What are the responsibilities of the Board of County Commissioners?
The Boulder County Government serves all residents in Boulder County, and the Board of County Commissioners is an elected board of three commissioners that leads the Boulder County Government. All three Commissioners represent all of Boulder County although each of the three commissioners must reside in a specific district of Boulder County.
Unlike a city or town which may have a mayor and council for policy direction and a city or town manager for day-to-day administration, the Board of County Commissioners has a larger role in the operations of Boulder County, alongside the County Administrator. For example, the commissioners make decisions about compensation and facilities for county employees, approve spending, contracts, and grant agreements, determine county policy relating to land use, and set the budgets for all elected offices.
On a day-to-day basis this means that commissioners make land use decisions and administrative decisions for the county, set the county’s budget, and give policy direction in areas like equity, land use, open space management, transportation, and climate action. The commissioners also appoint Boulder County residents to the county’s 27 boards and commissions, which provide policy recommendations on a range of topics from aging to the fire code. Finally, the commissioners enact all county ordinances and make proclamations that highlight days, months, or residents of significance to Boulder County.
The commissioners’ decisions and policies are guided by their 2019-2023 strategic priorities of affordable living, climate action, equity & justice, land & water stewardship, and organizational & financial stewardship, as well as the county’s guiding values of inclusion, stewardship, service, engagement, sustainability, innovation, and resilience.
The commissioners have direct oversight of the Attorney’s Office, Office of Financial Management, Office of Sustainability, Climate Action & Resilience, and the County Administrator, who manages the departments of Community Services, Housing & Human Services, Parks & Open Space, Community Planning & Permitting, Public Works, Office of Racial Equity, Human Resources, and Information Technology.
These departments provide Bounty County residents with services such as early childhood well-being and education, affordable housing, employment and training services, building safety, open space acquisition and management, wildfire mitigation, and transportation. The county delivers services and provides additional supports for federal programs administered though the state, including food assistance (SNAP and WIC), health coverage (Medicaid, CHP+, Affordable Care Act Marketplace), affordable housing development and housing vouchers, child care assistance (the Child Care Assistance Program), financial assistance (TANF), and early childhood support through Head Start.
Do the commissioners work across jurisdictions?
Many of the issues that affect county residents require solutions across multiple jurisdictions, which means the commissioners spend a lot of time working with partners across the region. For example, the commissioners serve on the board of the Denver Regional Council of Governments, the Northwest Mayors and Commissioners Coalition, Reimagine RTD, the Rocky Mountain Airport Noise Roundtable, the Boulder County Consortium of Cities, Northern Colorado Places, and other similar organizations. The commissioners also work in partnership with commissioners from other counties to promote environmental legislation and legislation that promotes the policies they support.
Who are Boulder County’s other elected officials?
Boulder County’s elected officials include the three commissioners, who make up the Board of County Commissioners. The other elected officials include the Assessor, Clerk & Recorder, Coroner, District Attorney, Sheriff, Surveyor, and Treasurer.
Boulder County’s elected officials guide county policy and budget priorities and execute the critical functions of the county government. All are elected “at-large” by the voters of Boulder County, which means that all Boulder County voters have the opportunity to elect all of the county’s elected officials.
The Assessor, Clerk & Recorder, Coroner, District Attorney, Sheriff, Surveyor, and Treasurer set policy for their areas as elected officials, and Boulder County Public Health is guided by the Board of Health, which appoints an Executive Director. The Sheriff’s Office operates primarily in unincorporated Boulder County for patrol and law enforcement, but also provides countywide services in areas such as emergency response, drug investigations, and the jail.
Who does the Boulder County Government serve?
The Boulder County Government serves all residents in incorporated cities and towns and unincorporated Boulder County.
Boulder County’s Community Planning and Permitting Department and Public Works Department serve unincorporated areas. This means if you have a planning or building question or a question about road maintenance and you’re located in an incorporated town or city, you should contact your city or town’s Planning/Building department.
Not sure whether you reside in the unincorporated county or inside a city or town? Type in your address at Property Search. If the address includes a city or town (for example, Boulder) then you’re in an incorporated city or town. If the address says “unincorporated” then you reside in unincorporated Boulder County.
How can residents engage with the commissioners?
The commissioners are committed to open dialogue with county residents, business owners, and stakeholders.
- Public hearings – The commissioners’ public hearings are open to the public and a two-week Advance Agenda (boco.org/advance-agenda) is sent out every week. Comments can be made at public hearings in person (Commissioners’ Hearing Room, 1325 Pearl St, Boulder), online through Zoom, or by phone.
- Public comment sessions – The commissioners hold a public comment session at 9 a.m. on the first Thursday of each month where members of the public are welcome to comment on items that aren’t on the Commissioners’ Agenda. These comment sessions are listed in the Advance Agenda and can be attended in person (Commissioners’ Hearing Room, 1325 Pearl St, Boulder), online through Zoom, or by phone.
- Written comments – If you would prefer to submit a written comment, you can complete the online forms available for public hearings, email email@example.com, or write to the Board of County Commissioners at PO Box 471, Boulder, CO 80306.
- Town Halls – Every month, the commissioners visit different parts of the county and hold Town Hall meetings where residents can share comments and ask questions. The Town Halls are listed in the Advance Agenda.
- Join a board or commission – 27 advisory boards and commissions help advise the commissioners and other elected offices and departments on matters concerning public administration, planning, budgeting, and other functions of local governance.
- Email updates and social media – Sign up to receive the Advance Agenda and Commissioners’ News by email. News and updates are also shared on the county’s social media.