Commissioners to interview Fair Board applicants

RBC I During work sessions in Rangely, the Rio Blanco County Board of Commissioners heard from IT Director Dylon Merrell about the purchase of new antivirus software.

“The current solution is a mixture of old-style and new-style antivirus,” Merrell said. The new program is recommended by the state and “being pushed heavily by the state election office.” By joining the state contract, the county got a better price because of the volume discount. In the regular meeting, commissioners approved the $10,737 order.
Multiple local contractors and industry representatives from various companies attended the work session Tuesday to discuss how the county’s Road and Bridge department handles snowpack on county roads, sharing concerns about safety issues when snowpack is too thick.
For the county’s part, clearing snow too close to the road results in loss of gravel, which the county then has to replace.
“It’s a guideline,” explained Road and Bridge Director Dave Morlan. “In my opinion, down here the snowpack doesn’t last that long. Gravel doesn’t grow on trees.”
Gravel is $8.81 per cubic yard, which adds up to $12,703 per mile for materials to replace. That doesn’t include man-hours, equipment costs, fuel, etc. “It ends up being about $90,000 a mile,” said Van Pilaud from the Road and Bridge department.
“It can be a significant expense to taxpayers,” Morlan said. Gravel that is bladed off to the shoulder can’t be put back on the road because it adds “contaminants” like clay that then make the road slick.
Both sides agreed to keep the lines of communication open and work together on specific spots that may need additional attention.
Speaking for James Paul, executive director of The TANK, Sue Samaniego presented a request for $45,000 to improve landscaping around the TANK.
“It needs another governmental partner,” Samaniego said. “GoCo (Great Outdoors Colorado) and the Gates Foundation are already on board. We need someone local to come in. We’re bringing in several new programs and are hoping to get it to look more like what it is: a cultural and regional attraction.”
Commissioner Gary Moyer asked if there has been any analysis of the economic impact of the TANK, and Commissioner Jeff Rector said he “wouldn’t mind partnering, but not at this price.”
During the Department of Human Services Update, Barb Bofinger said court-involved DHS cases are decreasing, but the department is still struggling with staffing and fulfilling unfunded mandates from the state. “They don’t understand what we’re dealing with over here,” Bofinger said. The department was fully staffed and accredited for one day out of the last three years.
During the regular meeting, the commissioners:
• Approved a $2,500 request to come from the economic development fund to support a Boondock Nation snowmobiling video
• Appointed Council on Aging delegates Anna Lee Nickson, Linda Berry and Zubie Devish, and alternates Dorothy Chappell, Connie Aitken and John Aitken.
• Tabled, for the second time, appointments to the Fair Board.
“It used to be the commissioners interviewed all the board applicants, I would like to start that again,” Rector said. “Instead of appointing today, I would like to visit with people one on one.”
Current Fair Board member Quentin Smith said a meeting of six fair board members Monday was split 50-50 as to how many members the board should have. According to the board’s bylaws, nine members are required.
“We think going to the interview process would be a viable asset to the board,” Smith said.
The commissioners agreed to hold a special work session Friday to interview candidates, and tabled appointment to the Feb. 25 meeting.
• Opened bids for the 2020 dust control project, to be decided at the next meeting.
• Approved an agreement with Drew Consulting LLC, for updating NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) regulations and help with comments on NEPA processes. The board is also partnering with former commissioner and local rancher Jon Hill and the county’s conservation districts to prepare its comments and provide a framework that will “strengthen our position for local governments to have as much say as possible.”
• Approved a memorandum of understanding with the Town of Rangely for the emergency operations plan.
• Entered into an intergovernmental agreement with the Colorado Department of Transportation for the County Road 73 White River Bridge replacement.
• Approved a resolution vesting jurisdiction over plumbing permits and inspections to the state plumbing board.
Following commissioner updates, the board went into executive session to discuss legal matters, personnel matters, and positions subject to negotiations.

By NIKI TURNER
editor@ht1885.com

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