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Progress on the 2019 -2023 Larimer County Strategic Plan Goals One, Two, and Three are moving forward but have been temporarily slowed from the effects of the COVID-19 emergency. 

The Board of Larimer County Commissioners at a recent work session were presented a quarterly update on the plan, learning that many staff members normally working on the Strategic Plan are helping to address COVID-19. Community partners also working on the plan are addressing COVID-19, too at their respective organizations.


Goal One: Public Infrastructure for a Growing Community

Most of goal one is on schedule except the rural infrastructure component since the goal lead is assisting with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Goal One task force reconvened at a meeting in March to discuss the failure of Ballot Issue 1A in the November 2019 election to fund transportation and facilities. All group members have a high interest in further discussion on addressing regional transportation and will meet in June to take the next steps.

Work is on track and currently in the design stage from the Objective Two team on the Solid Waste Master Plan. It’s being developed with many local governments in Northern Colorado, including the recent addition of the Town of Wellington.

The master plan calls for building a new landfill, a central transfer station, and demolition-construction disposal designed to divert waste by 40% for the next 30 years. New information has been added to the plan and the expectation is the project will come in on time.

Larimer County’s rural infrastructure, Objective Three, is a multi-part objective comprised of rural broadband, water and wastewater management, rural roads, and watershed management.  Work on this goal is paused temporarily but will resume when the objective lead returns from COVID-19 work.

Updated information rural broadband information was presented in February to the Board of County Commissioners detailing where service gaps exist.

Water and wastewater management, also part of Objective Three, seeks planning for long-term water and wastewater management in unincorporated areas. Coordination between water and wastewater districts is taking shape, with districts now working closely together; there is a high interest in cooperative engagement with the districts.  A meeting was scheduled for March but canceled and the group will reschedule its next meeting for a later date.

Standardizing road maintenance in subdivisions is another facet of Objective Three. Larimer County has numerous arrangements in rural road maintenance that have built up over time. The team is working to find ways to standardize rural road maintenance as roads become more traveled due to increasing populations. This team will reconvene after returning from COVID-19 work.

Regional watershed management, Objective Four, strives to improve the mitigation of flood-related hazards. The team has acquired an updated library of drainage master plans across the county. Watershed coalitions formed after the 2012 High Park Fire and 2013 flood have been valuable in trading ideas for watershed health and best practices.

A second piece within watershed management is finding funding strategies to stabilize and reinforce “B” dams above Wellington. The dams are designed to control flooding, are older and in need of reinforcement. Work is being carried out by Larimer County, the State of Colorado water engineer’s office, Natural Resource Conservation Service, and local municipalities. This team will meet in April to finalize the risk for those dams.

The third leg of watershed management involves water-sharing arrangements that follow the water-sharing model used at the Malchow Farm near Berthoud, Colorado, preserving water for agriculture while allowing for municipal use. Larimer County Natural Resources has also offered ideas that come from techniques in the state water plan to augment other ways to preserve water in agriculture.


Goal Two: Access to Economic Opportunities and a Vibrant Quality of Life

A desired feature of any community is having access to good health services that promote well-being. The Objective One team focus is building a tool to measure health and well-being and show where gaps exist throughout Larimer County. Using U.S. Census data --- which is currently being gathered across the United States --- will contribute to the measurement. Work has been paused but will restart when staff return from COVID-19 work.

Reducing unemployment for residents with disabilities outlines Objective Two. This group is working with Larimer County Human Resources, and Larimer County Economic Development to increase inclusion, diversity, and vocational rehabilitation through our Workforce Center. Work has been paused too but will resume when staff return from COVID-19 work.

A positive outcome of the Coronavirus emergency is the value of child care providers. Objective Three seeks to survey Larimer County to produce a community needs analysis, determine access barriers to child care, difficulties of exempt in-home child care providers versus licensed providers, and what the county’s role should be in child care.

The team is working with the Early Childcare Council of Larimer County, municipalities, and other partners to locate existing gaps with child care in Larimer County. Larimer County Community Development is also searching for any barriers in building codes that could impede home child care providers to operate.

Language for this objective will be revised, ensuring goals for child care and housing are specific, measurable, and use a time frame. Child care has many working parts and partners; the new language will express the role of Larimer County and its partners, which has been difficult to define.

The Objective Four team has slowed due to the COVID-19 emergency. The group is researching what Larimer County’s role should be with the Larimer County Housing Authority and access to affordable housing. Many of the community partners comprising the team are also managing the COVID-19 emergency at their respective agencies.

Information is needed on housing in unincorporated Larimer County and how it aligns with the different housing projects and data from the City of Loveland, City of Fort Collins, and Estes Valley. Work continues and the team is moving forward with Housing Catalyst, and the Loveland Housing Authority examining the many services offered while searching for new strategies to move additional services forward.

Larimer County is also exploring a housing strategy which the county can use to attract, recruit and retain employees as part of a larger employer benefit package; work on this strategy continues.


Goal Three: Larimer County is Ready to Support Future Service Needs for Residents and Visitors

The November 2019 Ballot 1A question asked for funding for an expansion of county facilities to better serve Larimer County residents. With voter rejection of 1A, the Objective One team has continued to work toward efficient use of facility square-footage and densification of workspace.

The COVID-19 emergency has shown how flexible Larimer County’s workforce has been, using technology at every opportunity to continue to deliver services and serve county residents. The team is also learning from this experience how to best use existing county space.

Objective Two, identifying current and future characteristics of Larimer County’s workforce, is paused until members of the team return from COVID-19 work. Workforce needs in three areas --- adaptive, collaborative, and inclusive --- are necessary to develop a workforce for the future. The team is hoping to select Colorado State University to create and implement a survey establishing a baseline for the three characteristics.

Larimer County residents receive many services daily, and our changing demographics mean Larimer County will need to adjust how we deliver services, comprising Objective Three. This group is divided into five small teams, each is in various stages of research, based on individual goals. A focus for all five teams is a translation of information into Spanish. A goal has been established for all documents across Larimer County to be in Spanish by the end of 2020. Some minor language revisions are planned for this objective to be ready at the next quarterly update in July.

Objective Four, leveraging current data, shared tools, and technology was originally composed in a technical manner. The team is revising language in this goal to be easily understood. They have regrouped with a new objective lead and are also working on how data should be cataloged as well as secure.

Work on environmental responsibility, Objective Five, has been delayed by the COVID-19 emergency. An environmental responsibility policy in place, the team is waiting for responses on the policy from involved departments.


Published on: 
Thursday, April 30, 2020 - 2:12pm

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