Come speak your mind

Commissioners open new weekly comment period

If you have a bone to pick, a problem to raise or a question to ask, county government wants to hear it.

The Montezuma County Board of Commissioners, as of this week, is setting aside a 15-minute window in its weekly agenda for general citizen feedback.

The commission meets most Mondays (except for holidays), and the new comment period is scheduled for 9:15 a.m. A second period may be added for longer days with both morning and afternoon sessions.

County Administrator Ashton Harrison said designated open comment periods for the public are a novel addition, at least since he joined the county in 2006.

Individuals and groups with detailed reports or in-depth issues to discuss are encouraged to make an appointment on the official agenda, but the new comment window will allow for more informal, brief statements.

"If someone wasn't able to make the deadline to get on the agenda, this leaves them the chance to comment," Harrison said. "The commissioners have always been receptive to people coming in to talk with them. But a lot of times the agenda is packed, and trying to fit people in between scheduled items throws off the whole course of the meeting."

In the interest of transparency, Harrison is also looking into posting complete "packets" - documents containing the nuts-and-bolts content reviewed by the commissioners - in advance of meetings on the county's website.

He expressed support for upgrading to a modern, user-friendly site in the near future, calling the current one severely outdated.

Last month, the Cortez City Council approved $30,000 over three years to overhaul its website and design a "portal" for other entities like the county, school district and tourism office to link to their own pages. Website developer CivicPlus will carry out the work.

"It's a very good company (the city) has selected," Harrison said. "We're trying to sort out contract details. They're offering an $8,000 deal to set up and host the website. But our in-house (information technology) staff has the capability to host. We just need the initial design."