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City of Black Hawk Community Center Contribution Intergovernmental Agreement Update

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The following letter was shared with Stephen Cole, City Manager for the City of Black Hawk on May 15, 2024


Dear Mr. Cole:

As you are aware, the Gilpin County Board of County Commissioners (“County”) received the City of Black Hawk’s (“City”) subsequent offer to provide a term-limited reoccurring direct contribution to support the Gilpin County Community Center, dated May 8, 2024. This followed the County’s request to start negotiations on the terms first shared with the County on March 21, 2024.

The County Attorney, Manager and all Commissioners reviewed and discussed the City’s revised offer in great detail during their Executive Session held on May 14, 2024.  After nearly two hours of discussion, the Board directed me to prepare this response.

The County very much appreciates the City’s interest in expanded hours for the Community Center, a cherished community asset, and the creative offer to permit the voters within the municipal boundary of the City to consider raising the City’s lodging tax to support that effort.

However, the fundamental issue remains that if the County were to agree to the terms, it could hamper any future effort to fund and/or support publicly demanded or required services elsewhere in the County.  The County must be able to respond and adapt to changing circumstances, including statutory requirements, to perform its duty of protecting the public welfare within its boundaries. This agreement would restrict the authority of the County and, by extension, the will and voice of the voters of Gilpin County, as a whole.  The County has no powers over districts that impose taxes such as the library or fire districts, but rather this lies with their own Boards. In addition, tying this agreement in with other established agreements, such as the Gilpin Ambulance Authority IGA, would greatly complicate the process of amending unrelated commitments. This could hinder the County’s dealings with other entities due to potentially unintended or unforeseen consequences, to the detriment of providing critical services to the public, including those who reside within municipal boundaries.  

In short, the County believes entering into such an agreement would be harmful to the health, welfare, and public safety of the County, would infringe on the County Commissioners’ powers, and, therefore, the will of the voting public at-large, as specified in state law.

The County is requesting good faith negotiations with the City regarding this offer.  The influence over government must be shared among all the people and not just a select few.



Ray Rears
Gilpin County Manager