One thing all Chaffee County departments have in common is the COVID-19 pandemic throwing this year off in one way or another, commissioners learned during a special budget meeting Tuesday.

Zech Papp, manager at the Salida Airport at Harriet Alexander Field, said he was meeting with representatives from the Federal Aviation Administration in October and would seeking a $1.15 million grant to extend taxiway alpha, which could be used to build more hangers.

Papp said that the airport is almost at capacity for the number of hangers. The airport will be requesting $175,000 from both the county and Salida, who co-owns the airport with the county, as matching fund for the project.

Papp said fuel sales were noticeably down due to COVID-19. He said in March 2019 he sold about three thousand gallons of fuel, while in March 2020 he sold about 300 gallons.

Jeff Graf, Chaffee County coroner, requested funding for a cot system that would help lift and place corpses into the back of the coroner vehicle, similar to what the county’s emergency medical services vehicles have. He said right now he and his team are having to lift manually.

Sheriff John Spezze said his department was over-budget this year, mainly due to overtime from the Suzanne Morphew case. Spezze said this was something that could not be anticipated.

Spezze said that the department was also short on the fees they collect, from holding inmates at the Chaffee County Detention Center and from traffic tickets.

For next year’s budget, Spezze said his department was going to be looking at grants to upgrade and replace their radios. He said he may need a commitment from the county for matching funds, if they are able to pursue the grant.

Tracy Jackson with the detention center said that due to the lack of inmates this year, because of COVID-19, they have been able to finish some repair and upgrade projects.

Cathy Sadeik with Veteran’s Services said her budget for next year would be about the same. She said that postage went up for them, but they saved money on virtual conferences.

Jamie Billesbach with the Small Business Development Center said her department is doing well this year, and her budget would be about the same. They received $105,000 from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. They spent $57,000 for COVID-19 counseling and $46,000 for training to small businesses in Chaffee, Lake and Park Counties.

County treasurer Dee Dee Cooper said there were no real changes in her budget for next year.

Randy Mosby, Chaffee County Fairgrounds manager, said he’d like to install some security gates and cameras out at the fairgrounds. Miki Hodge, fairground event coordinator, said she would like to update the entryway, replace the chandeliers and purchase some padded chairs for the main building.

Annette Stolba, Chaffee County Dispatch manager, said their budget was very much the same as last year, now that they have finished updated consoles at their center.

County Assessor Brenda Mosby said her department’s budget is still up in the air due to COVID-19, with changes to travel and online continuing education. She requested one full-time person for her department, and said that she’d like to see some security upgrades, with locking doors, to protect some of the sensitive information her office has.

Kurt Jones with the Colorado State University Extension Office said he is trying to make sense of this year, with the changes to the 4-H programs and fair this summer.

He said he would like to see about the purchase of a new laptop this year for his department, and isn’t sure how much funding they will receive from CSU this year.

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