Department of Local Affairs SMART Act Hearing
COMMITTEE ON JOINT LOCAL GOVERNMENT
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02:10 PM -- Department of Local Affairs SMART Act Hearing
Irv Halter, Executive Director, Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA), identified the topics that will be addressed in the DOLA SMART Act hearing and introduced DOLA staff attending the hearing. He also identified the department's mission and major programs and summarized the contents of the department Performance Plan for FY 2015-16 (Attachment B).
160112 Attach B SMART Act.pdf
Blake Mobly, IT Director for Rio Blanco County, discussed the county's effort to build a broadband network in that county and use of DOLA grants and technical assistance to build the system.
Mr. Halter identified DOLA's strategic policy initiatives for FY 2015-16 including increasing affordable housing, additional Main Street projects, expanding broadband service in rural communities, and improving the quality of life for Fort Lyon residents.
02:34 PM - Update on Fort Lyons
Amber Baum and Jim Slesher, residents of Fort Lyon, discussed their addiction challenges and the benefits of the Fort Lyon program including drug and alcohol treatment programs and job training opportunities.
Mr. Halter responded to questions from the committee about the Fort Lyons Program including its capacity, staffing needs, and other issues. After the Fort Lyon Correctional Facility was decommissioned in 2012, the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) repurposed the facility as the Fort Lyon Supportive Residential Community to provide recovery-oriented transitional housing for homeless individuals. The program combines housing with counseling, educational, vocational and employment services for up to 250 homeless and formerly homeless persons from across Colorado, with an emphasis on serving homeless veterans. The community is located at the former Fort Lyon Veterans Affairs Hospital in Bent County, Colorado.
Allison George, Director, Division of Housing, responded to questions from the committee about the strategic policy initiatives concerning affordable housing and the Affordable Housing Program. She also identified mental and addiction health support staff at Fort Lyons and the cost of the Fort Lyon program on a per-patient basis.
Mr. Halter discussed the need for affordable housing in Colorado and the department's strategic policy initiative concerning affordable housing.
03:16 PM - Community Development Block Grants
Mr. Halter discussed the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program and identified grants provided to disaster impacted communities.
Jason Wells, City Administrator, City of Manitou Springs, discussed recent fires and flood disasters that impacted Manitou Springs and identified disaster recovery assistance provided to the city by DOLA.
David Bowman, CDBG Grant Manager, and Mr. Halter responded to questions from the committee about the criteria for awarding CDBGs.
03:35 PM - FY 2016-17 Budget Request for the Department of Local Affairs
Mr. Halter discussed the FY 2016-17 budget request for the department and identified decision items items in the budget request. For example, the department has requested an additional $1,7654,786 from the Marijuana Tax Cash Fund and 1.0 FTE to support the operation of the Fort Lyon Supportive Residential Community, pending a federal decision on whether the program is eligible or ineligible for federal financial support.
03:40 PM -- Regulatory and Legislative Agenda for the Department of Local Affairs
Mr. Halter also discussed DOLA's 2016 regulatory and legislative agendas (Attachment C). He explained that the department's regulatory agenda primarily consists of repealing obsolete rules. The department's legislative agenda consists of two bills. Currently, the municipal clerk is required to file a certified statement and determination of the results of each municipal election with the Secretary of State. The department is requesting a bill that will require this certified statement and determination to be filed with the Division of Local Government and that it post these results online. The Secretary of State will provide a hyperlink to DOLA’s website with the election results. This change will bring uniformity of filing of election results with municipalities/towns and special districts. HB15-1262 provided that a separate legal entity may be formed by contract between two or more political subdivisions. The department is looking to amend this law to provide that these new entities comply with the same requirements of other political subdivisions in that they provide the department with a copy of the contract, and any amendments, and also provide the Department with a copy of annual budget and annual audit if they have one.
160112 Attach C SMART Act.pdf
Bruce Eisenhauer, Legislative Liaison for DOLA, responded to questions from the committee about DOLA's 2016 legislative agenda.
Mr. Halter responded to questions from the committee about the findings and recommendations of the Gaming Impact Grant Program Audit.
There was no public testimony. The meeting adjourned.