Goals for the Next term and First Term Accomplishments
SECOND TERM GOALS
STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES/VISIONS/PURPOSES/MOTIVATING FORCES:
- A clean, safe, quiet, and secure Chaffee County that is a desirable community to live, work, play, and raise a family if you so choose.
- A county with clean air, land, water, and abundant wildlife.
- A community with a diverse and sustainable economy wherein all residents can prosper and afford safe, secure, and adequate housing.
IMPLEMENTING GOALS AND INITIATIVES
- Focusing on good government that serves its citizens and needs of the taxpayers and residents.
- Continue working on people-focused issues like healthcare, housing, childcare, and education.
- Continue fostering intergovernmental and interagency coordination and collaboration and develop a County policy handbook for multijurisdictional coordination and collaboration.
- Enhance citizen engagement and build greater transparency by establishing a robust public information program using multiple avenues to share information with the public.
- Continue strengthening our citizens advisory committees and councils and using them to develop future civic, municipal, and county leaders for more responsibility.
- Maintaining existing infrastructure while facilitating new, responsibly-developed, fiscally-sound, and intentionally-planned infrastructure – such as broadband, water, waste treatment, public facilities, and more.
Preserving Our Heritage:
- Protecting our natural resources – our air, land, water, and wildlife.
- Continuing to strongly represent our interests in regional organizations, at the state, and federal levels.
- Protecting and preserving beneficial agricultural practices and advocating on behalf of water management and grazing updates that will help our agriculture producers, lobbying on behalf of country-of-origin labeling for agricultural products and more.
- Advocating for heritage and historical preservation and educational programs.
- Looking for additional innovative programs to reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfire.
- Monitoring and guiding programs like Chaffee Common Ground, the Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP), Recreation in Balance, and a future watershed protection program.
- Tasking the Planning Commission (PC) with updating our land use code to mesh with and support the recently-updated comprehensive plan.
Preparing for the Future
- Continue to work to make our local economy diverse, strong, and resilient, building on the successes of our Economic development Corporation (EDC), local chambers and other business coalitions, our Small Business Development Center (SBDC), and regional organizations such as the Upper Arkansas Workforce Development Council.
- Work to get Chaffee County into a congressional district that more closely shares our interests during the 2021 reapportionment.
- Striving to establish vocational-technical education and training opportunities in Chaffee County in order to improve opportunities for both workers and employers in Chaffee County.
- Continue to emphasize to regional, state, and federal organizations, managers, and leaders that they must think differently about Chaffee County in years past due to our rate of growth – projects they once thought could wait ten years now need to be accomplished as soon as possible.
- Identify and nurture potential future leaders for possible municipal, county, civic, and other leadership roles.
- Finding innovative ways to reduce waste and the amount of waste going into our landfill, including helping our ag producers, builders, and manufacturers find markets for their byproducts that would otherwise be discarded.
- Planning and developing “future proof” infrastructure that addresses future growth without far outstripping need.
FIRST TERM ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Keith was elected as a Chaffee County Commissioner, District 1, in November 2016 and sworn into office on 10 January 2017. During this term, he has demonstrated the same steady leadership that was the hallmark throughout his career in the U.S. Navy, as a small business owner of The Trailhead, his 8 years as a Buena Vista Town Trustee, and as the Executive Director of the Friends of Browns Canyon.
Affordable, Attainable, and Workforce Housing
In his 2016 campaign, Keith made Affordable and Attainable Housing one of his top priorities. Keith serves as the elected representative on the Chaffee Housing Trust Board of Directors, actively participates in the MJHA Steering Committee, and contributes regularly to the HPAC. This commitment continues into his second term.
After establishing the Housing Policy Advisory Committee (HPAC), creating an Office of Housing, and hiring the Director of Housing, the BOCC is leading in a collaborative effort to create a Multijurisdictional Housing Authority (MJHA).
Chaffee Housing Trust has provided:
- Ten ownership and two rental unit opportunities.
- Eight additional units to be available by Summer 2021.
- Support for Habitat for Humanity with land exchanges, fee waivers, etc.
- Received a revolving grant that funded qualified applicants to cover security deposits for rental properties.
- Offered incentives to foster private-sector affordable housing units, which adds affordable housing stock to our community.
- Support for a project that renovated a number of rental units and added one-bedroom units to the property.
- Additional housing projects are in process and will be announced when they are final.
Keith serves as the elected representative on the Chaffee Housing Trust Board of Directors, actively participates in the MJHA Steering Committee, and contributes regularly to the HPAC.
Chaffee County Homeless Coalition and Shelter
Keith convened the group that became the Chaffee County Homeless Coalition. This Coalition established a “Code Blue” overnight cold weather shelter that successfully operated the winter of 2019 and 2020. The Coalition’s goal is to establish a longer-term transitional solution for the homeless.
Envision Chaffee County
Keith provided key support and leadership to develop a shared vision for the County’s future, to shape and to implement the four Envision visions:
- Chaffee County Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP): Keith serves on the Envision Forest Health Council, and worked collaboratively to develop the Next Generation CWPP, signed by the BoCC and local fire authorities this spring. The Council is now leading implementation of the plan.
- Recreation in Balance (RIB): Keith served on RIB leaders’ team of cross jurisdictional and community leaders working to deliver solutions to manage recreation growth in balance with healthy forests, waters, and wildlife; exceptional recreational experiences, and a sustainable recreation industry contributing to the local economy.
- Chaffee Common Ground: Keith joined his BoCC colleagues to place a sales tax on the ballot (1A) dedicated to maintaining agriculture lands in agriculture, forest health, and to reducing the negative impacts of outdoor recreation. Chaffee County voters passed this measure in 2018.
- Chaffee County Community Foundation (CCCF): Keith actively supported the establishment of the Chaffee County Community Foundation. The Emergency Response Fund, which is a part of this Foundation, has raised over $406,000 and awarded over $280,000 in response to the COVID-19 and is just one example of how they meet the needs of our community.
Cottonwood Pass Road
Keith began attending meetings of the San Luis Valley Transportation Planning Region (SLV TPR) while serving as a Trustee for Buena Vista. Keith recognized the opportunity to improve our side of Cottonwood Pass Road (CR306) and used knowledge gained in this position to help secure $12.3M of the projects $13.6M through funding the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Federal Lands Access Program (FLAP) Program Decision Committee (PDC). Keith was instrumental in getting 3.5 miles added on both sides of the road, up to the U.S.F.S border. By including the trail in the construction of the Cottonwood Pass project, the County was able to save approximately half of the cost of constructing the trail as a separate project. Chaffee County’s portion for the entire road and trail project was only $1.3M, which is less than the 17.21% match amount normally required. View this short video to find out about improvements. https://youtu.be/3YvJRy68qaY
Keith rejuvenated Chaffee County’s Transportation Advisory Board (TAB) to identify County transportation needs and projects and to better coordinate them with the municipalities. Chaffee Shuttle, the only public transit service based in Chaffee County, provides for employment, medical appointments, shopping and recreation, and its services are free. As the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in the County, Keith supported the Chaffee Shuttle in obtaining grant funds to provide grocery trips for residents in need. Keith has also been working with the Chaffee Shuttle and CDOT to help the town of Buena Vista develop a bus shelter for people to access rides on Bustang/Outrider.
Comprehensive Plan Update
An update of the 20-year-old county comprehensive plan was one of Keith’s top priorities. He provided vision and guidance for the Planning Commission to produce a “new model” comprehensive plan that is more accessible, more user-friendly, and can be updated more frequently.
In Nov 2015, as a Buena Vista Trustee, Keith strongly supported and urged the Town to support a 0.5% sales tax dedicated to funding medical, disaster management, and dispatch services. Previously, funding had come from the federally funded program Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT), which was inadequate and unreliable. These funds have allowed the County to purchase one ambulance every year instead of every two or three years, which is in line with national ambulance rotation guidelines. Additionally, funds were used to purchase a two acre land parcel by the Buena Vista airport for the future site of an EMS bay/living quarters, as well as the sheriff’s office. Positive cash flow has enabled this fund to accumulate capital dollars that will be used as a grant match for this building, which would also include the sheriff’s office (this portion would be paid by General Fund dollars). Other improvements include the ability for EMS to replace critical capital items such as cardiac monitors, ventilators, and CPR assists when appropriate. Prior, these items were replaced when grants were available, which pushed the obsolescence limits. In 2017, dispatch was able to replace their out-dated consoles at a net cost of $482,000. In the future, the Office of Emergency Management will need to be relocated to a more high tech/functional space and this funding stream will provide financial resources to make this happen. This sales tax has provided the ability to offer cost of living, if not market adjustments, over the last four years, and has ensured the three departments appropriate staffing as well as the equipment needed to perform as top notch professional organizations.
Human Rights, Worker Rights, and Family Issues
- Keith participates in the Chaffee County Early Childhood Council, which addresses the lack of childcare in Chaffee County, among other children’s development needs.
- He has taken an active role in the Full Circle Restorative Justice program.
- Participated in PRIDE because Keith believes everyone deserves basic human rights, that “all [people] are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness,” and that our vision is to be “one Nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
Legislative Representation for Chaffee County
Keith is the Chaffee County Commissioner to represent Chaffee County at the state and national level. He is our representative to Colorado Counties, Inc. (CCI) and on the CCI Public Lands Traveling Team. This position gives him a seat at the table at the National Association of Counties (NACo) legislative conferences and Western Interstate Region (WIR) conferences.
In his legislative role, Keith advocates for Payment-in-Lieu of Taxes (PILT), Secure Rural Schools (SRS), Federal Lands Access Program (FLAP), and other vital programs. He is also the liaison with land management agencies for the Friends of Browns Canyon (FOBC), Friends of Fourmile (FOF), Northern Chaffee Wilderness Volunteers, Buena Vista Singletrack Coalition (BVSC), Salida Mountain Trails (SMT), Colorado Off-Road Enterprise (CORE), the agricultural community, local members of the Colorado Mountain Club, the Colorado Trail Foundation, The Wilderness Society, Colorado Fourteeners Initiative, and others.
Chaffee County Heritage
History has always been important to Keith, Participating in County Heritage events like the Wagon Train, (Bryce Kelly) Ranch tour, Gold Rush Days, AppleFest, Chaffee County Fair, Pancake Breakfasts, Historic St Elmo and Chalk Creek Canyon fundraiser. As a member of the BOCC, Keith supports funding for projects like the Hutchinson Ranch, the St. Elmo Historic District, and Buena Vista Heritage. Keith led commissioners in establishing a new tradition of an annual meeting at the original 1879 Chaffee County Courthouse, and serves as the primary BOCC point of contact and advocate for letters of support and resolutions supporting heritage projects.