Arapahoe County Commissioner Nancy Sharpe holds town hall
THROUGH FREDA MIKLIN
On February 2, three-term Arapahoe County District 2 Commissioner Nancy Sharpe hosted a virtual town hall to learn from her constituents. Sharpe said the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) was “beginning to execute the transport and open space master plans”, adding: “We are involving our cities, with whom our partnerships have been strengthened during COVID.
Regarding November 2022, Sharpe said, “This is an election year. My seat and that of BOCC President Nancy Jackson will be up for election. We are both time limited. The redrawing of Commissioners’ constituencies will take place later this year. It will be impacted by the redistricting of the State House and the Senate.
Sharpe reminded listeners that “the county fair will continue this year during the last week of July.”
On the day-to-day affairs of governance, Sharpe said, “Now that the state legislature is back in session, our BOCC works with our legislature and Colorado counties on bills that affect county government. What is very important for our county is not to have unfunded mandates. These require us to shift budgetary funds from the priorities we have established for our residents. »
Health service creation process
With the Tri-County Health Department (TCHD) about to disband, following the withdrawal of Douglas and Adams counties, the other two counties with which Arapahoe County was partnered, things will change in 2023, reported Sharpe. “For the past year, we have focused on how best to meet the needs of our very diverse county. We have suburban, urban and rural areas with a diversity of people. We have hired a consultant, Otowi Group, to help us with this transition. She shared that the BOCC meet with them every week.
Sharpe said the BOCC’s goals for a new public health agency are:
- To provide high quality public health services to residents of Arapahoe County, in accordance with state law, in a cost effective and innovative manner.
- Minimize customer/staff/financial impacts on Arapahoe County when transitioning to a single county service model.
She added, “We are using the data we have already collected and determining how to maximize the federal and state dollars we can get and also set aside county funds if necessary. We realize that there is a significant possibility that our costs as a single-county entity will exceed those we incurred as a three-county entity. She continued: “In terms of governance, we believe we need to have at least five people on the new county health board. We consider health officials, elected officials, community members, business people, all stakeholders, to ensure the board reflects our diverse community. This contrasts with TCHD’s current Board of Directors which is 100% medical-related professionals. Sharpe told listeners the BOCC would provide information to residents as decisions are made
Going into more detail on the deliberative process, Sharpe said, “One of the decisions will be which services should be provided directly, which can be absorbed by existing county departments (e.g., social services) and which would be better outsourced. We are particularly sensitive to the needs of our most vulnerable populations.
Sharpe assured a resident who inquired that when the BOCC decides how to move forward, he will focus on ensuring that the new health department uses evidence, is completely transparent and provides for the participation of the public.
Arapahoegov.com/health is the website to look for updates on the progress of the new health service which is expected to be introduced later this year and fully effective in January 2023.
In response to a question, Sharpe told listeners that TCHD had voted to eliminate the mask mandate effective Feb. 5 for indoor spaces and schools. It’s up to the school districts to decide what they want to do.
Returning to upcoming changes in the November election, Sharpe noted that legislative districts had changed and that the website www.arapahoevotes.com contained information on whether a resident’s home or the district or precinct of the Senate had changed. She noted that the house she long resided in will be in a different State House district after this year. Sharpe added: “We can expect BOCC Commissioners districts to generally move east as that is where county growth has occurred. Congressional district changes are likely to occur in the northern part of the county.
Commissioner Sharpe’s District includes Centennial, Greenwood Village, part of Aurora, and unincorporated central Arapahoe County.