Chaffee County Public Health Director Andrea Carlstrom and Wayne “Wano” Urbonas, environmental health specialist, met with Chaffee County commissioners during a work session Monday to discuss the department’s Environmental Health Plan.

Urbonas said Chaffee County Public Health focuses on five main areas when it comes to environmental health: air quality, consumer protection, hazardous material and solid waste, water quality and zoonotic diseases, such as West Nile virus.

Some of the programs Public Health offers to help residents with the five areas of focus include radon testing and mitigation, retail food establishment inspections, food safety training, public accommodation inspections, lead testing and awareness and special event inspections.

Urbonas said a recent online survey with replies from about 50 county residents indicated that the three parts of environmental health that were important to them were air quality, water quality and quantity and solid waste minimization, through means such as recycling and composting.

Other items that respondents listed as things Public Health should deal with include climate change, pet shops and kennels, mobile home parks, disaster preparedness and low-impact developments.

In other business commissioners met with Read McCulloch, executive director of Chaffee Housing Trust, who requested another year of $12,500 in matching money for a grant to continue administration for the Community Housing Development Organization.

McCulloch listed some recent housing trust accomplishments, including eight homes affordable to 80 percent AMI (area median income) or less in the Two Rivers subdivision in Salida, a partnership with The Farm at Buena Vista to provide ownership to households earning 80 percent AMI or less and providing ongoing housing counseling services and USDA Rural Development Loan Program prequalification.

Cathy Sadeik, veterans services officer, presented her 2020 budget and a report of last year’s metrics.

She said the number of veterans, both in Colorado and Chaffee County, has continued to decrease for the last five years.

In 2015 Chaffee had 1,932 veterans, while Colorado had about 413,000. This year Chaffee reported 1,661 and Colorado had about 399,000.

Commissioner Keith Baker, a veteran himself, noted that fewer people are serving and more veterans are dying, which would lead to such a decrease.

Commissioners heard reports from the Landfill Committee, Department of Human Services, Public Health, the Housing Office and the Building and Planning Department.

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