County Signs Temporary Health Coverage Agreement with Bent County

Prowers County and Bent County Commissioners have agreed on an intergovernmental agreement which will provide technical public health assistance for the Prowers County Public Health Department.  Prowers County Administrator, Jo Dorenkamp, is serving as the county’s interim Public Health and Environment Director in the absence of former director, Jackie Brown, who has accepted another position as of August 31.  Bent County will offer assistance, “as needed” for a period not to exceed 90 days under the IGA.   Both parties have agreed to the provisions of the IGA, and Bent County Commissioners will sign the document at their next meeting.  Prowers County Commissioner, Joe Marble, said he hopes that the county will find a permanent replacement for Brown within the next 30 days.  A come and go reception for Jackie Brown will be held at the County Annex between 4pm and 6pm on Thursday, August 30. 

Pat Palmer, Prowers Lodging Tax Panel President, asked the commissioners and county attorney, John Lefferdink for advice on how best to have the 1.9% motel taxes paid to the county directly and not to the Secretary of State’s office.  “Can a legislator sponsor a local tax at the state level to correct this problem for us?” Palmer asked.  Panel members have long been vexed by the lack of information accompanying the state’s tax payment back to the county.  “We don’t know what month or even what year the payment is for when it’s returned to us!” said Palmer.  “Sometimes we get a check for $7 and sometimes for $12,000,” he added, in explaining the situation to the commissioners.  Palmer said it would help the Panel if the county could handle the motel tax the same way the city clerk handles the direct payments to that office.  Because Lamar is a home rule city, it can handle its own tax payments, but that’s not the case for the county.  Commissioner Henry Schnabel suggested other counties be contacted to see if they can operate under a home rule classification.  Lefferdink said Palmer should contact State Senator Grey Brophy who represents our area, to see what kind of leeway could be provided from the state Department of Revenue.   On a similar matter of paid and unpaid taxes, the commissioners had discussed hiring an auditor to review the county sales tax at the state level to see if there are missing payments from any variety of businesses.  Which motel is making payments and how much is kept private as a business matter and only the county clerk has access to that information which cannot be divulged.  Palmer said that one new motel in Lamar had been making their tax payments to the Pueblo Economic Development Corporation and not Prowers County until that situation was corrected.  That’s why he wants the Lodging Panel to have access to a better system of record keeping on sales tax payments.  

The county road and bridge department accepted two bids for used pickup trucks.  A 2007 model was sold to the high bidder at $6,276 and the 1989 pickup went for $1,526.  Because of tightened budget, the county replaces vehicles on a one to one basis.  When one goes, it opens the door for a replacement purchase.

 In other action the commissioners approved the filing of the State Abstract regarding this year’s Prowers County Property Tax Values.  A slight decrease was noted from this year to 2011.   The commissioners also approved a letter written of behalf of the City of Lamar for the city’s application for a GOCO grant to complete the final two ball fields at the city’s sports complex.

By Russ Baldwin


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