Commissioners close county offices in response to stay at home order

Critical departments remain operational

RBC Commissioners Jeff Rector and Gary Moyer
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RBC | After Colorado Governor Jared Polis issued statewide stay at home orders Wednesday, Rio Blanco County Commissioners called for an emergency meeting in executive session early Thursday to determine the county’s response.

County Attorney Todd Starr notified the Herald Times of the meeting by phone late Wednesday. The previous week, at the regular meeting in Rangely, the board passed a resolution establishing a procedure for calling emergency meetings without providing the required 24-hours public notice. Because executive sessions are not open to the public, obtaining details from the meeting requires a Colorado Open Records Act request for the electronic recording. 

On Friday, the county posted a three-minute video to its website and social media channels outlining the board’s response to the state order. 

Commissioners Jeff Rector and Gary Moyer, by video, stated in part, “in response to the governor’s stay at home order on March 25, coupled with the recommendations from Rio Blanco County Public Health Director, county officials decided to close Rio Blanco County offices effective Friday, March 27 through April 11,” sending most county employees home and noting that the closure dates may change depending on the governor’s orders. 

Commissioner Si Woodruff was “heeding the national health and safety message by staying at home and practicing social distancing,” according to the video description on YouTube. 

Departments critical to the county’s functions — law enforcement, human services and public health — will continue operations while taking necessary health and safety precautions. Some critical departments will operate in an on-call capacity: IT, budget, finance and landfill operations will continue as normal.

An incident command team has been set up by the county’s emergency management department and public health. 

The goal, Moyer said, is to “come through this when it’s all said and done and say we really didn’t need to do that. That would be the best-case scenario. We are at risk, we don’t live in a bubble even though we are pretty isolated. We’ve got a high level of vulnerable demographics within our county and we’re trying to be responsible,” Moyer said in closing.

Details of the closures are as provided here:

Law Enforcement, Public Health, Human Services, Emergency Management, Public Health, Landfill, Airports are all considered critical functions.

IT, R&B, Custodial, Building/Maintenance, Payroll/Finance/Treasury, Communications, Attorney, HR, Building Dept, Economic Development/Public Relations are considered reduced or internal critical functions.

Clerk and Recorder– The offices in Meeker and Rangely are closed to the public, but are responding to messages, mail and email daily and handling Department of Motor Vehicle needs that way. Call 878-9460 in Meeker, 878-9465 in Rangely and leave a message or email boots.campbell@rbc.us

Treasurer’s Office– Still accepting mail payments: PO Box G, Meeker, CO 81641 Email: treasurer@rbc.us.

Budget/Finance– Still completing payroll, AP and other monthly duties. Email janae.stanworth@rbc.us

Communications– Remote working and available. 970-878-9546.

Department of Human Services– Closed to the public, but staff continues to process applications for benefits, respond to reports of child and adult abuse and neglect. For questions, call 878-9640. DHS staff will return calls as soon as possible. To apply for benefits online, to add to or make changes to your account, or for questions about assistance programs log into https://coloradopeak.secure.force.com. Health benefit updates are at https://healthfirstcolorado.com/covid, and to check on unemployment claims visit https://www.colorado/gov/

To report suspected child or adult abuse or neglect please call 1-800-264-5437.

White River Roundup WRR continues to provide lunch to those aging adults, age 60 or older. Both Radino and Chuckwagon are providing home-delivered meals Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. To reserve a lunch, please call and leave a message before 8 a.m. Radino: 970-878-9638, Chuckwagon: 970-878-5627.

Road and Bridge: Offices are closed to the public, will continue to provide critical road care such as snow removal and emergency work. If you need to report a road emergency, please call the Sheriff’s Office at 970-878-9600. Wray Gulch Landfill will remain open from 8 am to 4:30 p.m., however, please call before you go in case of closures due to high winds. 878-9591

Assessor– Closed to the public. The Assessor will be checking email and phone messages periodically and will respond. If any company wishes to file their personal property, oil and gas, coal, or gravel declaration via email, please send it to: renae.neilson@rbc.us

Economic Development/Public Relations– Business as usual, remote working when possible. 970-878-9582, email makala.barton@rbc.us

Building Department- Open for inspections only. 970-878-9450