Commissioners approve amendment to building code


RBC | During work sessions Tuesday in Rangely, the Rio Blanco County Board of County Commissioners heard from County Project Coordinator Eric Jaquez about a request from the Rio Blanco County Fair Board regarding the installation of an overhead door at the Rio Blanco County Fairgrounds in Meeker prior to the county fair.

Jaquez expressed concerns over time constraints to finish the project before the county fair begins in approximately two weeks. 

“We are here to serve the public and the Rio Blanco County Fair serves more public than any other event in Rio Blanco County,” Commissioner Moyer stated.

“From my department’s perspective, there is no one facility that either benefits us or hurts us more than the other because if we fall down at Columbine that hurts us in Rangely and with the college. If we fall down at the Department of Human Services it hurts us with all of the public,” Jaquez replied, describing the other projects underway within his department. “The biggest issue is manpower and time, and we know that it will take twice as long as we think it will.”

The commissioners decided to let Jaquez seek out a private contractor to do the fabrication work and install the door at the fairgrounds. Woodruff asked that Road and Bridge be involved so that they could cut the asphalt and remove the damaged tin, and said, “Let’s get it done.”

Communications Director Cody Crooks met with the commissioners about several pressing issues regarding the county’s broadband project, the most important being news that the company contracted to do the tower engineering, Centerline Solutions, filed for bankruptcy on Friday, July 12.

This prompted the commissioners to call County Attorney Todd Starr. Starr determined are no preferential transfer issues and that one of Centerline’s engineers who is going out on his own may take on the county’s contract. Starr expects to hear back from that engineer in the next few days about whether or not he will allow the county to transfer the contract to him. 

Crooks spoke briefly about not being able to access the Monument Tower site yet, but despite this they still completed tower site surveys and pathway engineering last week. Crooks said it was very successful, adding that the engineer said “this department and GIS picked some fantastic locations.”  There were only a few towers that had to be moved around 100 feet and there will be a tree on BLM that will need the top trimmed in order to have a direct path to the tower. Crooks also reported that he met with Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) Area Wildlife Manager Bill deVergie about the Oak Ridge tower site access. CPW will not grant access to anyone between Dec. 1 and May 15.  Crooks’ concern is how to attend to that tower—which could serve up to 40 residential customers—if there is an emergency in that five-month time frame. Crooks and the commissioners decided to talk to landowners on the backside of the tower site and try to gain access that way should the need arise.

Department of Human Services Director Barb Bofinger gave the commissioners an update regarding her department. She said new hire Bobbie Fiscus from Rangely is starting her training as a case worker.  CSTAT data was still below benchmarks for the county but Bofinger said that all assessments have been closed on time and that they should start to see the numbers increase.  CSTAT will be going to an every other month reporting.  In the county child welfare referral numbers are down but assessments are up.  Currently there are 11 court cases, two finalized adoptions in July and one adoption set for July 23. Adult protection referrals are up and the department received three on July 15 alone. There was only one adult protective services case open prior to these referrals. New applications for assistance benefits such as food assistance and medical are up in the county. Three new long term care applications were received by the department. 

Bofinger said the state audited the Employment First program which is currently managed by the state on behalf of Rio Blanco County. She fears that they may want the county to take the program over in the future and will keep the commissioners abreast of that situation. 

Front desk contacts are increasing in regards to public health but Bofinger said that it is understandable with Public Health Nurse Alice Harvey in Meeker two days and Rangely two days each week. 

White River Roundup has had fluctuating numbers but there has been a slight increase in the homebound meals.

In the regular meeting, the commissioners:

Approved a letter from the board to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in support of the Jordan Cove Energy Project and Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline.

Commissioners moved to open a full-time administrative assistant position.

Opened bids for the RBC 5 Stock Pass 5 Replacement Project to be reviewed and awarded at the next board meeting.

Approved agreements with the Department of Human Services to provide mental health services to eligible youth and families; the Area Agency on Aging for the White River Roundup Program.

Approved Resolution 2019-14, amending the county’s building code to “recognize the important of private property rights.”

The amendment states: “For structures that are not primary residences, the building code provisions shall not be applicable;” and “Owner’s [sic] have the option of contracting with certain Private Inspectors approved by Rio Blanco County, versus being mandated to use the County Building Official for inspections.”

“Work exempt from permit” now includes new structures that are not or will not be used as primary residences, as well as all building upgrades to existing structures. The resolution, in its entirety, is available above.

Each commissioner gave an update on business they had attended to over the past week. 

Commissioner Moyer attended the State Historical Preservation Fund seminar to find out what kind of grants were available and learned their funding comes from gaming at Black Hawk/Central City/Cripple Creek. He was interested in promoting Rio Blanco County’s Native American history with grant funds, but the grants are to be used for buildings and education only. He is still looking into it as a possibility. 

Moyer traveled to Las Vegas, Nevada, to attend the National Association of Counties annual meeting and represented the three resolutions Commissioner Rector had sponsored. All three were approved and were also the only resolutions from Colorado.  While in Las Vegas, Moyer also attended the Colorado Caucus and the Army Corps of Engineers meeting. 

Commissioner Woodruff attended the Basin Round Table meeting in Craig last Wednesday. He stopped by town hall, road and bridge and worked with the fair board in their request for the garage door. He also attended a sportsmen’s meeting for Big Game Forever; they went over subjects such as reintroduction of wolves and a proposed mountain lion management plan in populated areas. After talking with several different people Woodruff said that real estate is moving in Craig and Meeker and that Rangely is seeing an increase in construction. 

Commissioner Rector lost his mother and was helping with her final wishes last week. He thanked the community for everything, Moyer for attending the meeting in Las Vegas on his behalf and .the HT for honoring his mother’s life in the paper. The Rio Blanco County Board of County Commissioners meeting was adjourned at 11:49 a.m.

By ROXIE FROMANG | Special to the Herald Times