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Former Commissioner Kirby remembered

Posted on 01/24/2020
Former Commissioner Kirby remembered

Weld County Government commissioners and staff were saddened to learn former Weld County Commissioner Bill Kirby passed away January 18.

Charles William “Bill” Kirby served as the County Commissioner for Weld County District II from 1979-1982, and as the at-large County Commissioner from 1985-1992. Commissioner Kirby was the early-on leader of efforts to improve the operation of the Public Works department through reorganizing the department, advocating on the Board of County Commissioners to acquire the right equipment to get the job done, and improving the efficiencies of the operations of the department.

Commissioner Kirby lead the effort through CCI in 1981 to change the state law to provide more Highway Users Trust Fund (HUTF) funding for urban counties by adding what is known as the Second Tier of the HUTF formula. The result of the Second Tier has resulted in Weld County receiving millions of dollars more in HUTF funding since 1981. In 2019 alone, the Second Tier added funding amounted to nearly $1.5 million to Weld County for county roads.

When the federal government eliminated Revenue Sharing to states and local governments, there was a need to look at other revenue sources to fund county programs. As a result, Commissioner Kirby lead the effort to create the Weld Library District (now known as the High Plains Library District) and Windsor Library District (known as the Clearview Library District). The creation of the library districts took libraries out of the county’s budget and create stand-alone library districts in the county to insure a funding source dedicated for the libraries in Weld County.

Another major accomplishment of Commissioner Kirby was being instrumental in creating a public-private economic development organization in Weld County. In the early 1980s when Monfort’s (JBS) closed for nearly two years due to a labor dispute, Commission Kirby and the then Mayor George Hall and the President of the Chamber of Commerce started a committee with the three of them and one staff member from each entity to look into creating an economic development effort to diversify the Greeley-Weld County local economy.  The goal was to attract different industries so our local economy was not dependent on one major employer and the agricultural industry. What grew out of that effort was the creation of the Economic Development Action Partnership (EDAP), which has evolved into the present-day Upstate Colorado Economic Development organization that fosters economic development in Weld County.

Commissioner Kirby’s efforts during his tenure as a county commissioner have had lasting impacts on Weld County government and the county’s service to the citizens of Weld County. He often said to his fellow Commissioners and county staff, “We need to make Weld County government something the citizens are proud to have.” Commissioner Kirby certainly did his part during his tenure as a Weld County Commissioner to make us proud of Weld County government, and the legacy of some of his efforts are still benefiting the residents of Weld County today.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Kirby family.