing?

"We just keep spending more than we have. We need to really put our heads together and see how we can do this."

To view the complete 2016 budget, go here.

In other business, the Commissioners: 

  • gave their OK to participate in the Rural Jump-Start program, a tax relief program for new businesses and new hires who locate into certain designated areas called jump-start zones. 
  • approved a contract between Mesa County and Souder, Miller and Associates for environmental consulting services at Mesa County Solid Waste for $121,000.
  • agreed to provide up to $10,000 in in-kind services for the 2016 USA Pro Challenge should Grand Junction be chosen as the location of the race's start. 
  • approved the 2016 Public Trustee's proposed budget.
  • approved two grant applications from the Grand Junction Regional Airport Authority.
To read supporting documents on any of these items, go here