Tuesday, July 24, 2007

5:30-8:30 p.m.

Text Box: The mission of the Larimer County Parks and Open Lands Department is to establish, protect, and manage significant regional parks and open lands, providing quality outdoor recreational opportunities and stewardship of natural resource values.  We are committed to fostering a sense of community and appreciation for the natural and agricultural heritage of Larimer County for present and future generations.NOTE LOCATION:   Bison Visitor Center, 1800 S. County Rd. 31, Loveland, CO








Parks Advisory Board Members:

Linda Knowlton, Chair

Rob Harris

Barry Lewis, Vice Chair

Rich Harter

Ivan Andrade

Chad LaChance

Frank Cada

Tom Miller





Gary Buffington

Kathay Rennels

Mark Caughlan

Sam Waldo

Dan Rieves


Debra Wykoff




Dave Coulson







The July 24, 2007, meeting of the Parks Advisory Board was called to order by Linda Knowlton, Chair, at 5:30 p.m.  The minutes of June 26, 2007, meeting were approved.


PUBLIC COMMENT: Items not on the agenda.  None.



·  On June 20, 2007, the Larimer County Planning Commission formally adopted the 2007 Parks Master Plan as a part of the County’s Master Plan.

·  On June 26, 2007, the Board of County Commissioners recommended approval of the 2008 Proposed Park Permit Fees.  Final action on the proposed fees was deferred pending a public meeting to receive public comment.

·  On July 16, 2007, there was a public meeting to receive public comment on proposed park permit fee changes for 2008.  There were no public comments.  Kathay requested citizen and visitor comments through the website and by phone.  The other Commissioners will listen to the presentation and review public comments prior to an Admin. Matters decision in August.

·  Park Permit Printing Schedule:  In order to have permits delivered in November and available for sale by December 1, the following deadlines must be met:  1) specifications must go out to bid by July 1; 2) a vendor must be selected by July 31; and 3) artwork must be to that vendor by the first part of August.  Every change after these dates pushes back the delivery date.  If the "permit types" are changed, re-bidding may be required.  If the "prices or wording" are changed, the artwork must be redone.  Since we rely upon a volunteer graphic designer, changes must be done within his personal schedule and availability.  This process is currently on track, subject to any future delays.

·  The July 26, 2007, Open Lands Advisory Board (OLAB) meeting will be at the Loveland Library at 5:00 p.m.

·  “S” permits:  “S” permits were made available to all Board members at the meeting.  Volunteer Coordinator, Dutch Fla Havhan, will email to all board members the instructions on how to record volunteer hours online.  Board members will enter their own hours online, including travel time.  These statistics are important


BOARD COMMENT: Items not on the agenda



Larimer County Budget Priorities and Process
Larimer County Budget Manager, Bob Keister, gave a PowerPoint presentation on the new budget prioritization process adopted by the County Commissioners (BCC) for the 2008 budget, which must be submitted from each department by the end of August.  The process identifies the top priority services and directs increased funding to those services.  Parks and Open Lands was classified as a mid-range priority, which will receive a 2% increase in General Fund support in 2008.  For the Parks and Open Lands Department, the General Fund allocation will remain in the range of $250,000. 

Parks Advisory Board (PAB) questions focused on the relative value of Parks and Open Lands compared to other County services.  How this department is funded is not based on comparisons to how other park operations are funded.  Bob stated that in the future, it will be the role of the PAB to advocate to the BCC what appropriate benchmarks should be used.  The low level of funding does not reflect lack of importance.  But this department has the ability to generate its own funding through park permit fees, concessions, etc.  And this department is exemplary in leveraging every dollar through collaboration with other entities.  Other departments will also have to begin moving in this direction.

Commissioner Rennels noted that the County is in good shape financially, and is choosing to shift direction by intent while reserves are strong and there are still resources available to make choices.  In response to a question about the high ranking of the Fairgrounds and Event Center, Kathay explained that except for the Budweiser Event Center, all use at the facility is nonprofit.  Until additional revenue streams, like the proposed hotel, are in place, County General Fund support is required to sustain the operation.


Status of additional member selection process

Two new Parks Advisory Board members have been selected and will be formally appointed before the next meeting:  Kathy Palmeri, an Estes Park resident and business owner, who has much recreation-related experience; and Russell Fruits, District Executive for the Boy Scouts of America, with BLM experience.

Bylaws Committee report. 

Rob Harris reported that a revised draft will be ready to review next month.



Parks Master Plan Implementation – Progress report. 
Director Gary Buffington reported that work is underway on the Carter Lake Marina, and on redevelopment of the Horsetooth Mountain Park trailhead.  Horsetooth District Manager, Mark Caughlan, described the major changes at the trailhead, which has 80 parking spaces.  The Mountain Park project budget is $560,000.  There will be a grand reopening on September 22.

Dan Rieves reported that the RFP for concept and design of the new Carter Lake Marina building will go out within the week.  The RFP specifies completion of the project by April 1, 2008.  The biggest constraint involves difficult challenges in locating and installing utilities. 

Unique entrance signs will be installed at each park area.  The first four signs will cost $48,000, to be produced by DaVinci Signs.  These will go at Horsetooth Reservoir.  Signs at the Blue Mountain District will be installed as each area is redeveloped. 



Parks Advisory Board Minutes

Chair Linda Knowlton solicited comment from the board on how much of the PAB discussion should be incorporated into the minutes of Board meetings.  She also reminded board members that any email communication including a county employee becomes public record unless marked confidential.

Commissioner Rennels stated that anything said at Board meetings is public record; and more detailed reporting of discussion is better to promote transparency of Board proceedings for the benefit of the public.  She also observed that a general note such as “much discussion ensued” may be appropriate for long discussions.  Kathay discouraged taping all discussion, which is burdensome without professional equipment.  However, it may be appropriate to tape a particular discussion on a controversial issue if/when the public is unable to attend the meeting - for example, due to severe weather.


‘Much discussion ensued,’ at the conclusion of which the Board agreed as follows:

  1. All issues, motions and decisions should be included in the minutes
  2. Once a motion is on the table, the discussion will be reported; and speakers will be identified by name.
  3. Board members should review minutes and offer corrections if needed, particularly as to any statements attributed to them by name.
  4. Discussion comments should be incorporated into the minutes, not in a separate document.


Parks and Open Lands Department organizational chart.  Reference enclosure. 

Director Buffington and department managers, Mark Caughlan, Dan Rieves and Deb Wykoff reviewed the organizational structure of each program in the department.  There are currently six vacant ranger positions which have just been posted.  In response to questions, Dan Rieves described the difficulties and recruiting strategies in a tight market in which many “boomers” are retiring from recreation agencies, and few graduates trained in rangering skills are available to replace them.


Gary and Kathay met with the Division of Wildlife on several recreation areas managed by CDOW to discuss options for Larimer County to assume management responsibility for several small reservoirs for fishing.  The Division may have some federal funding issues which preclude such a transfer.  These recreation areas would expand the range of services offered by our department.  A second meeting is scheduled for August 15. 

County fire restrictions went into effect today.  Campfires in contained metal grates as at our campsites are permitted, as well as charcoal grills.

Future discussion topics will include:

·  Parks and Open Lands Budget  (after the 2008 budget is completed in late August.)

·  Hermit Park Management Plan and Horsetooth Mountain Park Management Plan

·  Transferring Horsetooth Mountain Park to the Open Lands program.

·  General Fund issues:  Forestry Program – Gary plans to take some of the General Fund allocation to the Parks Program to fund the Forestry Program fulltime.

·  Benchmark comparisons for our department – What set of parks programs will we be modeling against for the future?  Tom Miller stated that the key factor must be what our constituents are comparing us – i.e., to local area State Parks like Lory and Boyd Lake.  Ivan Andrade noted that to identify a unique niche will require looking outside this area at what other innovative agencies are doing.


PUBLIC COMMENT:  Items on the agenda. - None



August 28, 2007:  Hermit Park Management Plan update

September 25, 2007:  Parks and Open Lands Department Budget Overview; Bylaws Committee update

October 23, 2007:  Ranger Program Overview


Meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,


Debra Wykoff                                     




Approved: ____________________________                     ______________________

                 Chair, Parks Advisory Board                             (Date)



Next regular meeting: August 28, 2007, in the Boyd Lake Room,

Larimer County Courthouse Office Building, 200 West Oak, Ft. Collins, CO.