Commissioners express concern over management of Colorado River District

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RBC | The Rio Blanco County Commissioners spent their Monday meeting discussing the Colorado River District and approving a restructuring of the County Board of Health.
Commissioner Shawn Bolton recently met with members of the Colorado River District to discuss concerns about how the taxing entity is being run. The River District recently hired a new employee, Zane Kessler, which sparked regional concern. Several counties and entities including RBC and the Conservation District sent letters of resistance to the hiring of Kessler. According to Bolton there are also concerns being raised about the finances of the district, including discretionary funding and a $50,000 housing stipend for employees. Bolton said wages have increased 40 percent in last few years.
“Nobody knows what any of the engineers are working on,” he said. Bolton emphasized the importance of working with the district and maintaining a partnership. “There are just some questions that need to be answered,” he said.
Rio Blanco is the fifth largest funding contributor of the 15 participating counties. The River district receives almost $300,000 in annual tax revenue from RBC.
Bolton and other concerned commissioners will be meeting on Dec. 6 to discuss the situation.
The commissioners voted unanimously to add three additional members to the County Board of Health. The board, which is currently made up of the three county commissioners, typically only meets on rare occasions when there is a potential public health concern which may require county or state action. These members will be “technical or content experts” who will advise the commissioners but not have a vote. The county will begin advertising for those positions in the coming weeks.
The commissioners awarded bids for two new tractors at a cost of approximately $85,000 and a new lawnmower for $18,978.
In the consent agenda the commissioners approved a request for reimbursement from GDA Engineers, Flat Rock Construction, Inc. and the Craig Daily Press for the Meeker Airport Coulter Field Federal Grant. The total grant was $198,476.96. The Federal reimbursement requested amount is $177,592.46, the State reimbursement requested amount is $9,866.24 and the county’s requested amount is $11,018.26.
The commissioners quickly approved an agreement for services between the county, Colorado and Melanie Hendershott to provide dietetic services for the White River Roundup Senior Nutrition Program for 2018 for $3,000.
They also approved an agreement with Colorado and Dude Solutions Inc. to purchase Inventory Edge and Maintenance Edge Software for facility management integration at a cost of $2,300, as well as a license agreement with T-Mobile to install communications equipment on Steadman Mesa.
During commissioner updates Jeff Rector talked about a recent trip he took to Denver to tour co-working spaces, which he said he was impressed with and sees a potential for in Rio Blanco.
Si Woodruff said he’s been working on the asbestos and landfill project as well as attending AGNC meetings.
Shawn Bolton has been working on the Colorado Counties Incorporated Scholarship Auction and attended a petroleum and mining banquet where he said he was thanked for his work on the venting and flaring rules.