Thank you for the opportunity to write this letter to the editor in order to provide information regarding the Ouray County Courthouse. To begin, the Board of County Commissioners has certain statutory responsibilities, as set forth in C.R.S. 30-11-107, to build and keep in repair county buildings, to care for county property and the management of the business and concerns of the county. Further, the board has the authority to provide for the preservation of the culture, historic and architectural history within the county and to expend moneys for the maintenance of historic structures and properties.
In 1888, the citizens of Ouray County approved the construction of the Ouray County Courthouse in order to provide a home for all of the essential services that Ouray County provides as well as district, county and municipal court services. For nearly 130 years, the courthouse (“house of the people”) authorized by that spending, standing at 541 4th St., within the City of Ouray, has served well to ensure that the whole of the county and its citizenry has a place to conduct law and order and for continuation of essential county and judiciary services.
The board has been keenly aware of two potential topics that need additional funding attention: county facilities and county roads. The county is continuing to work on planning for the county road system and is doing so concurrently with the courthouse analysis. It is not a matter of paying attention to one at the expense of the other as both the courthouse and the county road system are important. Information on roads, road activities and road treatment test sections are published monthly in the Ouray County Plaindealer under Letters to the Editor and on the county website.
Services that the county delivers, and is building towards, are being done within existing and projected county budget. The extraordinary cost of renovating the 130-year-old courthouse is a cost outside of the county’s ability to fund with its current revenue sources. The county has engaged the services of a consultant working with a task force to review architectural deliverables and make a recommendation to the board with regard to a recommended approach. The architectural work was accomplished through an Underfunded Courthouse Grant and continued work on courthouse planning is currently in process. Several grant funding sources are being considered to assist with funding the courthouse renovation and construction. The state of Colorado, Underfunded Courthouse Fund, is a source available solely for courthouse projects. The county is continuing to work with the architect to refine courthouse renovation and new construction costs.
The Ouray County Board of County Commissioners believe that managing all county assets are important and the board is committed to the idea that Ouray County can and should preserve the integrity of both the courthouse and road infrastructure, and so much more.
Ben Tisdel, Chair
Ouray County Board of County Commissioners