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Larimer County Board of County Commissioners 1/16/24

by Nanci Wendland

For more information (including members in attendance) see the full notes document here.*

View the meeting agenda and packet.

A video recording of the meeting is available here.

From the Board of Commissioners website:

“Larimer's three-member Board of County Commissioners is the main policy-making body in the County and works to represent the interest of the citizens of Larimer County at local, state, and national levels.  Commissioners are elected at large from one of three geographic districts for four-year staggered terms.  In Larimer County, Commissioners are limited to serving three four-year terms.”

Mission Larimer County government upholds and advances the community’s health, safety, well-being, and quality of life. 

Key Points

Commissioner Chair Kefalas opened the meeting with the pledge of allegiance and public comments from 3 residents.

Larimer County 4-H Foundation disputed The Ranch Director McGrath’s direction to no longer allow home baked goods by the 4-H foundation members for events hosted at The Ranch. 

President of the Larimer County 4-H Foundation, Cindy Buckardt, talked about Commissioner Shadduck-McNally’s comments in last week’s meeting minutes, when the commissioner supported the decision of Conor McGrath, Director of The Ranch Event Center in Loveland. In Nov. of 2021, a previous director of The Ranch Event Center made accusations that the Larimer County 4-H Foundation was not following food guidelines and indicated The Ranch should no longer host the 4-H Annual Bake Sale. Cindy said other vendors, such as CSU, have bake sales with homemade food at events hosted by The Ranch, but she hasn’t heard of any limitations placed on them. Director McGrath said he wants 4-H members to sell only pre-packaged foods, not individual baked goods, at Ranch events. Cindy said she would be willing to have any 4-H person who brings baked goods for sale, to list known allergens in their food. She said using pre-packaged food would be like using a vending machine or store bought. 

Lucy Adams, also with the Larimer County 4-H Foundation, wanted the commission and meeting attendees to know that the 4-H annual bake sale during the summer carnival at The Ranch was the foundation’s largest fundraising event. Lucy said in the past, the foundation has had permission from the Larimer County Health Department for every bake sale and follows the regulations requiring handwashing and using gloves when touching any food items.

On a different topic, Tasha Carr, resident of Livermore, wants to see more honesty from the commissioners regarding taxes and tax increases. She said Larimer County has had up to a 25% increase in property taxes. She said offering a 3% - 5% credit feels like a slap. In the spirit of TABOR, Tasha believes residents should vote on the increase and any credits proposed by the county. Tasha also wants to see clearer language on ballots. She called out Commissioner Shadduck-McNally who said they were not raising taxes. Tasha said, “This is a bait-and-switch tactic.”

Commissioners’ respond to public comments.

Commissioner Stephens said she received a vulgar, threatening email regarding the 4-H bake sale. Stephens thinks this kind of conduct from a 4-H member has gone downhill from what the 4-H used to be. Stephens also said that Conor McGrath should not be vilified. He did not start this dispute. 

Regarding taxes and tax increases, the county and commission are working with state legislators on these complex issues. She agrees the ballot language needs to be clearer, however, the commissioners do not set the language used. They were not trying to be dishonest when discussing tax increases and credits. 

Commissioner Shadduck-McNally said she too received a foul and violent email and was disheartened by the 4-H lack of decorum. This issue is not the fault of Conor McGrath. It started years before Director McGrath took over the position.

Commissioner McNally’s comments regarding taxes and increases specifically addressed resident Carr’s comments about being dishonest. She said Larimer County is only responsible for 25% of taxes collected. When home prices go up in value, the taxes go up too. The Board of County Commissioners is not responsible for any of that, and she hopes Tasha will say the same thing to those who are responsible, including ballot language. She concluded with the idea that public comments are good and always welcome, but they must also be truthful. 

Commissioner Chair Kefalas emphasized that while taxes have gone up the additional funds will support good causes in Larimer County and surrounding areas, such as schools and transportation. He said the board is not dishonest and tries to be as transparent as possible.

He did not receive a disgusting, threatening email and wants to work together on keeping the 4-H bake sale. It doesn’t have to be at The Ranch in Loveland. There are other options. He looks forward to working with the foundation.  

Consent Agenda Voting

Commissioner Chair Kefalas read items from the Consent Agenda referenced two key items, #1 and #4. The commissioners voted and approved all items. 

  1. Agreements - 2 Amendments for Larimer County Sheriff Offices Jail Services in Loveland.

  2. Liquor License – 1

  3. Miscellaneous – 9 tax values

  4. Ordinance – Second amended ordinance for implementation and enforcement of short-term rental regulations. The ordinance has been published and is ready for signature by Commissioner Chair Kefalas to become effective.

  5. Resolution establishing compensation for Larimer County Captain Staci Shaffer. 

Members from the Larimer County Rodeo Board attend as guests of Commissioner Shadduck-McNally. 

Commissioner Shadduck-Mc-Nally is the liaison for the Larimer County Rodeo Board and the Larimer Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA). Larimer won Best of Class in 2023 for the first time in 75 years. Steve Humann, Chair; Rick Harris, Vice-Chair; and Rayne Rule from the rodeo board were at the meeting to accept their award. 

From the board website ( “The Rodeo Board works in an advisory capacity, in conjunction with the Larimer County Fair and Rodeo Executive Committee, to plan and conduct the annual PRCA sanctioned rodeo at the Larimer County Fair.”

Commissioner Shadduck-McNally said the award is a well-deserved honor for this group. Members have helped build the Larimer County Rodeo, increased prize money, and created training videos for those who may be interested in rodeo. The association is now shooting for the 2025 Best in Rodeo Act award and will feature Bobby Kerr, a horse and rodeo entertainer best-known for his American Mustang shows. 

Laurie Kadrich, Assistant County Manager introduced a proclamation recognizing Jan. 15, 2024, as Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Larimer County. Commissioner Stephens read the proclamation. Commissioner Shadduck-McNally introduced her guests, the Holland family from Loveland, and asked them to speak on behalf of Martin Luther King, Jr., and his vision. 

James Holland is celebrating his second anniversary of the only black-owned barbershop in Larimer County: XAAKS Barber Shop in Loveland. James said Martin Luther King, Jr. worked for equality. His dream and vision helped so many. Elaine Holland, mother of James, said, “We are all human beings. We must take care of each other.”

Commissioner Shadduck-McNally said she appreciates the Holland family’s engagement in the community. James has started to join local boards and commissions. 

Commissioner Chair Kefalas said the theme in Fort Collins is “It’s on us.” He said it’s a good message, we need to keep it moving, and take responsibility for keeping Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream and vision alive. 

The commissioners reported on their activities over the past week. 

At 10:42 a.m. the regular meeting was adjourned, and the Commissioners went into Executive Session. County employees and members of the public were asked to leave the room. 

Legal Matters. No decision expected. 

From the Agenda

Executive Session pursuant to C.R.S. 24-6-402(4)

(a) Purchase acquisition, lease, transfer, or sale of any real or personal property interest.

(b) Conferences with an attorney for the purpose of receiving legal advice on specific legal questions.

(e)(I) Determining positions relative to matters that may be subject to negotiations, developing strategy for negotiations, and instructing negotiators.

Next Meeting: Jan. 23, 2024 @ 9 a.m. by video or in-person at 200 W. Oak St., 220 Hearing Room, First Floor, Fort Collins.

Questions to consider:

  1. Was there a 4-H incident that prompted this decision? If so, did the 4-H Foundation address and correct it? Will other organizations using The Ranch be notified of any new rules on food fundraisers?

*Citizen Observers further the commitment of the League of Women Voters to its principle of Citizens Right to Know, however, we are not acting as journalists. Omissions and errors are possible. It is assumed that users of this information are responsible for their own fact-checking. This could include contacting a government clerk, conversing with an elected official or staff, and/or asking us to speak to the Observer who attended.

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