Commissioners address assessor’s budget concerns

RBC | The Rio Blanco County Commissioners met in Rangely on Tuesday for a speedy regular meeting, lasting less than five minutes, followed by a work session about code violations and budget concerns.
Without discussion the commissioners unanimously approved a Grant Agreement between the County and the State for the Rio Blanco County Department of Public Health and Environment to increase tobacco cessation and education programs in a grant amount of $35,996. The funds come in part from the state tobacco tax and applies to education regarding marijuana and vape usage in addition to tobacco.
Commissioner Jeff Rector updated the board on his activities of the previous week saying he spent every day last week in Meeker. Rector is also working on funding for predator control.
Commissioner Si Woodruff said he met recently with the county Woolgrowers Association and Commissioner Shawn Bolton said he is working on a variety of subjects with county staff.
The regular meeting was followed by a work session where the commissioners discussed potential code violations with County Inspector Jeff Kummer. The majority of violations discussed were reported by neighbors. In the last few months the county has had a renewed interest in pursuing code violations and “cleaning up some things,” according to Kummer.
The commissioners discussed the budget with County Assessor Renae Neilson who was concerned that the 2018 budget for the assessor’s office does not include an increase for employee salaries. Neilson also said she had been planning to hire additional help for “field work” in the summer months and that the final budget included $2,500 less than what she had requested. “I was really upset. I left that budget hearing thinking my employees were going to get that money,” she said. “You guys should’ve come to me. I cut deep and now we’ve got another position [advertised] starting at the same wage as my gal that’s been working more than a year and a half. I’m here for my employees,” Neilson said.
Commissioner Si Woodruff responded to Neilson’s concerns saying, “It’s an oversight. If we made a mistake I’m more than willing to fix it.” Woodruff added, “Hiring two new people because of Colorado Fiber Community was not something we wanted to do.” Commissioners Rector and Bolton echoed his sentiments. “We’ll make that right,” Rector said.