Coronavirus Preparations Fills Rico Trustees March 18 Meeting Agenda

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Lawson Hill COVID-19 test site - March 17, 2020. San Miguel County Department of Health and Environment photo - Facebook.

Rico Board of Trustees

Regular Monthly Meeting

March 18, 2020

Beginning with an Emergency Work Session at 6:00 PM.

Town Trustees and staff will review:

  • Needs assessment for Rico
  • Food bank
  • Delivery service
  • Longer term financial help
  • Bored kids

Rico Needs Assessment

Town Manager Kari Distefano is preparing a survey to "help us understand the economic ramifications of our situation." Survey responses will assist Town of Rico assess availability of financial assistance to individuals and families from Federal or State governments.

Food bank and school lunches

Town Manager is coordinating with Marilyn Griebel on food bank availability and stock of supplies. Rico Center has been contacted about a possible emergency grant request to help bolster Food Bank supplies


Telluride School District prepares student lunches, however, someone from Rico must transport the lunches from Telluride to Rico Town Hall. Town Clerk Linda Yellowman is the lunch-shuttle driver at present, but volunteers may be needed later.

Delivery service

A service which may assist Rico citizens with grocery shopping and prescriptions pick-up. The Needs Assessment Survey will help determine if this service is desired.

The regular meeting convenes at 7:00 PM.

Items proposed for action by Trustees action are:

  1. Postponement of the regular meeting until April.
  2. Consideration of a resolution to declare a COVID-19 Local Disaster Emergency.
  3. Consideration of a resolution designating that all public meetings of the Town of Rico be conducted electronically until the risks of the COVID-19 pandemic subside.
  4. Consideration of a resolution delegating authority to close or alter Town Offices public business hours for the next 60 days due to the health risk of the COVID-19 Pandemic to employees and the public.


1. Postpone March meeting agenda to April regular meeting

Purpose is to delay Town business that requires public input. The Colorado Department of Health discourages public gatherings until degree of coronavirus outbreak in a community is known. Two Town Trustees meetings in April may be considered if the number of items to be considered requires more time than is available in one meeting.

2. Resolution: COVID-19 Local Disaster Emergency

Town needs to declare an emergency to be eligible for State and Federal Disaster funding. The Resolution describes the authorities and responsibilities of Dolores County Board of Public Health, Dolores County Emergency Manager, Dolores County Sheriff, and Rico Town Manager. - Text of the proposed Resolution is reproduced below. -

3. Resolution: Electronic venue for Town of Rico public meetings

This was not practical for the March meeting, but may be useful for April. Town manager has consulted with the Colorado Municipal League and reviewed advice describing options to keep Town meetings open to the public while protecting the public from possible coronavirus exposure. Citizens are encouraged to listen to Town meeting broadcasts on KSJD's Rico transmitter - KICO 89.5 mHz.

4. Resolution: delegate authority to close or alter Town Offices public business hours for 60 days 

Health risk of the COVID-19 Pandemic to employees and the public may require closing Town Hall, depending on COVID-19 testing results from Telluride. Town Hall access is now limited to students for school lunches pick-up, and on-line homework at the library - five students at a time. Other Town Hall public contact has been allowed recently for coronavirus-response organizing operations and other Town business which cannot be delayed.

Public COVID-19 testing at Lawson Hill March 17 will determine local severity

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Lawson Hill COVID-19 test site - March 17, 2020. San Miguel County Department of Health and Environment photo - Facebook.

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) selected San Miguel County for a surveillance site to collect COVID-19 (coronavirus) testing data, according to a News Flash at San Miguel County's website. The Colorado National Guard assisted at the Lawson Hill site:

The Lawson Hill testing site on the county-owned lot was selected by San Miguel County Sheriff Bill Masters based on National Guard requirements including size and safety. 

“There is no threat to public health or safety,” Sheriff Masters said. “We need people to calm down and come together.”

Approximately 70 people from CDPHE and the National Guard are in town to conduct the testing, with an additional dozen county officials assisting in the site efforts.

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Rico Town Manager Kari Distefano provided more Lawson Hill testing information in the Trustees Meeting Packet:

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It is my understanding that they will be testing 100 individuals. The purpose of this testing is to determine whether or not the coronavirus is in Telluride and if so, to what extent. Once we have this information, it will be somewhat easier to make decisions concerning mitigating the effect on our community.

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Lawson Hill COVID-19 test site - March 17, 2020. San Miguel County Department of Health and Environment photo - Facebook.

Resolution Declaring COVID-19 a Local Disaster Emergency



WHEREAS, COVID 19 is a highly contagious virus that originated in China and has since spread to countries around the world, including the United States.

WHEREAS, on January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the worldwide outbreak of COVID-19 a “public health emergency of international concern” and on March 11, 2020 declared it a global pandemic.

WHEREAS, on January 31, 2020, the United States Department of Health and Human Services declared the virus a public health emergency and on March 13, 2020 the President of the United States issued a Proclamation that the “COVID-19 outbreak constitutes a national emergency.”

WHEREAS, in Colorado, Governor Polis issued an Executive Order declaring a state of disaster emergency due to the presence of COVID-19 and further, on March 11, 2020 issued an Executive Order to suspend operations of all Colorado ski resorts; and


WHEREAS, as of March 16, 2020, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (“CDPHE”) confirmed 131 cases of COVID-19 within the State of Colorado;

WHEREAS, on March 16, 2020, San Miguel County declared a local public health emergency to protect the health of community members in San Miguel County and Dolores counties most at risk of severe illness; and

WHEREAS, on March 18, 2020, pursuant to the authority delegated by the Rico Board of Trustees, the Rico Town Manager declared a local disaster emergency because the cost and magnitude of responding to and recovering from the impact of the ensuing event is far in excess of the Town’s available resources; and

WHEREAS, pursuant to C.R.S. § 24-33.5-709(1) “A local disaster may be declared only by the principal executive officer of a political subdivision. It shall not be continued or renewed in excess seven days except by or with the consent of the governing board of the political subdivision;” and

WHEREAS, the conditions that spurred the Town Manager to declare the local disaster emergency have not abated; and

WHEREAS, “The effect of a declaration of local disaster emergency is to activate the response and recovery aspects of any and all applicable local and interjurisdictional disaster and emergency plans and to authorize the furnishing of aid and assistance under such plans.” C.R.S. § 24-33.5-709(2); and

WHEREAS, defining clear roles for and direction to those responding to the local disaster emergency will allow a more effective response. NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Board of Trustees of Rico, Colorado that:

1. The Rico Board of Trustees confirms, determines, and declares that the presence and likelihood of additional cases of COVID-19 within the State or Colorado and the potential for cases of COVID-19 within the Town of Rico constitute a local disaster emergency that warrants continuing the emergency response and furnishing aid and assistance to affected portions of the community.

2. The Board recognizes that Dolores County Board of Public Health, by and through their directors and in coordination with the CDPHE, which is leading the statewide response to COVID-19, is currently incident command for the response to COVID-19 within the Town of Rico. Dolores County Board of Public Health has authority under state law to issue orders and guidance and take other actions as necessary to protect the public health, safety, and welfare. The Board directs Town staff to take such actions to effectuate the orders and guidance of both San Miguel County and Dolores County Boards of Public Health as necessary, in consultation with the Board where appropriate.

3. The Board recognizes the Sheriff of Dolores County is a constitutional officer charged with maintaining public order within Dolores County and is authorized under state law to enforce the orders of Dolores County Board of Public Health as well other governmental directives related to disasters and emergencies, all as reasonably necessary to protect the safety of the public. The Board requests the Sheriff to enforce the orders of San Miguel County and Dolores County Boards of Public Health, to utilize its resources and activate any necessary assistance to maintain public order, and continue taking other actions as necessary to ensure the safety of the public during this local disaster emergency.

4. The Emergency Manager for Dolores County is coordinating the countywide response to the disaster, including with partners of Dolores County such as San Miguel County, first responders; human services, healthcare and emergency medical services providers; providers of critical infrastructure for the community; and other providers of important and necessary services to the public. The Board directs that the Town Manager continue to work closely with these partners to ensure a coordinated response throughout the Town, and to continue to utilize Rico Town staff and other resources as necessary for an effective response, in consultation with the Board as appropriate.

5. The Rico Town Manager manages the general operations of the town and serves as a liaison to municipalities within the town and others. The Board directs the Town Manager to continue coordinating with internal and external partners and to direct town staff as appropriate and necessary to address the local disaster emergency. The Board also directs the Town Manager to work with directors and managers within the region to address staff illness, sick time, working remotely, and similar topics to ensure the continuity of operations within the town in consultation with the Board as appropriate.

6. This local disaster emergency will continue until such time as the Board determines the disaster emergency has terminated through adoption of a resolution declaring such.

7. The Board shall make every effort to comply with the noticing and other requirements of the Colorado Open Meetings Law (COML), C.R.S. § 24-6-401 et seq., through its typical methods of providing public notice. To the extent exigent circumstances arising out the disaster emergency requiring emergency action by the Board, strict compliance with COML may be impossible on one or more occasions and the Board shall ratifying any emergency actions taken as soon as possible.

8. This Resolution and Declaration shall be promptly filed with the Town of Rico County Clerk and Recorder, the Office of Emergency Management and shall be promptly distributed to the appropriate representatives of the news media.

9. This Resolution and Declaration is necessary for the public health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Rico Colorado.

DONE AND ADOPTED by the Rico Board of Trustees, Town of Rico, County of Dolores, State of Colorado, this 18th day of March, 2020.

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