STRs, BOCC & Broadband News
BOCC Adopts New Policy for Emergencies
On September 21 during their regular meeting, the Saguache Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) unanimously approved and adopted a new resolution titled; “Civil Emergency, Emergency, or Local Disaster Regulations” Resolution #2021-07.
These new regulations define the duties and powers of the Chair of the BOCC, spending authorities, spending limits, the succession of authority, government continuity of operations, and alternative meeting locations for the BOCC – during a County Declared Disaster.
Now, in the event of a disaster and the BOCC is unable to meet, they have delegated spending authority to the Board Chair. If the Board Chair is unavailable, spending authority will then be delegated to the County Administrator. In the absence of both the BOCC and County Administrator spending authority will then be delegated to the County Emergency Manager. This resolution also allows the county to bypass certain procurement requirements such as advertising for bids.
Saguache County Office of Emergency Management Director Robert Woelz said, “It is important to establish emergency procurement, purchasing policies, and procedures before the emergency or disaster. When an emergency necessitates immediate action to protect life and property, we cannot let regular County spending policies delay our response. This resolution will reduce the administrative burden associated with contracting goods and services (during an emergency) by allowing the County to engage in non-competitive procurement, if necessary.”
The full text of the resolution is attached and can be found on the Saguache County website. Please, direct questions to the Saguache County Office of Emergency Management at 719-588-0197 or via email at RWoelz@SaguacheCounty-CO.gov.
Housing: Locals vs Visitors
On Tuesday, Sept. 28 Town of Saguache officials will continue their discussion on short-term rental (STR) at a meeting beginning at 6:30 p.m. The public is invited to join the conversation in person and online via the Zoom app. While much of the STR conversation across the state has simply turned into a housing crunch reality for local workers and residents, the Town of Saguache brings the conversation closer to home considering a moratorium on the growing trend. Once the Zoom Link is provided, this post will be updated for readers to connect.
The workshop will also include information about the town’s future plans for water metering, an ongoing agenda topic for town leaders.
SLV Broadband Access Needs Improvement
Citing a need for widespread access to internet service across the San Luis Valley, a collaboration of non-profit and community leaders is spearheading an effort to ensure all communities are included in future build-out of broadband services.
The group leading the effort is called the San Luis Valley Regional Broadband Collaborative (SLVRBC). It was organized in the fall of 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic grew, and represents the joint cooperation of the San Luis Valley Rural Philanthropy Days Regional Leadership Committee and the SLV Broadband Technical Steering Committee.
Following their formation, the SLVRBC said in a statement, “Through robust dialogue, these stakeholders reaﬃrmed that equity cannot be achieved if certain communities do not have suﬃcient technology access for participation.”
To advance the goal of digital equity for the region’s most geographically isolated and underserved areas, the SLVRBC wants to hire someone as SLV Broadband Community Relations Manager to engage with all communities in the Valley, especially those that may lack local government support, are unaware of the significance of their digital needs, or who have been frustrated by the immensity of the challenge.
In July of 2020, the SLV Rural Philanthropy Days Regional Leadership Committee conducted a needs assessment among regional non-profits that identified broadband access as a critical community need. Most notable among the responses was one that addressed the difficulty accessing online education: “We had to provide internet to over 100 families in our community so that they could access their education, and few resources were available for that.” Other responses cited difficulty being able to access telemedicine, e-commerce, social interaction, and civic engagement.
SLV The SLVRBC hopes to select someone for the position of SLV Broadband Community Relations Manager in the first weeks of October. Applications and information for the position are available HERE.