Commissioners grant school districts $200K, one year only

RBC I Both school districts in Rio Blanco County will benefit from a “one-year only” grant given by the county commissioners at their June 13 meeting. It was also the first day on the job for the new county administrator.
The commissioners granted the RE-1 and RE-4 school districts $100,000 each from sales tax revenue collected on electric utilities outside the boundaries of the two towns.
“This one-year only grant will help our local schools get through the financial crisis they face,” commissioner Ken Parsons said.
For several years, the county has been passing sales tax revenue collected on electric utilities to the towns on a grant basis, with the town of Meeker receiving revenue generated by White River Electric Association and the town of Rangely receiving revenue generated by Moon Lake Electric Association.
According to Debbie Morlan, RBC sales and use tax administrator, in 2006 utility use in the Piceance Creek area began “skyrocketing,” increasing the WREA collections significantly. This created a growing inequity between the two towns that prompted a review of the process.
Commissioners decided to consider all the county tax dollars collected from electric utilities as one grant pool, with five percent from the pool being passed through to each town monthly and the remaining 90 percent to be used to fund projects throughout the county. Projects within the towns will be considered for this funding as well, with the intent that future use of the funds will be balanced between eastern and western Rio Blanco County.
Monday was the first day on the job for Rio Blanco County administrator Kim Bullen. Bullen attended school in Rangely and was graduated from Meeker High School. Bullen moved from Rio Blanco County in 1997 and became the emergency management director in Mesa County, a position she held for 10 years. Bullen then earned her master’s degree in public administration at the University of Colorado and became a senior management analyst. She has also worked for Colorado Mesa University.
“I’m excited for the opportunity to work with the board, the community and the towns,” Bullen said. “There are lots of projects going on and I’m excited to be a part of them.”