Anvil Points money is still in the mail

RBC | The $7.2 million check, which was supposed to go out March 29, has yet to arrive, but everyone is already asking for a piece of the pie.

“I now know what it’s like to win the lottery, we’re getting so many emails,” said board of county commissioner chair Shawn Bolton. “I think we should stick it (the check) back into the CCITF (County Capital Improvement Trust Fund) and build that fund back up.”

Commissioners used some of the CCITF funds for the broadband project.

Once the money does come in, the commissioners will need to determine where it should be applied. CCITF monies are limited to capital projects.

“You might want to consider a separate assigned fund,” suggested finance director Janae Stansworth, for non-capital projects.

On a positive note, the commissioners said Senator Cory Gardner and Rep. Scott Tipton have indicated they will be working to ensure that the county will not have to sacrifice PILT (Payments In Lieu of Taxes) funds to the tune of $1 million as originally expected because of the Anvil Points payment.

PILT funds—received to offset losses in property taxes in districts that have non-taxable Federal lands—go directly to the county’s general fund.

The commissioners debated where to “draw the line” when it comes to enforcing building code violations, particularly in reference to “rubbish and junk.”

“I don’t know where we go down this road. Sure, we’d all like to see everybody’s place all cleaned up, but where do we start and where do we quit? I don’t know if it’s up to me to decide what’s junk and what’s not (on someone else’s property),” said Commissioner Jeff Rector.

County Attorney Kent Borchard said in the past the building department has operated on written citizen complaints.

Rector agreed, saying, “If the constituents are complaining, then we need to do something about it.”

Commissioners Si Woodruff and county building inspector Jeff Kumer urged greater awareness of the code and consistency in enforcement.

“For years we’ve driven by and not said anything. They don’t even know the law exists, so a nice letter lets them know. I believe in property rights, but I don’t believe the value of my property should be decreased because of the condition of your property,” Kumer said.

Citizen Mike Sizemore asked the board to consider implementing term limits on all elected county officials.

“We don’t want to create any more career politicians than we have to,” Sizemore said.

Bolton said it’s open for discussion, noting that he doesn’t recall having a contested race for clerk, assessor or treasurer.

“It’s a double-edged sword in smaller communities. If you can find the people to step up and take the positions after eight years, that’s one thing,” Bolton said.

“I think we should give people a chance to have their say,” Sizemore said.

The commissioners agreed to consider the topic on an upcoming agenda, which will possibly put the issue on the November ballot.

The commissioners heard department updates from the communications/IT departments, which are prepping for warm weather to complete implementation of broadband infrastructure.

Communications director Cody Crooks said there are about 200 addresses still to be connected to broadband, which is expected to be finished by the end of the year. Crooks also told the commissioners about some new technology that might work better for the secondary towers that will serve rural clients who access broadband wirelessly.

Deputy Sheriff Jeremy Muxlow updated the commissioners on conditions at the detention center. One of the major problems involves treatment of inmates’ medical issues. The sheriff’s office is in communication with public health to find a solution that will benefit both departments.

In commissioner updates, Jeff Rector requested to be on record regarding a perceived issue with the original location of Nichols Store in Rangely.

Rector said he has “no desire” to tear down the building, which is across the street from the current store location, and believes confusion about his position stems from a Colorado Counties Incorporated’s steering committee meeting about the historic value of five Moon Lake power poles on Evacuation Creek.

Commissioner Si Woodruff said he received a complaint about the Eastern Rio Blanco Metropolitan and Park District board’s bid award process. The commissioners determined that’s not in their jurisdiction.

In public comment, former county employee Jeff Madison spoke to the commissioners about the history of the county’s impact fees on development.

“We enacted the impact fee in 2008. The crash happened shortly thereafter. Impact fees were not the cause (of the crash),” Madison said. “I had people from Exxon Mobil and Shell and these other companies say they didn’t like paying for it, but they said it was the most equitable way of doing it they’d seen.”

The impact fees were divided into three categories: administration, law enforcement and transportation. According to Madison, the admin and law enforcement categories were resolved with the development of the Justice Center and the courthouse renovations.

“It would take a lot of the burden off residential and commercial by eliminating those two categories,” Madison said.

The current board has looked at ways to eliminate the impact fees in an attempt to attract industry back to the county.

“We have to figure out how to get some activity back in our county,” Rector said.