Commissioners pass torch

SAGUACHE — Outgoing Saguache County Commissioners shared suggestions and concerns with newcomers Tom McCracken and Lynne Thompson during meetings in Saguache Jan 12. Ken Anderson emphasized the future of the airport. The fixed-based operation (FBO) lounge has running electricity and broadband from Ciello. Improvements on the calendar include fencing to designate the airport boundaries and repair for wind-damaged hangars. The board discussed taking a field trip to the airstrip together.

Jason Anderson was also serving his last day on the board. After eight years (and receiving the 2020 Colorado County Commissioner of the Year Award), he warned against deer-in-the-headlights syndrome. He said McCracken and Thompson would not be alone among commissioners statewide because 58 seats are being filled across 64 counties. Anderson said it was “the biggest exodus of commissioners in the history of Colorado.”

With fewer than two people per square mile, Saguache County is considered a “Frontier County.” Almost 74% of the land is public, so Anderson encouraged the board to be at the table when discussing public lands. Anderson repeated trips to Washington, D.C. to be involved with decisions about BLM land, national forests, wilderness areas and wildlife preserves.

Anderson also urged the new board to maintain involvement in Colorado Counties Incorporated (CCI). Representing an undersized population of roughly 6,000 people, Saguache County commissioners have as much say with CCI as their counterparts from Boulder and Denver. Most important, the rural voice needs to course-correct urban assumptions.

In particular, Anderson cautioned against “unfunded mandates” that drain rural budgets. “You can’t just take a Denver idea and plop it on Saguache County,” Anderson said.

Commissioner Tim Lovato described his western district and the variety of boards and positions that require time and attention. Lovato also sits on the Board of Public Health and the housing authority, and he is the Homeland Security liaison for the county. To the east, the landfill falls in Lovato’s district. To the west, he holds an annual town cookout in Sargents so he can “hear from constituents on the other side of the hill. “After the morning break, Lovato walked through the standard agenda and procedures with Thompson and McCracken. The board will conduct a full meeting Jan. 19 to discuss committee appointments, hear from department heads and handle land use issues