At Monday’s Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) meeting, the morning’s agenda items were followed by an afternoon Purchasing Policy Workshop. The meeting, normally scheduled the first four Tuesdays of each month, had been moved to Monday, March 2, to accommodate Super Tuesday voting.
Host Compliance STR software
Community Development Director Robert Davis informed the commissioners that STR Helper/Bearcloud, the software utilized to manage the county’s Short-Term Rental (STR) program, had merged with Seattle-based Host Compliance. As a result of the merger, the county would need to convert to the Host Compliance platform if they opted to continue with the company.
The three-year contract with Bearcloud/Host Compliance is set to expire July 2020. Davis said staff had also looked at LodgingRevs, the software the Town of Granby recently implemented to manage their newly adopted STR program, as an alternative. The Durango-based company’s bid came in at $26,280 per year, $1,220 lower than the current $27,500 annual cost with the incumbent.
Host Compliance’s 2020 renewal initially proposed a fee of over $100K for 3 years. After negotiations, Davis told the commissioners that Host Compliance agreed to continue the $27,500 annual rate for the next 3 years to retain the county’s business. Davis added that he’d submitted a $21,500 line item in the 2020 budget for the service in error and requested a supplemental budget consideration for the additional $6,000.
Davis said the Community Development staff recommended approval of the conversion to the Host Compliance platform, saying the benefit of working with the same staff, ease of conversion and cost of the program was the best choice for Grand County.
County Finance Director Curtis Lange told the commissioners the 2019 revenue for STRs was $146,650.
Commissioner Chair Kris Manguso said the $27,500 annual cost of the Host Compliance software was “well worth it”.
The commissioners approved the renewal for a 3-year contract with Host Compliance unanimously.
Commissioner Rich Cimino suggested talking with other towns in the county to see if there was interest in participating/combining the contract, sharing access (and relative costs) to the platform. He noted that Grand Lake’s STR program was much different from the County’s, but that it might make sense for Fraser and/or Winter Park. “If they’re not interested, that’s fine,” said Cimino, adding, “Let’s extend the olive branch.”
As part of their due diligence in the purchase of the Whitmer Building, located at 129 E Byers Avenue in Hot Sulphur Springs, a building inspection had been conducted. The Inspection report showed a number of issues found with the existing structure. Twelve of the items had been identified as requirements for the seller to repair/fix/correct prior to completion of the sale and were outlined in the Buyer’s Inspection Objection Notice. Other concerns identified during the inspection would be repaired by county staff after taking possession.
Assistant County Manager Ed Moyer told the commissioners the seller had requested a full copy of the Inspection Report. While not normally provided, there were no objections to providing the full document, since it is a public document funded by the county.
Commissioners Cimino and Linke approved providing the seller with a copy of the inspection report and amending the Notice to indicate it was attached. Chair Manguso abstained from the discussion.
Mind Springs Health Annual Update
Makena Line, Program Director for Mind Springs Health, presented an annual update to the commissioners.
Located at 244 E Agate Avenue in Granby, the local Mind Springs Health facility provides Mental Health and Substance Abuse Outpatient Services, Mobile Crisis Response and Community Education to residents of Grand County. Affiliate West Springs Hospital in Grand Junction provides inpatient Mental Health and Substance Abuse services to Grand County residents as well.
Line told the commissioners the nonprofit had seen 567 unique clients and provided 960 individual services in 2019. She said the numbers could have been higher, but insurance limitations and staff turnover challenged their ability to do so. There are also billing challenges due to only one staff member holding a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) designation. Services provided by Masters and Bachelors level providers cannot be billed to Medicaid/Medicare or private insurance, deterring some who cannot afford to pay privately. She was hopeful that some of the barriers they face with insurance credentialing will change soon to allow expansion of their services.
Their Mobile Response program saw 204 clients face to face in 2019. Mind Springs Health has two full-time Crisis Clinician positions dedicated to provide the service 24/7, but only one is currently filled. Last July, the state implemented a central Crisis Line to dispatch and care is delivered directly within the community, jail, law enforcement offices and emergency departments.
An M-1 is a psychiatric hold that lasts a minimum period of 72 hours. It is issued when an individual is deemed to be unsafe to his/herself. Needing a higher level of care, M-1 holds require transport to inpatient facilities outside Grand County. Insurance presently does not cover the costs of transport, so grant funding had been utilized to cover the expenditure until August 2019, when grant funding was discontinued.
To aid with the unexpected shortfall, the commissioners directed the Grand Foundation allocate $20,000 from the County’s Donor-Advised funds to help fund M-1 transports last summer. Through January, $17,341 of that allocation had been spent, leaving a balance of $2,659. The county budgeted another $25,000 in 2020 to subsidize additional transports through June 2021. It is uncertain what will happen when that funding runs dry.
As for education, Line said Mind Springs Health’s educational efforts are ongoing. They had recently provided Youth Mental Health First Aid courses to educators at West and East Grand School Districts, Adult Mental Health First Aid to 25 Devil’s Thumb Ranch Resort management staff, and are in discussion with other large employers in the county to provide the education as well.
In closing, Line thanked the commissioners and the county for their support.
2020 Pay Plan RFP Analysis continued
The County’s Request for Proposals (RFP) for a 2020 Pay Plan Update closed on February 20. In total, 15 proposals were received. The responses varied in costs from $16,000 – $130,000, and timelines ranged from 2-6 months.
County Manager Kate McIntire and Human Resources Director Colleen Reynolds had prepared a spreadsheet of costs and timelines, but had not had the opportunity to review each proposal in depth, to determine the level of services included in each proposal. “It is going to take more time to put together an analysis,” said McIntire.
Historically, the last Pay Plan analysis was conducted in 2017 (for 2018) and had been done in-house by County Manager Lee Staab. Prior to that, consultants at Lee & Burgess Associates had completed the Pay Plan analysis in 2015 (for 2016). Lee & Burgess had also submitted the lowest cost proposal in the recent RFP process, at $16,000 – 18,700, over a period of five months, from April – August.
Commissioner Cimino said he wanted to make sure elected officials and department heads are included in the review process, to ensure every position is reviewed fairly. Several departments had expressed concern with fair wages by position and he wanted to make sure they were all included in the process.
Treasurer Christina Whitmer suggested, “One of the elements missing from past reviews was consistency in joblike positions.” Examples she gave were administrative positions, accounting, etc. which have similar job descriptions and qualifications, yet pay ranges varied. Whitmer suggested they be categorized similarly and treated equally, “like we used to have.”
Manager McIntire clarified that part of the review and selection of the vendor would include their consideration of all jobs and grades. They would also take into consideration the consultant’s experience with counties similar to Grand. She and Reynolds would provide a more detailed analysis of the 15 respondents at one of the next meetings.
BOCC meetings and workshops are open to the public. To find out more, visit co.grand.co.us.