Kris as Commissioner

I took office January 10, 2016. Since then the days have flown by. I’ve learned so much – and have a much deeper understanding of the role of commissioner and the hard work it takes by all commissioners – and more importantly by our incredible staff to keep a county running smoothly.

I’d like to highlight a few things that have happened in the last few years.

Affordable housing: The county has some land, but not much in the way of financial resources to address this long-standing issue. We’re partnering with the Town of Telluride on what’s known as the Sunnyside project. The county is contributing land, the town funding – and the end result is heading toward a net-zero energy project that will provide much needed housing, just outside of town, on the bike path – and as close to net zero energy use as possible.

We’re also talking with the Telluride Foundation and the Town of Norwood about a potential project on county land next to the beautiful new Lone Cone Library. This is conceptual at this stage. Lots of process to go through first, but the Telluride region isn’t the only place experiencing housing shortages.

Broadband: We continue to work on getting decent broadband available throughout the county. Norwood and Ophir are doing great! Our efforts (in partnership with the Telluride Foundation and funding from DOLA) to light up fiber already in place has taken longer than anticipated with several curve balls coming from Tri-State Electric, but we continue to work through the issues and hope for the best. Our rural nature – and rugged topography make consistency throughout the county – challenging at best!

New staff: In the past several years the county experience a high level of employee turnover, with some cherished, long term employees entering well-earned retirement. At the head of the list is our new County Manager, Mike Bordogna. He replaced Lynn Black and has been on board since August 2019. We thrilled with his knowledge, competency and energy! Our new County Attorney, Amy Markwell, came on board and is proving a huge asset in the complex legal world we live in. Other new or somewhat new folks include Kaye Simonson as Planning Director, Ryan Righetti, Road & Bridge Supervisor and Janet Kask, Parks and Open Space.  

Grace Franklin joined the team in February as our Public Health Director…. Just a week or so into the job – Covid hit. She has done any amazing job keeping us safe – and keeping up with the ever shifting world of Covid response.

As Commissioners serve many roles. Whether sitting as the Board of Equalization (hearing tax appeals) or the Board of Health or just our regular BOCC items, it’s a vast array of tasks.  Budgeting? That’s the process every department is going through right now – and commissioners will have to approve the budget before the end of the year. Tax abatements – we’ve gone through a slew of those since a Colorado Supreme Court decision made some major adjustments necessary. 

Of course there’s more. Feel free to contact me at any time with questions about what we do!

Divvying up Commissioner Boards and Appointments:

Something some folks don’t know is how many organizations and Boards throughout the county, region and state request or require county comissioner input or attendance. At the first of each year the commissioners review these appointments and occasionally make changes.

In 2020, I’m on the following Boards and Committees:

San Miguel Basin Fair Board – I love being part of this group with Janet Kask as our staff liaison. These hard working, creative folks have gone through a lot to keep the Fair happening and keep the 4-H program thriving.

Club 20 – Known as ‘The Voice of the Western Slope”. Club 20 brings Commissioners, elected officials, business owners and citizens together to discuss regional issues and bring those issues to the Colorado legislature. A more conservative organization, I have learned a great deal from every meeting and discussion, understanding diverse viewpoints as never before.

SMART – San Miguel Authority for Regional Transportation. Vice-Chair. Along with Lance Waring and representatives from Telluride, Mountain Village and Rico this Board oversees the budget and operations of our regional transportation entity.

TRAA – Telluride Regional Airport Authority. This Board oversees the Telluride Regional Airport operations and issues and includes representation from Telluride, Mountain Village, the County.

GVTPR – Gunnison Valley Transportation Planning Region. This group includes elected officials from Colo. Dept of Transportation, Regions 3 and 5, to work on transportation planning for the region, including highway and road maintenance, repairs and upgrades.

The Telluride Foundation is a local non-profit that has several important regional initiatives and distributes funds to local non-profits on a yearly granting cycle.

Other organizations I participate in:

Recycle Colorado

Colorado Food Policy Network

Colorado Food Systems Response Group