Arapahoe County Commissioner Nancy Sharpe holds town hall

BY FREDA MIKLIN
GOVERNMENTAL REPORTER

Nancy Sharpe

On February 2, three-term Arapahoe County District Two Commissioner Nancy Sharpe held a virtual town hall to check in with her constituents. Sharpe said that the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) was, “beginning to execute on the master plans for transportation and open spaces,” adding, “We are involving our cities, with whom our partnerships have been strengthened during COVID.”

Turning to November 2022, Sharpe said, “This is an election year. My seat and that of BOCC President Nancy Jackson will be up for election. We are both term-limited. Redistricting of commissioner districts will take place later this year. It will be impacted by the state house and senate redistricting.” 

Sharpe reminded listeners that, “The county fair will go on again this year during the last week of July.” 

On the day-to-day business of governance, Sharpe said, “Now that the state legislature is back in session, our BOCC is working with our legislature and Colorado Counties on those bills that affect county government. What is very important to our county is to not have unfunded mandates. Those require us to move budget dollars from the priorities that we have set for our residents.”

Health Department Creation Process

With the upcoming dissolution of the Tri-County Health Department (TCHD), after Douglas and Adams Counties, the other two counties with whom Arapahoe County was partnered, pulled out, things will change going into 2023, reported Sharpe. “We have been focused since last year on how to best meet the needs of our very diverse county. We have suburban, urban and rural areas with a diversity of people. We have hired a consultant, Otowi Group, to help us as we make this transition.” She shared that the BOCC meets with them weekly. 

Sharpe said the BOCC’s goals, with regard to a new public health agency, are to:

  1. Provide high quality public health services to Arapahoe County residents, consistent with state statutes in a cost-effective, innovative manner. 
  2. To minimize customer/staff/financial impacts to Arapahoe County during the transition to a single-county service model. 

She added, “We are using data we’ve already collected and determining how to maximize the federal and state dollars we can get and also set aside county funds as necessary. We realize that there is a significant possibility that our costs as a single-county entity will exceed those that we incurred as a three-county  entity.” She continued, “Looking at governance, we believe that we must have at least five people on the new county health board. We are considering health officials, elected officials, community members, business people, all stakeholders, to make sure that the board is reflective of our diverse community.” That is in contrast to the current TCHD board that is comprised 100% of medical-related professionals. Sharpe told listeners that the BOCC will provide information to residents as decisions are made

Going into more detail about the deliberative process, Sharpe shared that, “One of the decisions will be determining what services should be provided directly, which can be absorbed by current county departments (e.g., human services) and which would be best outsourced. We are particularly sensitive to the needs of our most vulnerable populations.”

Sharpe assured a resident who asked, that, as the BOCC decides how to go forward, it will be focused on making sure that the new health department utilizes evidence-based data, is fully transparent and provides for public participation.

Arapahoegov.com/health is the website to look for updates about progress on the new health department which is planned to be introduced later this year and fully effective in January 2023.

In response to a question, Sharpe told listeners that TCHD has voted to eliminate the mask mandate effective February 5 for indoor spaces and schools. It is left to the school districts to decide what they want to do. 

Turning back to the changes coming in the November election, Sharpe noted that legislative districts have been changed and that the website www.arapahoevotes.com has information about whether any resident’s house or senate district or precinct has changed. She noted that the home in which she has long resided will be in a different state house district after this year. Sharpe added, “We can expect that BOCC commissioner districts will generally move eastward because that is where the growth in the county has occurred. Congressional district changes are likely to occur in the northern part of the county.”

Commissioner Sharpe’s district includes Centennial, Greenwood Village, a portion of Aurora and unincorporated central Arapahoe County.

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