Rangely town meeting heated over subdivision road

RANGELY I The Rangely Town Council met Jan. 13 for a busy and occasionally heated meeting. The council discussed topics including a possible new biomass disposal facility, grant updates and the West Rangely Subdivision project.

Immediately following adjournment, West Rangely Subdivision owner Tracy Hayes brought up concerns regarding the subdivision’s road ownership and maintenance responsibilities. Hayes was concerned that it hadn’t been discussed during the meeting and expressed frustration about having to wait for another meeting for a decision to be made.
Hayes wanted to know why the town had declined to take over maintenance of the road, which she claims should not be a problem for any trained maintainer.
The town informed her that the road was not built to town specifications—something she had agreed to do—and therefore the town was not going to provide maintenance and would be rededicating the road to the subdivision.
Hayes and a few other meeting attendees, including potential subdivision lot buyers, were upset that the town had made the decision to abandon the road. One attendee told the council that the town was putting up roadblocks and stifling business in the community.
Hayes, who seemed primarily concerned with the idea that the town would still benefit monetarily from the development of the subdivision through taxes and fees, was upset that despite increased revenue from the development the town would still not maintain the road.
In a heated moment, Hayes told the council, “This has not been an honest project,” to which council member Lisa Hatch responded, “There has been no honesty on both sides; you didn’t follow the agreement.”
During the discussion, two town board members left the room after confirming the meeting had been adjourned. Hayes ended the discussion, telling the council that the town had “better start taking care of people who want to sink money in the community.”
Much of the meeting was spent discussing a new potential biomass dump site for the town.
The town is currently considering purchasing BLM land to use for a new burn site. Until the town is able to purchase land they will continue to use the Rangely Camper Park as a collection site and will have approximately four dumps for the material, including trees, brush and other biomass. The material will then be sized with small pieces burned locally and large pieces taken to the county site in Gray Gulch.
Residents may remember that the town had a similar program several years ago. However, according to Town Manager Peter Brixius, it had to be shut down.
“The site was used for burning after separation of the materials into either mulch piles, disposal piles or burn piles,” he said. “We continually had issues related to burning and its potential irritant effect on local residents.
“We could not afford to haul all of this material to the county landfill, so we closed temporarily until a solution could be found,” he said. “The site was opened four or five years ago to help avert dumping on the BLM and I think it served its purpose well and will again, once we work out the logistics.”
Along similar lines, the council also discussed potential changes to the tire disposal program.
Currently, the town gives residents vouchers that allow them to dispose of four tires per year for free. However, few people take advantage of the offer.
Several ideas to encourage proper tire disposal were heard at the meeting, including reducing the fee from $6 to $3 per tire.
Council member Ann Brady suggested a different route. Brady felt the problem with the program is that people are either unwilling or unable to haul the tires to the disposal site themselves. She suggested the town find a way to coordinate with a hauler, giving people more options.
Brixius began his council update with the news that Rangely Public Utilities Supervisor Alden Vanden Brink has been selected to sit on the Colorado River District Board.
Council member Dan Eddy stated that it was a “tremendous appointment for our area.”
Brixius also informed the board that the New Year brings new grant application requirements and that the grants will now require higher matching funds from the town, as much as 50 percent. This change may force the town to cancel one of its major water line projects for 2015 in order to stay within budget.
The Rangely Town Council will meet again Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Town Hall.