MEEKER I By the time you read this, half of January will already be gone. This just goes to show that time moves quickly. One thing that does not move quickly, however, is government — something I have learned in my six years of involvement at the local level. But don’t confuse the slow process with ineffectiveness. In fact, your local government has accomplished a great deal in recent years.
Looking back at just 2009 I am impressed with the list of accomplishments the town of Meeker has to show, including collaboratively writing a successful grant for State Energy Impact funds of over half a million dollars to build a new road to the new Meeker Elementary School. The police department also received a grant of $10,000 for new equipment. Other new features for the department in 2009 were the flashing speed signals, an evidence bay and an upgrade to the animal shelter. Two of the town’s water tanks were inspected and repainted, and a new water well will soon be added to the system. Our planning department approved a new subdivision, two new in-home day care facilities, and added and approved digital signage to the Municipal Code. The town has also been working collaboratively with several entities: the chamber of commerce and town of Yampa on the Flat Tops Scenic Byway project, the county on an energy audit for public buildings, the community task force on a housing assessment, and the board of county commissioners and the town of Rangely’s board of trustees to regain a greater sense of community.
Also in 2009, the town of Meeker continued to support many great community events, including the Smoking River Pow Wow, the Meeker Classic Sheepdog Trials, Range Call, Fourth of July fireworks display, Northwest Colorado Philanthropy Days, Meeker’s youth football program, the recreation district’s Winter Games, the Mountain Valley Bank Fall Festival and the annual senior picnic.
The significance of this list is how it was all done without interruption of the town’s regular duties. Keep in mind that on a daily basis your local government is plowing snow, hauling snow, sweeping streets, striping streets, paving streets, chipping limbs and taking care of the parks. Your local government is maintaining your water. Your local government is recycling, taking care of stray dogs, inspecting buildings and upholding the Municipal Code. Your local government works every day to make Meeker a safe, beautiful, livable, well-planned place to live.
Do you ever wonder where the money comes from for all these projects and services? Naturally it is mostly taxes, but of different kinds. The greatest revenue source for the town of Meeker is sales and use tax, which in 2009 brought in around $1.4 million. The next greatest revenue source is the Mineral Severance Tax and Federal Lease Payment, which in 2009 brought in nearly $1.1 million. The other two significant revenue sources are property tax (about $187,000 in 2009) — which was not increased for 2010 — and the Highway Users Tax (around $118,000 in 2009). I hope this helps you see where tax dollars come from to make Meeker work.
So, as the new year marches on, the town of Meeker continues to work on several projects (albeit at a governmental pace) and maintain all the services that residents have grown to expect. The new Ute Road and intersection should be completed this summer, just in time for Range Call, the Rio Blanco County Fair and the new school year. There will be completed structural and asbestos assessments on the current elementary school, as well as several opportunities for public input on the future use of the building. Town Hall will have energy-efficient upgrades done, and collaboration will continue between the town and other agencies for greater productivity and accomplishment throughout the county.
If you wish to have a voice in the goings-on of your local government, remember to vote in the municipal election on April 6. There are three trustee seats and a mayoral seat open, and petitions for interested parties can be found at Town Hall. Or, as always, feel free to see your local government in action at Town Hall meetings on the first and third Tuesday of every month at 7 p.m.
Mandi Etheridge is mayor of Meeker. You may e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.