City, county ready to talk – but not much to talk about

Dennis WebbPost Independent Staff

A Glenwood Springs City Council member is asking an age-old question of Garfield County: Why don’t we talk more often?In response, Larry Beckwith is getting a response common to many a relationship: There’s not always that much to talk about.With encouragement from others on City Council, Beckwith recently made overtures with county commissioners to begin meeting on a regular basis to discuss issues of common interest.He got the commissioners to agree to a July 12 meeting, to begin at 7 a.m. at City Hall. But Beckwith said the get-together is tentative, as it turns out there’s not much the city and county have been able to come up with in terms of an agenda.”At this point it doesn’t seem like there’s all that much pressing,” he said.Complaints of poor relations and communications between the city and county have persisted for many years, often being raised during council and commissioner races. Commissioner Larry McCown said commissioners and the council used to meet every few months, but the meetings tapered off.He said the two entities ran into the same thing Beckwith is experiencing now.”We would come up with agenda items and they were either problems that were solved or they were irrelevant by the time of the meetings,” he said.Beckwith said the council and commission last met perhaps eight months ago.”And to be honest with you the two meetings prior to that we weren’t getting anywhere, anyway, on the issues at the time.”One issue is the intersection of Four Mile Road and Midland Avenue, where the city has discussed building a roundabout. McCown said the county committed to fund drainage work there, but the work is pending a final decision by the city to move forward on any intersection improvements.Also still unresolved is what level of landscaping improvements should take place in the commons area between City Hall and the county courthouse.Parking in the area of the city/county buildings, development up Four Mile Road and the possibility of natural gas drilling occurring in that area also are matters of common interest, he said.Beckwith said with such issues looming, it makes sense for the city and county to be talking on occasion, even if there is no immediate need to do so.”We have things in common and it seems logical that we should meet once in a while,” he said. “I’d like to keep those lines of communication open.”He said one reason is that the county is the conduit through which Glenwood Springs has to approach the Colorado Department of Transportation regarding the city’s needs.Beckwith said he doesn’t want to create more meetings just for the sake of meetings.”We’ve got our entity to take care of and the county has theirs to take care of, as long as we define lines and don’t tell the other what to do,” he said. Still, he said, “There’s always little things, and I think those are important for us to talk about. I’m just trying to get us all to work together.”McCown said commissioners always are willing to talk with council, and council members also are welcome to attend regular commissioner meetings. Commissioners also meet with other municipalities and try to address their concerns, he said.”I don’t know if we’re doing it enough to suit everyone but we’re working toward those goals.”

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