Rangely Council seeks folks to fill council seat

RANGELY I The Rangely Town Council met Tuesday for a variety of topics, including accepting the resignation of the mayor pro tem, planning how that vacancy will be filled, hearing updates from several departments and approving several changes to the West Rangely Subdivision.

Mayor Pro Tem Brad Casto resigned his position on the council early in March. This move required the council to accept the resignation, which happened unanimously after dismay was expressed by council member Andy Shaffer and Mayor Frank Huitt, who said, “I wish him well.”
After a discussion of the options for filling the position, which include appointing a new council member or holding a special election, the council agreed to seek letters of interest from those who would like to sit on the council for the year left in the term. The council will then conduct interviews in a work session on April 14, announcing their choice soon after.
Mayor Huitt expressed concern that holding a special election was too expensive for a one-year term and felt confident that there would be applicants for the position. The council plans to advertise via the newspaper, website, town hall marquee and word of mouth.
Council member Lisa Hatch is hopeful that those who ran in the last election will seek appointment.
As a result of Casto’s resignation, the council also had to elect a new mayor pro tem, whose duties include filling in for the mayor when needed. Council member Dan Eddy nominated Joe Nielsen, who was unanimously voted into the position.
The council also heard an extensive update from Kelly Neiberger of the town’s utilities department who informed them that as of 2015 all gas mains within the town have been updated to plastic. The department is in the process of mapping the gas, water and sewer systems with GIS in order to make the maps more easily accessible for employees in the field via tablets.
Neiberger highlighted a few upcoming projects including moving the gas mains on East Rangely Avenue and East Raven Avenue from under the street to the alley, which will occur sometime this year. She also told the council that the department will be conducting safety training in conjunction with the Rangely Fire Department at the elementary school to make sure kids know how to be safe around the many lines.
Town Manager Peter Brixius had a very quick update for the council. At the top of his list was the project to get water lines out toward the Chevron office, which is currently under way. This project, once complete, will service approximately 40 customers. However, the project ran into difficulty at the river. The river boring has presented a bigger challenge than anticipated and should take another three weeks to complete.
Brixius also told the board that the Western Rio Blanco Metropolitan Recreation and Park District (WRBM) had returned the $75,000 loan previously given to them by the town. The WRBM had been planning to complete some work in the area of Stanolind and Main streets, including improved bathrooms at Hefley Park and beautification of the parking lot north of the new car museum.
However, the WRBM decided not to complete the projects and gave the money back to the town. The parking lot has since had ownership deeded over to the town, which will take over the improvements of the lot.
The work on this parking lot was met with some aversion from citizens in attendance. Tracy Hayes told the council she was very concerned that the town is taking over a “dilapidated lot.”
The council quickly approved several motions concerning the West Rangely Subdivision, including vacating a road within the subdivision, a replat of the subdivision and amendments to the improvement agreement between the town and subdivision.
There was no discussion regarding the motions.
The Rangely Town Council will meet again April 14 to conduct interviews for the appointment to the vacant council seat during a work session, then proceed to the regularly scheduled meeting.