Commissioners hear solar array proposal from Spectra Solar

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RBC I Solar power could be available for county buildings, if the commissioners decide to move forward on a proposal heard Tuesday. James Talley from Spectra Solar LLC, a Georgia-based company, presented information to the board in a work session. Talley said he had been working with Commissioner Jeff Rector.

Spectra puts together renewable energy systems “that make sense,” combining solar, battery storage and natural gas generation to meet an entity’s energy requirements. The goal proposes cost savings on utilities, which Talley said cost savings for the eight county-owned sites — four in Meeker and four in Rangely — that his firm reviewed were estimated at about $62,000 a year. 

According to Talley, the system would supply up to 60% of the power supply, with the remaining energy needs supplied through the local power companies. 

Commissioners asked whether Talley had been in contact with White River Electric Association and Moon Lake Electric Association, expressing some concern about how the proposal would affect the two member associations. 

In other work sessions, the commissioners discussed waiving the fee for disposal of a trailer for Paul Vinzant.

Meeker Police Chief Eddie Thompson presented a request for a sixth patrol vehicle. The town currently has five vehicles for six full-time officers and has been having trouble with reliability and repairs on existing patrol cars. 

Commissioner Gary Moyer said he did not believe the request met the definition of an emergency — or unforeseen — expense, such as the funding granted for the purchase of pesticides to address the Mormon cricket outbreak.

Commissioner Ty Gates said he did see the need for a sixth vehicle for the department as fitting the emergency funding requirements, and that he did not believe it would set a precedent. The request will be added to a future agenda for a decision.

Budget and Finance Director Janae Stanworth presented details about the proposed supplemental budget, which includes unanticipated revenue and unplanned expenses received so far this year. Details are in the resolution which was approved during the regular meeting Tuesday. You can view the resolution at https://www.theheraldtimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/RBC-Resolution-No.-2021-16.pdf.

Jason Anderson, working as an independent contractor for MindSprings, asked the board for feedback on what MindSprings can do to be more efficient and effective. Commissioner Gates said finding a bed for someone on a 72-hour M1 hold, and transporting patients, and ongoing treatment once patients are released, are ongoing concerns. County Attorney Don Steerman said he believes MindSprings would be a “good partner” for family services, and DHS Director Tia Murry told Anderson both Moffat and RBC are having trouble with a lack of local providers.

Rio Blanco Water Conservancy District Director Alden VandenBrink said the White River is finally being included in the Upper Colorado River Endangered Species Recovery Plan, which should be a benefit in water use planning in the future, as the plan includes development for agriculture, energy, and storage. 

VandenBrink said it “took a significant negotiation effort” to get the Wolf Creek storage project attached to the programmatic biological opinion. 

Regular Meeting

In response to a citizen’s request last week, commissioners approved a letter to the Clerk and Recorder requesting any Dominion election equipment or software upgrades be delayed “until sufficient information regarding the integrity and certification of this action are received.”

According to a memo sent last week from Judd Choate, Director of the Colorado Secretary of State’s elections division addressing “false assertions” concerning the voting system upgrade, the upgrade “follows both federal and state regulations.” 

Commissioners approved a “general release” to resolve “issues and claims” regarding an livestock accident at Columbine Park in which a horse was killed. The county agreed to pay $2,500.

A corrected agreement with Downstream Services for litigation support was approved, along with a letter of permission to the Town of Meeker granting the Lions Club permission to serve alcohol at the Meeker Mustang Makeover and Jammin’ Lamb. 

RBC Treasurer Rhonna Waldref asked the board for direction regarding real estate property tax liens. According to Waldref, the state statute has changed, allowing counties to put properties into a tax lien sale after three years. Currently there are 14 properties the county is “endorsing” that are over the three year limit, most of which are mineral rights related. 

The commissioners agreed that the properties should go up for sale in November. 

Honnen Equipment was awarded the bids for a backhoe and three loaders. After trade-in value are accounted for, the equipment will cost the county $56,600.

In other business, the board approved agreements with Comnet Wireless for colocation of services on the Little Beaver Tower, which is expected to take some of the demand off the Oak Ridge tower; Behavioral Health and Wellness to provide mental health services through DHS for eligible youth and families ($20,000); and the Rangely Junior College District for scheduling a coordinated election.

The board also approved a resolution approving the Rios single lot creation and rezoning to rural residential. The property is off Hwy. 13, and RBC Planner Leif Joy said the planning commission recommended approval.  


By NIKI TURNER – editor@ht1885.com