Mesa County 2-week Covid positive rate declining

GRAND JUNCTION, CO – As has become customary since the pandemic roared through the United States in the spring, Mesa County Public Health director Jeff Kuhr appeared in front of the Mesa County Commissioners Board this morning to deliver the latest report about Covid numbers in the county. Despite alarming surges elsewhere in the country, Mesa is seeing an actual decline in the two-week average, down to 1.93%.

Kuhr and his team, who had previously reported that they would be applying for the next variance towards Phase 3, said that they have paused that plan until situation has become more stable.

They have also temporarily suspended plans to roll out a “five-star” directory of businesses who have been fully compliant with public health orders in order to focus their efforts on helping businesses implement the new statewide public masking mandate issued by Gov. Polis last week.

Mesa County Treasurer Sheila Reiner also delivered an update on how her office’s collections have been affected by the pandemic. She said that the collections rate of 94% in the spring is the same as it was during the same period last year.

Reiner reported that there has been some confusion about property tax deadlines, especially since the income tax deadline was postponed until July 15 of this year, so the last few days at her office have been “chaotic”.

Reiner said that, in terms of county investments, their rates of return had been “okay” during the first half of the year, but that as interest rates have been declining that will likely have an effect on earnings in the second half.

Towards the end of the session, a discussion emerged about the meeting agenda item related to a proposal to approve RBC Capital Markets as the underwriter “in connection with refunding the County’s Outstanding Taxable Certificates of Participation,” put forth by the Finance office. The board moved to continue with the discussion at the next meeting rather than approve the proposal. Commissioner Rose Pugliese noted that the proposal did not include information about the other firms who had submitted bids and wants the process to be similar to how other RFPs are handled.

The board will review a more detailed proposal at next Monday’s meeting, to include the other 3 firms considered in the bidding process.

The board temporarily adjourned shortly after 10:00 am to go into executive session.