Rangely mayor resigns, council appoints Brady

RANGELY | At Rangely’s Town Council meeting Tuesday Mayor Joseph Nielsen resigned his position and the council appointed a new mayor. The council also approved the 2018 budget and funding for the Elks Club Christmas baskets.
Rangely Mayor Joseph Nielsen resigned his position, effective at midnight on Tuesday. “There’s been some fundamental changes in my life,” said Nielsen. “It’s with a really heavy heart that I tender my resignation. This is a wonderful council. If all governments and councils could function as we do… I think this could be a better nation. It’s been a privilege to serve with you over the last five and a half years.”
Mayor Pro Temp Andy Shaffer told Nielsen, “You’ve done a great justice to the Town of Rangely and this council.” Nielsen left his position with a round of applause.
Councilman Andy Key nominated Ann Brady for the mayoral seat. Brady was unanimously elected. Nielsen’s term would have expired in March at which time the seat will be open for election.
The council will seek to appoint a new council member in the coming weeks. Letters of interest should be sent to Town Clerk Lisa Piering. The council will conduct interviews and make a decision in January.
The town is preparing to undertake major utility work in the Tanglewood subdivision, saying that it is “critical infrastructure in need of replacement.” According to a grant request in the amount of $225,000 to the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, “the water and gas lines are original, installed in the early 1980s. The waterline is ductile iron and there have been numerous leaks, especially when the town flushes water lines. Due to proximity to the river, the soil can become saturated, and there has been significant heaving and settling. Sidewalks, driveways and asphalt surface are in poor condition. The street is in poor condition, and there have been multiple water main leaks requiring emergency response in the area in the last few years. The gas lines are an older plastic material which degrades over time, and we have experienced gas leaks there as well. It is time to replace aging infrastructure on Tanglewood Street before significant damage requiring greater capital expenditure occurs.” The total project is expected to cost from $449,705 to $656,433. The work is expected to begin in the spring.
In the 2018 budget, the town anticipates revenues of $3,051,229 and expenditures of $2,992,681 in the general fund, revenues of $858,750 and expenditures of $936,997 in the water fund, revenues of $1,327,553 and expenditures of $1,259,047 in the gas fund, revenues of $537,227 and expenditures of $627,512 in the wastewater fund, revenues of $228,120 and expenditures of $67,800 in the RDA fund, and revenues of $45,200 and expenditures of $43,000 in the RDC fund.
Councilman Andy Key was the only “nay” vote on the budget. When asked later about his vote Key cited deficit spending concerns saying, “As an elected official it is our duty to take no more than is needed and I definitely don’t think we should spend more than we take.” The budget can be viewed in its entirety on the town’s website.
Key brought up concerns that in a previous meeting the council had approved $1,500 additional funding to the recreation district for Christmas lights on Stanolind Ave., however the lights were not put up. Several other members of the council thought it was general donation and not specifically designated. The town clerk will research the record of the meeting and inform the council.
Town Manager Peter Brixius updated the council on an improved sales tax report. According to Brixius the second half of 2017 was good news. So far this year the town has received $724,000. Additionally, the Shop and Dine saw approximately $8,000 spent locally. Brixius informed the council that the town may need to conduct an updated blight study in order to continue to move forward with the RDA. Brixius said he attended a meeting at the White River BLM Field Office regarding the travel management plan which is currently under review. Brixius encouraged council members to participate in the Wagon Wheel OHV system public comment period.
Jeff LeBleu provided the supervisor report for the public works department. The department is working on utilities locations which are being conducted for the fiber optic line installations, curb repairs and street sign replacements.
Kelli Neiberger of the gas department said that the department is switching Christmas lights to the more durable LED lights and working on building inspections.
The 2018 mill levy was quickly certified. The levy totals $167,146.30.
Prior to the regular meeting the council held a Foundation for Public Giving meeting. The Rangely Elks Club had requested funding assistance for their Christmas basket and children’s party. Each year the Elks give a gift card good for use at either Family Dollar or White River Grocery to families in need in both Rangely and Dinosaur. This year they expect to provide the gift cards to 60-70 families. Councilwoman Ann Brady expressed concerns about Rangely Public Giving funds going to families in Dinosaur and requested that the Elks reach out to Moffat County and the town of Dinosaur for additional funds. “Rangely has to come first,” she said. Brady expressed frustration with what she described as Moffat County’s unwillingness to serve Dinosaur. The council voted to provide $1,500 (the same amount as was given in 2016) for the program.