County Beat: Feb. 14, 2019

RBC | During work sessions Monday the Rio Blanco County Board of Commissioners discussed pending legislation that could potentially impact closed landfills in the county.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is pressing for additional regulations on previously closed landfills, but RBC Road and Bridge Director Dave Morlan told the commissioners he believes Rio Blanco County is in a good place, having already done the necessary steps to meet the requirements.

IT Director Dylon Merrill said the phone service transition is still “up in the air.” His department is hopeful the change can be scheduled for President’s Day in order to reduce any impact on county business.

Human Resources Director Laura Smith notified the commissioners that Nancy Richardson has been hired in the treasurer’s office, Brenda Lemmon has transferred to the assessor’s office, and the county still has several open positions available.

A Rio Blanco County employee died of natural causes last week in Rangely at the annex building. As of Monday there were no details on memorial services available.

Both public health nurses have resigned from the department as of Monday, Feb. 11, according to Public Health Director Julie Drake, leaving it up to the commissioners whether to advertise to fill those positions or to revamp the entire department. Nurses Ashley Garcia and Janelle Borchard have both accepted positions at Pioneers Medical Center.

“We need to take a look at the actual workload and make sure the staff matches that,” said Commissioner Gary Moyer.

Drake said she would like to have some “in-depth discussions” with the commissioners about the future of public health. Finding ways to provide a combination of medical care and mental health care might kill two birds with one stone by reducing recidivism.

“We have a real issue in our county—it’s kind of a black mark—we have an extremely high child abuse and neglect rate; and significant issues around substance abuse. We need to look at it as a system,” Drake said. “Getting some better understanding and services to our incarcerated individuals is a piece of that,” she added.

“This is the first year the county has even entertained health care for the inmates as far as nurses go,” said RBC Sheriff Anthony Mazzola.

Other counties collaborate with their local hospitals to meet public health needs; an option Drake and Mazzola are looking into.

Commissioners also heard from RBC Road and Bridge about changing the overtime system to a comp time system. There are concerns it will cost the county slightly more, but the benefits are a simplified payroll system and employee availability.

“We’re not asking them [employees] to work overtime because we want them to finish a report, we’re asking them to work overtime because we’re asking them to stand upriver and tell people they can’t get to their houses because there’s a fire,” said Road and Bridge Director Dave Morlan.

In the regular meeting, the commissioners:

Approved a liquor license for Lions Club to cover the Fireman’s Annual Banquet, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, After Birth Ball and the Old Timers’ Annual Meeting.

Approved CNCC Foundation application for the COSIM student scholarship grant fund (a repeat application).

Approved a letter of support for a Colorado Office of Economic Development Collaborative Intrastructure Funding grant application for Colorado State Highway 13 safety project. “This safety project will complete the reconstruction of State Highway 13, a National Highway System route in rural Colorado, that connects the east/west Interstate 70 in Colorado to the east/west Interstate 80 in Wyoming. This project will improve vertical and horizontal curves, install passing and other auxiliary lanes, chain-up/chain-down stations, add full-width (8 ft.) paved shoulders, as well as include wildlife mitigation safety measures which will be coordinated with Colorado Parks and Wildlife—all needed to prevent fatalities that have occurred all too frequently on this highway.”

Approved an agreement with BLM for bank erosion repair on CR 27.

Explained that the landfill rate for large demolition projects has historically been $15 a cubic yard, half the regular rate.

Appointed Jerry Belland to the Building Board of Appeals.

Appointed Si Woodroof to the Eastern Rio Blanco County 911 Emergency Telephone Service Board.

Opened bids for weed and pest control, dust control, and small vehicle bids to be awarded.

Approved a contract with CDPHE for the Immunization Core Services Project receiving $4,279 from federal funding for 2019.

Approved an agreement between the county, the Colorado Department of Transportation and White River Lodge for the “trapezoidal materials pit project” on SH 13 between Meeker and Rifle.

Approved multiple contracts for HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) maintenance with Trane totaling $32,081 for county-owned properties.

Approved the purchase of a new printer for Road and Bridge in the amount of $6,471.

Approved a resolution for adopting a policy for the disposal of personally identifiable information and for proper notification of data breach to bring the county into compliance with federal regulations.

Road and Bridge

Director Dave Morlan said the recent snows in the Rangely district have resulted in “more snow removal than I’ve seen in a quite a few years, maybe since 2002.”

Morlan also shared the latest update on spring thaw weight restrictions. Probes—paid for by industry and installed on specific roads—give the county detailed information about the freeze-thaw cycle.

“With these probes, there’s less impact to industry,” said Commissioner Rector. Other counties in other states have a mandatory three month restriction. In RBC that restriction—in place to protect roads when temperatures make them vulnerable—can reduce that time frame to a few weeks, depending on weather conditions.

By NIKI TURNER | editor@h1885.com

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