Commissioners meet in Rangely

RBC | The new board of county commissioners held its first Rangely meeting on Tuesday. In addition to commissioner updates the board also moved forward with a resolution regarding a new hydroelectric plant and increased fiscal support of the Wolf Creek Water Storage Project.
The commissioners held a public hearing and then voted unanimously to approve a limited impact review for a hydroelectric plant which would utilize the Miller Creek Ditch. The impact review was requested by White River Electric Association. The hydroelectric dam would operate seasonally when there is water in the ditch.
Alden Vanden Brink of the Rio Blanco Water Conservancy District approached the commissioners with a request for funding. The proposed Wolf Creek Reservoir is preparing to move into Phase II of the feasibility study. This phase is expected to cost approximately $350,000 which has been funded by grants from various stakeholders including the county and both towns. Vanden Brink was informed last week that a grant from the Colorado Water Conservation Board, which covered a sizeable portion of the study, has been cut by more than $22,000, leaving the local Water Conservancy with a shortfall which must be filled before moving forward. The county is currently funding 7 percent of the project. Vanden Brink requested the county consider filling the funding gap out of their 2018 budget, making them a 14 percent stakeholder. The commissioners agreed to absorb the $22,000 cost with the caveat that the Water Conservancy also request a portion of those funds from both the Towns of Rangely and Meeker. Rangely has currently provided the project with $50,000, a 14 percent share of the cost, and Meeker has funded $10,000.
The commissioners responded to questions about budget cuts, and what money savings they have been able to accomplish. According to the commissioners, funds for a $150,000 water feature at the courthouse have been reallocated to county fairground improvements, as well as savings in courthouse furniture. They are also considering not replacing jobs that are currently vacant. “Everyone else’s budgets have been cut so they’re all coming to us for money,” said Rector. “We’re still trying to wrap our heads around it.”