Fraser Valley leaders team up on mental health as towns signal go-ahead for new code enforcement officer

Housing topped the list for a joint session of the Fraser and Winter Park trustees, but those weren’t the only issues where the two towns are looking to build closer ties.

On Thursday, Winter Park Mayor Nick Kutrumbos led a discussion on mental health with the two town boards. A portion of Winter Park’s marijuana sales tax is now going toward mental health initiatives, and the town is looking for additional money to fund more resources in the Fraser Valley.

“I know that it’s not necessarily always the municipality’s responsibility to look at programs at the county level, but I think that there’s a gap,” Kutrumbos said. “I think that the accessibility on this side of the county just isn’t there.”

He added that there has been some preliminary discussion with the Grand Foundation about building a fund like the Winter Park Housing Assistance Fund, but for mental health programs.

Both boards talked about what they might want out of mental health resources in the area. Along with bringing more mental health assets to the eastern side of the county, they want to raise awareness and reduce stigma. There were also talks about better addressing addiction treatment.

Following their discussions, the boards agreed they’d like to hear more about a possible fund with Grand Foundation along with other types of revenue that could be generated for mental health programs.

A third topic for the towns on Thursday involved a pitch from Fraser Winter Park Police Chief Glen Trainor about adding a code enforcement officer to the towns’ joint police department.

Trainor explained that the department has seen a rise in calls, just like many public safety entities in Grand County. He said that adding a code enforcement officer could help address some of the noncriminal complaints that often leave his officers strapped for time.

The code enforcement officer would focus on problems like parking, abandoned vehicles, and junk and wildlife issues — namely bears and trash. The officer would be under the command of a police department supervisor.

Trainor emphasized that a code enforcement officer would be instructed to take a problem-solving approach to these issues and concentrate on relationships. Summons would only be used as a last resort in code enforcement, according to Trainor.

He estimated startup costs at $126,000-$134,000 to cover the new position and a vehicle. Annually thereafter the burden would fall to $81,000-$89,000 for the full-time position, along with operating costs.

The chief added that he’d like to hire someone from the community for the position.

With no opposition from the boards, Trainor said he would include the code enforcement officer in his 2022 budget proposal, which will need to be approved by both town boards before the position can become official.

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