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MLK Day, lower community values, land use regulations changes for natural gas operations – The Sopris Sun

MLK Day, lower community values, land use regulations changes for natural gas operations – The Sopris Sun
MLK Day, lower community values, land use regulations changes for natural gas operations – The Sopris Sun

The history of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Colorado dates back to 1975, when State Representative Wellington Webb introduced the first of three bills to establish the holiday. For three years, those bills remained defeated. In 1979, Representative King Trimble introduced a bill that failed in committee. In 1981, Representative Wilma J. Webb introduced the first of four bills to establish the holiday. The fourth passed. On April 4, 1984, about a year after Dr. King’s birthday was recognized as a national holiday, Governor Richard D. Lamm signed House Bill 1201. The following year, Coretta Scott King, Dr. King’s widow, came to Denver to help plan Colorado’s first holiday for January 26, 1986. Since then, the state has observed it on the third Monday in January.
However, the holiday has not been listed on Garfield County’s holiday calendar for more than 40 years. But Commissioner Tom Jankovsky seems to want to change that.
During a discussion of the 2025 calendar on Monday, the county’s human resources office gave the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) two options: keep the current calendar with ten holidays or increase the number of holidays to eleven with a flexible holiday. Jankovsky suggested otherwise.
“I would like option ‘C,’ which is Martin Luther King Day as a holiday,” he said. “I think it’s time to honor this holiday in honor of the father of the civil rights movement and a gentleman who made very wise comments on civil rights.” He brought this up more than once.
However, the BOCC voted unanimously to adopt the current calendar of 10 holidays and add Friday, December 26, as the eleventh day. Commission Chairman John Martin referred Jankovsky’s idea to Human Resources.
“I think the committee needs to talk about Martin Luther King Day and see if staff wants to add that,” Martin said. “But that would be 2026.”

In other news…
County Assessor Jim Yellico presented the 2024 report on values, protests, rigs and other items. The county’s total value for 2024 is just over $3 billion. That may sound like a lot, but Yellico told the BOCC that’s a 26% decrease from 2023. The value of real estate is just over $1.5 billion, 4% less than last year. And the value of oil and gas assets is just over $1.3 billion, 44% less than 2023.
“The largest factor in the reduction in assessed value in Garfield County is the 63 percent reduction in the average net price of natural gas and LPG,” Yellico said in an email to The Sopris Sun.
The BOCC approved the auction of surplus vehicles, received an update on the 5Point Film Fest, and approved three liquor licenses and the consent agenda.
County Landfill Manager Deb Fiscus gave an update on the landfill, explaining that reports will be semi-annual instead of quarterly. Total revenue is $1,111,389, up slightly from $1,091,960 in 2023. Expenses are also up slightly from 2023 to $618,680. The landfill has accepted less waste from more customers so far this year than in 2023.
County Clerk and Recorder Jackie Harmon told the BOCC that the results of the primary election have not yet been finalized. The recall election of Tony May in Garfield County RE-2 is scheduled for Tuesday, August 27.
After lunch, commissioners considered solar-related amendments to the 2013 Garfield County Land Use and Development Code and ultimately rejected the amendments as presented. A future work session is planned to work out details.
The BOCC approved changes to the text of the Land Use Code for Oil and Gas Operations on June 17. These changes to Article 9 include detailed requirements for scheduling neighborhood meetings and public hearings. The modified building setbacks include 500 feet between existing oil and gas wells and surface facilities and human-occupied buildings, 2,000 feet between schools/daycare centers, 350 feet between subdivision plans, and 150 feet between human-occupied buildings and abandoned/restored wells.

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