County Beat: Jan. 17, 2019

RBC | Local Access Internet (LAI), one of the former service providers for county broadband, was the first topic of discussion at the workshops prior to the Jan. 14 commissioners’ meeting. Communications Director Cody Crooks asked the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) if they wanted to pursue the findings from the audit that was done on LAI last fall. County Attorney Kent Borchard explained that because LAI was set up as a limited liability company (LLC) the county could only go after the assets of the company to try and regain the $10,124 LAI owes to the county according to the audit results. Considering that plus the cost of the audit, it was advised that it would be “fruitless” at this point since LAI is now closed. Commissioner Rector stated that he would tend to agree and Commissioner Woodruff said he will support the decision but he doesn’t like it. Crooks went on to explain that at least from a networking aspect the new company, Visionary, seems very transparent.

Phone system transition

IT Director Dylon Merrill updated the BOCC on transitioning the county’s phone system from Fast Track and CenturyLink over to Digium, which will save them about $300 to $400 a month in long distance fees. They originally were not going to switch over so soon but there have been increasing issues with the phone system recently.

Historical Society update

Teresia Reed and Bob Amick from the Rio Blanco County Historical Society gave an annual report of their activities and involvement in the community last year. New staff members and new groups were created to further preserve the history of Rio Blanco County and an official gift shop has been added to the museum with official shirts and mugs available for purchase. Signs are currently being designed for the Milk Creek Battle Site and installation and xeriscaping will begin in the next few months. They are anticipating a dedication with the unveiling of the signs.

Economic Development Dept.

Economic Development Coordinator Katelin Cook updated the board on the International Sportsman’s Expo trade show in Denver. The letter to the Bureau of Land Management from the BOCC for the Internal Proposed RMPA-Travel Management Planning Process is complete and they discussed who the board wanted to send that to. A possible move of the Colorado Workforce Center’s Rangely office from CNCC into the COLO building, opposite the Rangely Area Chamber of Commerce, was discussed. Facilities Maintenance Director Eric Jaquez discussed the logistics of that move and how the building is already set up for the transition.

Fair Board approves bylaws

Fair Board Officers Alex Plumb, Quentin Smith, Karen Arnold and Ty Gates were in attendance to go through the final approval of the Fair Board bylaws with the county attorney and BOCC.

Predator control

Commissioner Si Woodruff updated the board on the Woolgrowers organization approving 55 hours of flight time for Rio Blanco county ranchers to use at a discounted rate for predator control. The billing would be done by Wildlife Services and the county would act as a funding pass through.

Public Health Dept. goals

Public Health Director Julie Drake shared ideas on how to run the Board of Health meetings within the required statutes and with examples of what other counties are doing. She also shared some goals she’s set for the year such as exploring the cost and benefit of privatizing some programs or using contractors. She said she feels like some of the programs would be better served in the nonprofit or private sector rather than a government entity. Other goals included improving budget transparency; attending more hospital board meetings; understanding more about the environmental impact on health of living in a predominantly agricultural-based community; and researching creative health insurance options or ideas in partnership with the county for these ranchers and self-employed individuals who have extremely high deductibles.

Other business

The regular BOCC meeting followed the workshops. The BOCC appointed Commissioner Jeff Rector as the Board Chair, Commissioner Si Woodruff as the Chair Pro–Tem, Woodruff as the e911 board member, Rector and Commissioner Gary Moyer as the representative and alternate,  respectively, to the AGNC board for 2019, and appointment of Rector as the County Investment Policy Committee member.

  • Denied appointment of Kent A. Borchard as the county attorney; approved County Finance Director Janae Stanworth, County Road and Bridge Director Dave Morlan and County Director of Human Services Barbara Bofinger. Appointed Woodruff as the representative to the Northwest Transportation Planning Commission, the appointment of Laura Smith as the county representative to the County Health Pool Designated to Receive Billings and General Correspondence. And approved the appointment of Rector as the Northwest Workforce Representative.
  • Final contractor settlements that were approved were Schofield Excavation Inc., for the 2018 Bachmann Pit Crushing Project, in an amount not to exceed $11,706 and Moody Construction and Sons, Inc., for the 2018 Wray Gulch Landfill Cell A Construction Project, in an amount not to exceed $11,653.
  • Bids were opened for the preparation of a local hazard mitigation plan with eight proposals from various contractors. Emergency Management Coordinator Ty Gates will review each bid and get back to the board with recommendations at the Jan. 22 meeting in Rangely. Bids were also opened for the Rio Blanco County Broadband Marketing Project and Outdoor Recreation Entrepreneur Center Business Incubator Feasibility Study with six bids between the both of those. Economic Development Coordinator Kaitlin Cook will review those bids and get back to the BOCC with her recommendations as well.
  • A motion was made to award the 2019 Rio Blanco County Columbine Park Exercise Pens Project to Ulrich Barns of California Inc., in an amount not to exceed $14,130.
  • Under MOU’s, Contracts and Agreements it was approved between the BOCC and the Rangely Junior College District for the purchase of a Kubota RTV-1100C, in an amount not to exceed $15,000. Approved between the BOCC and the Rangely Cemetery District for the purchase of a dump truck, in an amount not to exceed $41,035.00. Approved between the BOCC and the Rangely Rural Fire Protection District for the purchase of Wildland Brush trucks, in an amount not to exceed $30,000. Approved between the BOCC and the Rangely School District for the purchase of a school bus, in an amount not to exceed $64,000. Approved between the BOCC and the Rio Blanco Water Conservancy District for the water storage project (Wolf Creek), in an amount not to exceed $50,000. During the public comment period of this motion landowner Craig MacNab asked the board to delay their decision until the Division of Water Engineers says this project has met the burden of proof that it will be a beneficial use. His main argument was that project seems to be putting the cart before the horse and we should know more before we invest another $50,000 on top of the nearly $1 million already spent. The motion passed unanimously.
  • Approved an agreement for services between the BOCC and Melanie Hendershott, MS, RD, CSO, to provide dietetic services for the White River Roundup Senior Nutrition Program in an amount not to exceed $3,500. Approved an agreement between the BOCC and Ulrich Barns of California Inc. for the 2019 Rio Blanco County Columbine Park Exercise Pens Project in an amount not to exceed $14,130. Approved an agreement for receipt of Court Security Grant Funds between the BOCC and the Colorado Judicial Department in a grant amount not to exceed $10,426. Sheriff Anthony Mazzola addressed the BOCC and thanked them for approving this and explained that it was to pay for personnel to run court security and that retirees and former law enforcement officers Rob Baughman and Mike Washburn would be coming on board to do so.

Capping off the meeting was the approval of Resolution No. 2019-01, a Resolution of the BOCC designating banks as depositories of Rio Blanco County Funds. Approval of Resolution No. 2019-02, a Resolution of the BOCC designating the Rio Blanco Herald Times as the Official Newspaper for County Publications as Required by Law and approval of Resolution No. 2019-03, a Resolution of the BOCC establishing County Administration Office Hours for 2019.

By EMMA VAUGHN | emma@ht1885.com