County’s assessed valuation drops 6 percent

met Monday in Rangely
and awarded a bid for the Coulter
Field (Meeker airport) beacon and
fence relocation to Flat Rock
Construction, Inc. They also approved
a grant application with the
Department of Local Affairs for the
Rio Blanco County Department of
Health and Human Services renovation
project in an amount not to
exceed $157,570.
Road and bridge director Dave
Morlan said his department is continuing
to try and obtain agreements with
the Bureau of Land Management for
projects to be done on various roads.
“We still can’t get them to do a
programmatic agreement on these
right-of-ways,” he said. Morlan also
said they’re “having a heck of a time”
trying to meet new rules and regulations
for bridge repairs on county
roads 102 and 27.
The board also approved a petition
for abatement of taxes for Helmrich &
Payne International Drilling in the
amount of $21,833.08.
“They didn’t let us know that the
taxes were delinquent until the taxes
were due,” said Rio Blanco County
assessor Renae Neilson. The site was
actually in Garfield County. “They
would have been double-taxed,” she
said. During public comment, the board
heard from Annalee Nickson, director
of the Radino Senior Council regarding
the center’s mission statement and
bylaws, which are being redone.
Nickson wanted to know how to
address a disruption in a meeting or in
a manner that would affect the center.
“If someone disrupts, you can call
the sheriff and they can be removed,”
said county attorney Kent Borchard.
“It’s actually a crime, a misdemeanor,
to disrupt a public meeting.”
“In your case it would be the
police,” said Commissioner Si
Woodruff.
Nickson said the seniors have
expressed concern about safety issues.
“With all the attacks on facilities—
this is the seniors—if a gunman
came in and started shooting, would
our safety man come down and do a
run-through of what their reaction
would be if someone came in and
threatened harm to them?”
“I would ask the police department
to come do that,” Woodruff said.
Nickson also said some individuals
no longer in leadership positions
with the center have refused to turn in
their keys. The commissioners agreed
that should be handled by the center
internally.
In commissioner updates,
Woodruff said he has attended a meeting
with the weed and pest control district
in Rangely.
“They’re not sure if they’ll have
enough funding to continue with the
tamarisk and Russian olive removal.”
Woodruff and others also met with
a gentleman from China regarding the
possibility of building a power plant at
the junction of Hwy. 64 and CR 5.
“The man from China basically
said they—this is China—would be
very interested in the project, and
would 100 percent finance it, 100 percent
build it, and care for it for one
year, then sell it. It was quite eyeopening,”
Woodruff said, adding,
“First and foremost for them or
anyone else we would have to have
customers willing to contractually buy
the electricity.”
Woodruff requested a workshop to
discuss building inspection requirements
for people building small cabins.
There are some exemptions based
on usage, according to Borchard.
“Garfield County gives a 1,200
square foot exemption on summer
cabins as far as building codes are
concerned,” said Commissioner
Shawn Bolton.
Woodruff also requested a meeting
with Colorado Fiber and the two
broadband installers to see why people’s
houses aren’t getting hooked up.
Commissioner Bolton referenced
Governor Hickenlooper’s executive order announced last week that commits the state to reducing
greenhouse gas emissions in accordances with the 2015
Paris climate accord which was rejected last month by
President Donald Trump.
“He did that without any consultation with counties or
anyone else,” Bolton said.
In the Board of Equalization meeting following the
commissioners’ meeting, RBC Assessor Renae Neilson
said during this year’s property tax assessment protest period,
there were 60 real properties protested, 36 were adjusted
and satisfied, 15 were denied and one was voided.
“We had 113 oil and gas, but of that 106 were from one
company. We denied most of those. We had 30 companies
that didn’t report at all, no drilling rigs in the county.”
“Personal property is our big chunk. If they try to
exempt personal property again it will really hurt this county,”
she said.
Following a reappraisal, Neilson said the county’s total
valuation is down a little more than 6 percent. The RE-4
school district’s value is expected to drop close to 10 percent,
she said, and the RE-1 district is going to drop a little
over 4.5 percent.
That’s all preliminary,” she said. “We hope by August
we’ll have state-assessed in. I look for our number to drop
more, maybe a percent or two, that’s just a guess.”
The commissioners accepted the assessor’s protest valuation
report.