2016 Boulder County State of the County Address

Commissioners Deb Gardner, Elise Jones and Cindy Domenico

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(An abbreviated version of this address was presented by the Boulder County Commissioners at the annual County Reorganization meeting on Tuesday, January 12, 2016, at the Boulder County Courthouse.)

Here we are again at the beginning of a new year! To mark the occasion, we want to celebrate Boulder County’s major accomplishments of the past year and give an outlook for the year ahead. 

This last year was the second full year of flood recovery work. Many of our staff members spent a great amount of time and effort advocating for our residents and moving forward in our recovery. We expect that trend to continue for another couple of years as we work with our State and Federal partners.

In tandem with recovery efforts, many staff remained fully engaged in activities not related to the flood. We plan to commend the full gamut of county achievements with our annual State of the County address today.


Let’s first dive in to Flood Recovery and Rebuilding…

This year we did a comprehensive update of our projected spending for the first time since the months following the 2013 Flood. Our initial projections estimated that would spend nearly $60M more in the first three years of recovery than we have been able to spend at this time. This lower spending in the beginning years of recovery is due to shifting some high dollar projects further down our timeline. But when we look at our projections for 2016 and 2017 we see that initial estimates assumed that we would spend roughly $60M less than we now expect to spend.

Remarkably, this shows that our estimates just following the devastation of the 2013 Flood were very accurate. Updated projections show a difference of just $146,000.

So that leads us right into reviewing what was accomplished in 2015 and a look at what is ahead for a busy 2016.

·       Flood Debris Cleanup (FDC) Program – The FDC program assists property owners with the removal and disposal of debris left by the 2013 Flood and simultaneously created employment opportunities for Boulder County residents affected by the flood.

o   For Phase 2 of the FDC program (which spans the year 2015) 85 projects were able to be completed. Four additional properties are waiting for permits and the work is anticipated to be performed this month (Jan. 2016).

o   2015 also saw an enormous amount of vegetation collected and diverted from the landfill. We anticipate that roughly 550 tons of vegetative debris was able to be chipped from the 85 properties, and in many cases, was reused right on the same property. We estimate that only 56 tons of material had to be sent to the landfill during Phase 2 of the program.

·       Case Management – Staff has continued work with our local municipal partners, state and federal agencies to connect Boulder County residents with necessary recovery funding.  

o   In 2015, Boulder County was one of three agencies that was providing case management for flood survivors. Moving into 2016, the Long-Term Flood Recovery Group and Catholic Charities Case Management will come to a close, leaving Boulder Count as the sole provider of case management. We project that we will be responsible for closing roughly 325 cases that remain open.

·       General County Flood Recovery Effort – Though flood recovery may no longer be at the forefront of the general public’s mind, our staff continues to work tirelessly on this issue:

o   From September 2013 through November 2015, we logged a total of 313,558 staff hours dedicated to flood recovery projects.

·       Resilience Efforts – In an effort to be better prepared to survive and recover from future disasters, Boulder County is very involved in resiliency projects.

o   This process involves looking at lessons learned from past disasters, which the county is doing in collaboration with the Colorado Recovery and Resiliency Collaborative, and recognizing successes at events like the Resilience Summit and Awards.

o   Boulder County is also the fiscal sponsor for a $300,000 grant for a Community Capacity Building Initiative and submitted multiple resilience projects for the $1billion National Disaster Resilience Competition.

·       Parks & Open Space Projects – Many recovery projects that are still on the horizon for Parks and Open Space are very large, complicated and expensive projects. For this reason, staff worked tirelessly in 2015 to get design work and applications completed for projects to be done in 2016. These projects include:

o   Pella Ponds, Mobile Lake 4, the Ramey Homestead, St. Vrain Breach, Walden Ponds, Hall Meadows and Bielin-Hock Stream.

§  Pella Ponds saw engineering and permitting near completion in 2015 and looks forward to completing permitting and begin contracting for work in 2016. The hope is to have repairs completed in the fall.

§  Walden Ponds are set to begin breech repair and trail construction in the second quarter of 2016. It is estimated that repairs will cost $340,000.

§  The Anne U. White trail experienced major damage in the 2013 Flood and have an incredible amount of repair work to be completed. Trail repairs began in June 2015 with volunteer crews assisting on 7 project days and staff crews working August through October. Work will continue through 2016 with the trail expected to be re-opened when trail repairs to Wagon Wheel Gap Road and Pinto Drive are completed.

o   Work was completed in 2015 on the Assay Office Museum, the Fourmile Connector Bridge and Buffalo Gulch

·       Major Infrastructure Accomplishments – Boulder County spent roughly $11M on Road & Bridge work in 2015 and with much of the planning and design work now completed, we anticipate spending nearly $41M in 2016.

o   Some of the major “on-the-ground” accomplishments in 2015 include completion of work at: North Skinner, North County Line Road at the Little Thompson, Streamcrest Drive, Emerson Gulch Debris Rack, Bow Mountain Drive, Pinebrook and Timber Lane, Hawthorne Drive, and Upper Wagonwheel Gap Road.

o   In aiding residents with private access assistance, the Transportation team had a productive year. In total, 54 households submitted applications for a total of 41 bridges. Of these applications, 25 of those households have already received grant awards, 14 projects have been completed and closed, and another 11 projects have started the engineering work. 2016 will see much more success with the Private Access Assistance Program.

That rounds out our summary of flood-related projects. A big round of applause for all of the staff members working on recovery! In keeping with the last topic, we will continue with other impressive Transportation-related accomplishments:

In addition to major, ongoing flood repairs, the Transportation Department continues to carry out a bold agenda of projects.

·  Crews have finished overlay work on County Road 84: Wild Basin, Peaceful Valley, and Upper Lefthand Canyon. The Airport Road underpass at Hwy 119 was also completed along with the Monarch Culvert at Dry Creek.
·  2015 saw many improvements to the local transit systems with the help of the Transportation Departments Multimodal Division. Ride Free Longmont is an innovative program which made all 4 local buses in Longmont free, and over the course of the year saw ridership in Longmont double. With the success of free rides in Longmont, the Division has been working hard with newly-created advisory committees to determine the merits of a Communitywide EcoPass. The committees have already secured financial buy-in from major municipalities in the county and political buy-in from all municipalities. The committees are currently waiting on pricing estimates from RTD.
·  Transportation improvements were made for low-income families in Boulder County through the Mobility for All program. This includes the continuation of providing EcoPasses for 85 affordable housing units, implementing eGo Car Share service at Casa de la Esparanza in Longmont, implementing a Mobility Needs Assessment to help guide transportation investments with regard to low-income populations, and conducted workshops for affordable housing residents to earn a bike for commuting to work.
·  The Trip Tracker program, which encourages students at BVSD and SVVSD to take alternative modes of transportation to school, saw huge gains in participation so far in the 2015-16 school year. Just halfway through the school year, more than 850 students have signed up for the program which compares to a total of 450 students who used the program in the 2014-15 school year. Transportation was awarded a Safe Routes to School Grant for 2016 and will be collaborating with IT to develop a new online application format.
·  In addition to new projects, much of the county’s existing infrastructure also needed some TLC. The Maintenance crews had some big tasks in 2015 including replacing or installing more than 1 mile of culverts, grading 2,945 miles of road, and inspecting 6,889 signs.



Our departments and divisions that primarily focus on physical structures and infrastructure have had a banner year as well!

Building Services

New Facilities

·       Construction of the Coroner’s new facility was completed in April 2015 with a total project cost of $3.8 million.

o   The 9,275 square foot building is a new one-story state-of-the-art facility that accommodates new office space, morgue functions and autopsy rooms for the Boulder County Coroner. The building consolidates all of the Coroner’s functions into one modern facility and includes several sustainable and energy efficient features.

·       Construction of the St. Vrain Community Hub was completed and opened to the public on Aug. 25, 2015 with a total project cost of $25.7 million.

o   The project included 75,000 square feet of new construction which meets Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum standards, as well as improvements to a 29,783 square foot existing three-story building.

o   The Boulder County Housing and Human Services and Community Services departments, Boulder County Public Health, and Workforce Boulder County, along with Mental Health Partners, now provide an integrated host of services at this single location.

o   Since August, we’ve heard nothing but positive feedback from staff and clients alike about just how inspiring it is to work and receive services at the St. Vrain Hub.


Land Use and Forest Health

Land Use was very busy in 2015 with some major booms in building due to economic recovery and flood recovery in our county. Let’s look at a few highlights from the department from the last year.

·       The Building Safety and Inspection Services Team was successful in completing amendments to the 2015 International Codes all while taking on an 18% increase to Building Permit Applications in the county.

·       Land Use staff worked hard to complete Planning Reviews in order to reduce wait list issues. There were 145 Site Plan Reviews completed in 2015 which is a 28% increase above normal. This was in addition to 534 pre-application conferences with potential applicants and 7 Historic Landmarking reviews.

·       Wildfire Partners had a very successful second full season in the county, winning a National Association of Counties Achievement Award, completing 256 home assessments, completing 148 program inspections and certifying 48 homes.

o   The Wildfire Partners program is now a model program for other counties and states looking for solutions to increased wildfires.

·       Last year was the first year the county implemented the new Energy Impact Offset fund which strives to reduce carbon emissions from energy intensive marijuana cultivation.

o   There are currently 10 participating companies in the program which represent nearly 100,000 square feet of cultivation land.

·       On the horizon for 2016 is the implantation of the newly updated Building Codes which include the BuildSmart regulations. These regulations high-performing, sustainable development to support the Climate Action Plan and the county’s Sustainability Plan.

o   A new part of the code is the Zero Net Energy portion. This requires new homes in unincorporated Boulder County that are larger than 5,000 square feet to be certified as being Zero Net Energy.

Parks & Open Space

Parks and Open Space had a celebratory year in 2015 with the 40th Anniversary of Parks and Open Space as a department and the 20th Anniversary of the successful Youth Corps program.

·       To help the community participate in the celebration, a new website was created specifically for the Anniversary. There were opportunities to purchase anniversary prints and notecards, the proceeds of which benefit the POS Foundation. There was also a way for the public to engage with the department and other residents by uploading their personal stories of adventures on open space lands.

·       There were also multiple 40th Anniversary Bus Tours scheduled which gave participants the chance to see examples of local history, ecological restoration efforts, recreation amenities, and the opportunity to hear from agricultural land owners.

·       Boulder County Youth Corps has continued to grow and last year had 155 corpsmembers who were placed on 18 work teams. It is an incredible opportunity for youth to work outdoors, learn about ecological principles, and make some money in the process.

·       In 2015, Parks and Open Space was able to secure roughly $650,000 in grant funding for creating defensible space around historic structures.

o    Defensible Space is the creation of space around a structure that is less susceptible to wildfire. Creating this buffer space can be done by removing or thinning trees around the structure, or creating non-flammable aprons around the structure. This work will be done in 2016 on 91 structures across 17 properties.

·       Parks staff also made efforts to do some innovative outreach with the public this year, specifically with images from the Osprey Camera and the Wildlife Cameras.

o   Staff placed multiple still photos taken from the Osprey Cam on social media and had a huge response. There were more than 600,000 views of the Osprey Cam webpage and more than 8,000 comments received on the footage.

o   A compilation of snapshots from trail cameras on open space properties were posted as a Wildlife Video on YouTube and Facebook. More than 4,000 people watched the video in its entirety on YouTube and more than 52,000 people watched the video on Facebook.

·       With regard to agricultural work, POS was able to add an additional 317 acres of land to the portfolio, bringing the total acres of transitioning and certified organic land to 2,397.

·       To support agriculture, 3 new pollinator habitats were created on county ag properties. Volunteers monitored pollinator activity in 44 plots on 11 county ag properties.

·       Another important tool to preserve land is through the purchasing of Conservation Easements. We are especially proud of the completion of the Tolland Ranch conservation easement project. Boulder County partnered with the Colorado State Forest Service, Great Outdoors Colorado, The Conservation Fund and the Toll family to complete the 3,340-acre project.

·        After many years of planning and design, the Lower Boulder Creek restoration project broke ground in October 2015. Earthwork will be completed in early 2016, and native plant revegetation will be completed by fall 2016.

o   The goal of the project is to realign an approximately one-mile reach of the creek, open up the floodplain, and restore native riparian, wetland, in-stream, and upland habitats.

o   The project, which is located on the Alexander Dawson Open Space, is a joint-endeavor between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Boulder County Parks and Open Space.


Moving from physical structures and land…we now take a look at some of our people-focused programs and the successes they saw in the last year.

Our major client-facing departments, Community Services, Housing and Human Services, and Public Health had a major change this year with the opening of the St. Vrain Community Hub that we mentioned earlier. These essential service providers continued their excellent programming while implementing a move to the new location.


Community Services

Poverty Reduction

·       Workforce Boulder County worked hard with participants on GED acquisition programs which can help graduates obtain work which may help support a way out of poverty.

·       The Personal Investment Enterprise (PIE) was in full-swing helping participants build assets and pave the way to self-sufficiency through home-ownership, business development, and education.

·       The Circles Campaign had a very successful year in 2015 recording a 220% increase in income, 62% decrease in reliance on public benefits, 500% increase in assets and 84% increase in social capital for participants.

Inmate Re-Entry Programming

·       You’ll hear about another innovative program in the Sheriff’s Office section, but now it is good to highlight a few classes offered to inmates in the Transition Program.

o   Community Justice Services helps to support a Personal Finance class which teaches inmates to manage budgets by practices in real time with their commissary budget.

o   And a Digital Literacy class which teaches basic computer skills such as setting up an email account, creating a resume, applying for jobs and other necessary skills.

Head Start enhancements

·       A new partnership with Boulder Food Rescue brings fresh produce to the Woodlands Head Start site once a week for families to increase access to healthy food options. Most popular items are produce in bulk, such as bags of avocadoes and potatoes. Approximately 130 pounds of fresh food is delivered by bike from the Sprouts on Arapahoe Ave each week.

·       In the fall of 2015 Boulder County Head Start partnered with Sister Carmen to provide the already-established Nurturing Parent Program taught at the Lafayette Community School site. This partnership not only supported Sister Carmen in providing childcare at a location that was more conducive to young children, but also increased the number of participating families to the highest number in the program’s 1.5 year history.


·       2015 marked the 25th Anniversary of the Area Agency on Aging and was the perfect time to reflect on the Triple A’s successes. Just some of the program’s major accomplishments include providing Medicare Counseling for 428 people during open enrollment period, brokering much-needed dental services for low-income seniors, and receiving best practice designations from the State for administrative practices.

·       Another impressive program from the Triple A is Project Visibility which is launching a new online training service for direct care providers to receive education and a raised awareness of LGBT older adults. Nursing aides, personal care providers and others can access the free training to enhance their culturally responsive care.

Spanish Language Service Enhancements in 2016

·       In order to better serve the Hispanic and Latino community, Community Services plans some service enhancements for 2016. This includes expanding the Career Services Continuum to include the unique needs of Hispanic/ Latino community, and including more Career Services outreach and recruitment in Spanish speaking populations.


Housing & Human Services

·       Thanks to the determined work of dozens of health coverage guides, Medicaid eligibility specialists, front-desk and call center staff and data/business analysts, and with continued collaboration with dozens of non-profit and governmental partners and health care providers in our community, Boulder County Housing & Human Services lead the way in ensuring the health and wellbeing of our community in 2015. Successes Included:

o   An overall reduction in the uninsured rate in Boulder County from 11.8% in 2013 to 5.2% in 2015.

o   Highest per-capita Connect for Health Colorado enrollment among the 10 most populous counties in the state.

o   94% increase in Medicaid and Children Health Care Plan Plus (CHP+) enrollment since 2013.

o   Nearly 70,000 Boulder County residents are now enrolled in Medicaid/CHP+ or health insurance through Connect for Health Colorado.

·       HHS is working toward a goal of enrolling every Boulder County resident in health coverage and helping them utilize it.



·       The Aspinwall project is an innovative affordable housing development that provides a family driven, prevention oriented and holistic environment for low income individuals, families, and seniors of Boulder County. 

o   Aspinwall received National Association of Counties (NACo) and National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) awards for excellence in 2015 and laid the groundwork for the new Kestrel development in Louisville which has broken ground and will provide another 200 units of safe and affordable housing for the county’s families, individuals and seniors.

Improved Client Services

·       In an effort to provide an easier and more efficient way for clients to access information about the supports they're receiving, a team from around the department is currently working on development of a Client Engagement Portal. The Portal will help make it easier for residents in our community to find supports that might be right for them and to track the services they are currently receiving

o   For clients, the portal will provide a way to navigate through their supports much faster, more easily manage their benefits, get notices about next steps in application or re-certification processes, and get the latest news from us on various supports and programs.  The portal is set for launch in early 2016. 


Public Health

Boulder County’s Public Health Department had a busy year in 2015 and has exciting projects in the plans for 2016.

Family Supports 

·       In 2015 Public Health focused on identifying opportunities to support families and help the youngest children reach their full potential. Staff launched the Boulder County Raising of America Partnership which brings families, non-profits, business, and government together to improve opportunities for our families and young children. To complement this, staff is working with businesses and organizations throughout the county to improve Human Resource policies which impact the health of families and children.

o   Here at the county, staff spearheaded the extension of the parental leave from one week to four weeks.

·       Public Health also launched the Breastfeed Boulder County project which works with businesses to provide time, space, and support to new mothers to breastfeed or pump at work. Four organizations have already become certified as Breastfeeding Friendly, in addition to 20 child care centers that have received the designation.

·       Staff also completed an assessment of what is needed to make sure our children grow up healthy and happy. The findings will guide work in 2016, including detecting pregnancy related depression early; making sure parents and caregivers are economically stable; and making child development, feeding and nutrition information and support available.

Healthy Foods

·       The Harvest Bucks program which provides double SNAP (food assistance) benefits for residents to buy locally grown, healthy foods at the farmers’ markets, was up and running for its first full season. As a result, sales of fruits and veggies to low-income residents increased by 335%.

·       Staff also launched the Make the Switch campaign in the summer of 2015. The campaign aimed to help parents of young children switch from sugary drinks to healthy drinks. As a result, 46% of families with young children who participated in the campaign cut down on the amount of sugary drinks their kids were drinking.

·       And, to promote the importance of safe food, a media campaign was launched to encourage residents to eat at restaurants that go above and beyond to keep food safe. The campaign drove more than 3000 people to the website to find out more.

Substance Abuse Prevention 

·       With regard to substance abuse prevention, Public Health was awarded two significant grants to work on reducing substance abuse and misuse among youth in our communities over the next 10 years.

·       Along with this, staff worked to protect residents against exposure to secondhand smoke with the successful expansion of smoke-free areas in the City of Boulder and nearly all of Boulder County campuses.

·       Work in 2016 will have a major focus on improving health care systems for residents. This includes integrating data systems, collaborating with Community Services and Housing and Human Services – among others – and leveraging funding to further Public Health’s major goals.


Switching from a focus on personal care to environmental care, let’s take a look at some of the major highlights from our Sustainability Office.


Solar Benefits Colorado

·       Boulder County led an innovative program called Solar Benefits Colorado to accelerate the adoption of rooftop solar and electric vehicles in Northern Colorado. The program was a pooled purchase model which made it possible to offer discounted rooftop solar and discounted electric vehicles to residents in our communities.

o   This initiative was a partnership with Adams County, the City and County of Denver, and Vote Solar.

o   Competitively-selected private companies, Sunrun, Custom Solar, and Boulder Nissan, offered 10-25 percent discounts. 

o   The Boulder County Sustainability team led the outreach campaign resulting in 645 sign-ups, 159 Nissan LEAF purchases, and 411kW of solar installed on 68 homes in Boulder County – all of this in just 3.5 months! This pooled purchase model is now being replicated in other counties and states.

o   With all of the additional electric vehicles on the streets, Boulder County is teaming up with the Regional Air Quality Council to help fund local charging stations. The Regional Air Quality Council already administers an excellent grant application program which funds up to 80 percent of the total cost of charging stations and installation. In 2016, Boulder County will add up to 20 percent of the remaining funding needed for charging stations that receive funding by RAQC.

Community Sustainability Matching Grants

·       2015 was the first full year of communities using funds from the Environmental Sustainability Matching Grant Program. The program supports local governments in the county in undertaking environmental sustainability priorities within their communities.

o   Under the grant program, many of the communities in Boulder County have been able to hire sustainability coordinators. The program also has helped fund sustainability plan development, community gardens, bike racks, water conservation projects, creek restoration, greenhouse gas emission tracking and the infrastructure needed for local recycling efforts.

o   The 2016 Matching Grant Cycle is now open and communities have until Feb. 5 to submit their application for funding!

Colorado Climate Future Coalition

·       Boulder County has recently initiated the development of a coalition in Colorado to influence climate-related policy. The Colorado Climate Future Coalition’s mission is to bring about climate protection actions on a large enough scale to ensure that all communities have the necessary authority, tools, and support to address our climate challenges.

o   The coalition also provides an opportunity to pool resources and bring local governments together in a cost-effective way for coordinated action. The Climate Future Coalition will be the first consortium to represent municipalities and counties in advocating for local government-initiated, community-based climate action. 

·       The coalition plans to create messaging materials and related support for its members to engage effectively with public officials, opinion leaders, the media, stakeholder organizations, and the general public in order to build support for climate action. 

Re-Launch for Partners for a Clean Environment (PACE)

·       Boulder County Public Health, in collaboration with the Sustainability Office and the City of Boulder, re-launched the Partners for a Clean Environment (PACE) service this year. PACE had taken a bit of a back seat as the EnergySmart program kicked off, but was pushed back into the limelight this year.

o   After 20 years of success in helping businesses with pollution prevention and resource conservation, PACE continues to provide the best in public service and expanded to serves as a one-stop-shop for business sustainability in Boulder County.

o   In Boulder County, 1,513 businesses have invested in sustainable improvements over the last five years that reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 13,982 metric tonnes CO2e. This is equivalent to taking 2,944 cars off the road.


Water Conservation

·       Boulder County will partner with the Center for ReSource Conservation in 2016 to provide 500 high-efficiency toilets to residents. This effort is in support of reaching the county’s water conservation goals. Residents will be eligible to purchase and install an ultra-high-efficiency toilet, as well as recycle their old toilet, at the affordable price of just $50.


In the area of law enforcement and public safety, Boulder County continues to lead the way with enhanced, innovative programs aimed at protecting residents while providing support to families and individuals affected by crime.


Leadership Development Program

·       The Sheriff’s Office graduated the first class of their Leadership Development Program in July of 2015. The program is designed to expose and prepare future leaders within the Sheriff’s Office to what it is like to be a supervisor.

o   Each candidate is assigned a mentor, who is currently a supervisor, to meet with on a regular basis and discuss everything from what it’s like to handle a personnel issue to setting professional goals. In addition, participants also attend county Supervisory Certificate Training and leadership development courses. The program is designed to be at-your-own-pace, but most participants will graduate from the program within one year.


·       In October, the Sheriff’s Office Communications Center (dispatch), in cooperation with Boulder Regional Emergency Telephone Service Authority (BRETSA), launched the Text-to-911 service in Boulder County.

o   With this service, citizens reporting an emergency have an additional option to reach 911. This addition is considered a monumental improvement especially for our hearing impaired community, who were previously limited in addressing emergency situations.

o   Additionally, when it may be unsafe for a victim of a violent to make a voice call, the Text-to-911 option is available.

Roots and Shoots

·       The Boulder County Jail, in collaboration with Community Justice Services, offers the Jail Education and Transition Program to inmates. The goal of the program is to prepare inmates to reenter the community safely and as productive members of their communities and families. One of the longest running and most popular classes is the Jane Goodall Institute’s Roots and Shoots program.

o   This program has been at the jail for well over a decade and roughly 5,000 inmates have participated. Roots and Shoots aims to analyze human behavior through observing animals. Students gain awareness of their own behavior in the process, and identify what they need to change in order to be successful. Their reflections are sent to Dr. Jane Goodall, which she then publishes.

o   We had the honor of Dr. Goodall visiting the Boulder County Jail in October to speak to the inmates and staff about the program and their work. Watch a video of the event here.

Upcoming in 2016

·       After approval at the Budget Hearings in November, the Sheriff’s Office is moving forward with the purchase of body cameras for deputies. In 2016, the cameras will begin to be used regularly. The body worn camera system is intended to enhance deputy safety, improve accountability, reduce liability and help public and media perceptions after a critical incident.


District Attorney’s Office

·       The Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program was approved in 2014 and was re-established for the first year in 2015. Thanks to partners at CU, Boulder Community Hospital, and the Medical Center of the Rockies, nearly 70 SANE examinations were done in the county this year.

o   The SANE program provides assault survivors with easy and quicker access to the medical care and attention they need. Access to this program also helps law enforcement with the collection of forensic evidence to assist in the prosecution of these crimes.  

·       Funded by grants from the state and federal governments, the DA has seen exciting success with the juvenile "no file" diversion program in Restorative Justice. The program provides prompt and effective resolution outside the court system, with high victim and offender satisfaction. Currently, nearly half of juvenile cases go through this program.

o   The DA is preparing to expand a similar program to adults with State grant money. It is hoped that the adult program will eventually handle 400 cases per year (out of 2,000 annual felonies). This new “no file” way of handling cases is consistent with best practices and will be a national model: saving money, reducing recidivism rates, and enhancing victim satisfaction.   

Major Cases                                                  

·       In 2015 the DA’s Office handled 60 felony jury trials and ended the year with the highest conviction rate in the state. This high conviction rate proves that the office is bringing to trial cases that are important to the community, and the office has been successful in investigations and trial presentations.

·       The DA’s Office is planning to continue their focus on proactive crime prevention programs in 2016. These crime prevention programs will be of particular importance for seniors, immigrants, the homeless, and other vulnerable communities.


Coroner’s Office

In addition to the Coroner’s new facility which was mentioned in the Building Services section, the Coroner’s Office has been busy implementing other innovative projects.

Child Fatality Prevention and Review Team

·       An update to state legislation made it mandatory for Boulder County to have a local Child Fatality Prevention and Review Team created by Jan. 1 of this 2015. The first full year was very successful for the review team hosted at the Coroner’s Office. The team was created in conjunction with multiple agencies and participants in hopes of improving processes for the children of Boulder County.

Family Liaison

·       The groundwork has been laid for a pilot program for a family liaison within the Coroner’s Office to begin in 2016. This program will see implementation of a position in the office that would make more direct contact, and continued follow-up, with individuals and families possible throughout the duration of an investigation, without jeopardizing the outcome of the investigation.

Fingerprint Certification

·       All staff members were successful in accomplishing fingerprint training and certification to ensure proper scientific identification for all cases in Boulder County.

New Case Management System

·       Throughout 2015, the Coroner’s staff was working diligently through the implementation of a new case management system that will enhance the record keeping capabilities for the office. This new system should be completely on board in 2016.

o   Not only will the records experience a new system, the staff members themselves are working through implementation of new policies and procedures through process mapping workshops. The goal is to ensure that the office is functioning as efficiently as possible.


Clerk & Recorder’s Office

The Clerk’s Office is preparing for a very busy elections year and also some exciting upgrades in the Recording Division and Motor Vehicle.


·       On the elections front, the Clerk’s team implemented enhanced voter communication methods in preparation for 2016 Presidential election - this includes first ever voter communication-by-email program. Through just one email alone, more than 2,600 (twenty-six hundred) voters clicked to review or update their voter registration.

·       The Elections Division also had a successful pilot season of Ballot Track, a service that allows residents to sign up for alerts to track their mail ballot packet all the way from initial printing to final arrival back at our ballot processing center.

·       The Clerk and Recorder’s office has the major task to conduct two successful elections this year – the 2016 Primary and of course the 2016 Presidential Election in November. The Elections Division anticipates having to process up to 68,000 ballots on Election Day. For this reason, the Clerk’s team and IT worked in collaboration to developed several new applications that allow the elections division to streamline processes and more efficiently conduct elections.

o   They will also be encouraging residents to turn in mail ballots early in order to minimize an Election Day crunch. 


·       The Recording Division was able to increase e-recording of documents, reducing county costs and saving paper. They also completed the digitization of recorded documents going back to 1964 with the goal of having all documents ever recorded in Boulder County digitized by the end of 2016. The team will be examining what future technology changes to anticipate in recording and how the office can make necessary transitions in a cost-effective manner to best serve the public.

Motor Vehicle

·       With growing population and new vehicle sales on the rise, Boulder County’s Motor Vehicle division rocked 2015 by completing more transactions than ever before with ease and grace. Maintaining a low staff turnover ensures that the public is being served by seasoned employees who can complete transactions smoothly even with increased and ever-changing demands.

o   The division will be investigating new ways to support the overall population growth, especially in Longmont, and the influx of new car purchases.



Some issues span multiple departments and multiple governmental agencies. The following projects are truly examples of collaboration at its best.

Emerald Ash Borer

Since it was first detected in Colorado in September 2013, a coalition of local, state and federal agencies, including Boulder County, has been working together in response to the invasive pest, Emerald Ash Borer (EAB).

·       In 2015 a countywide inventory of all county-managed ash trees was completed and a management plan was created and approved for those trees.

·       The county’s EAB Response Team administered a grant to create and distribute proactive public education and outreach. This outreach included bus advertisements, postcard mailers to more than 10,000 property owners, graphic design, and staff to provide education at events throughout the summer and fall.

·       In 2016 the management plan will be implemented, beginning with chemical treatments to 24 high-value trees at county facilities and the removal of ash trees in right of ways and at facilities. Education and outreach will continue to go to homeowners and a new push of outreach to private property owners will also begin.


Recreational Sport Shooting

·       As part of the Front Range Recreational Sport Shooting Management Partnership, or Sport Shooting Partners, Boulder County continued to work toward the goal of finding safe and accessible sport shooting opportunities in our area.

o   Commissioners put forth 5 potential areas within Boulder County that may be suitable for developing one or more shooting sites. With some directional lanes, safety berms and other safety measures, these areas could help mitigate some concerns for target shooting in our forests.

o   Boulder County has agreed to search for potential sites in conjunction with participating in the U.S. Forest Service’s plan to update the Forest Plan Amendment. The update will include clearer designations for where sport shooting is and is not permitted in the forest.

o   Residents interested in the issue are encouraged to get involved online at www.SportShootingPartners.org.



Finally, we would like to call out some impressive awards our staff members collected in 2015.


2015 was a huge success for Boulder County at the National Association of Counties (NACo) Achievement Award recognition ceremony. We submitted many programs and projects for consideration, and came home with 16 Achievement Awards, including 3 which earned the Best in Category designation.

We were the only county to receive 3 Best in Category designation and we are so proud of our staff members for helping us to be leaders on the national stage.

One of the criteria for winning the NACo Achievement award is innovation, and Boulder County is proud that staff members continue to produce and implement innovative programs which consider the unique challenges of our community and always provide the best in public service.