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Eighteen million dollars doesn’t earn what it used to but according to Rio Blanco County commissioners and five local entities, it’s still important.
Many years ago Rio Blanco County Commissioners placed $18 million of federal money from the impacts of oil shale development in the 1970s and 1980s into a trust fund and have used the interest generated from the fund to support local entities in the county.
“It’s a shame $18 million only generates $120,000 in interest but CCITF is now more important than ever, when everyone has a tight budget,” commission chairman Kai Turner said of the 2011 CCITF grant cycle. Turner said it wasn’t long ago that CCITF generated $1.5 million in interest for several years.
“We need to keep it intact (CCITF), but give all the grants we can with the interest and help where we can.”
Rio Blanco County commissioners approved five grants to entities in Meeker and Rangely, totaling $120,000, at their meeting Sept. 26.
The Town of Rangely received $40,000 for a waterline replacement project and the Town of Meeker was granted $25,000 for new radio equipment.
“Fantastic,” Rangely town manager Peter Brixius said after learning of the CCITF grant. “We’re thankful for the commissioners’ consideration of the waterline project, it has needed attention for some time and now we can address it.”
Brixius was working on the 2012 budget when he was informed of the CCITF grant and said it would be used to replace a waterline that crosses the west end of the county’s airport in the safety zone and serves more than 12 homes on the north side of the airport.
The Meeker School District received $31,200 for a bus replacement and Pioneers Medical Center was granted $12,200 for an infusion pump.
Colorado Northwestern Community College received a $11,600 grant for eight defibrillators to be placed in buildings on the Rangely Campus.
“There is life-saving value, having defibrillators in each of our buildings and people trained to use them,” CNCC president Russell George said. “We’re pleased we received the grant.”
In other news, commissioner Shawn Bolton continues to work on a comprehensive plan to develop Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) tourism in the county.
“It’s a huge industry now and it might turn out to be a good thing for the county,” Bolton said of OHV travel.
Bolton said it is a regional project, as the county is working with Moffat and Uintah counties, as well as the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and chambers of commerce.
“We will discuss a trail symbol, trail routes and come up with a consistent set of rules for OHV use in the towns of Meeker and Rangely and the county,” Bolton said. “It’s pretty involved to get off the ground but to date there are no OHV dedicated trails in the state.”
The first organizational meeting for an OHV club in Rio Blanco County will be held Oct. 19 at Kilowatt Korner in Meeker at 7 p.m.