County Beat: April 16, 2020

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RBC | The Rio Blanco County Board of Commissioners held its regular meeting Tuesday, with most participants attending by telephone and those physically present practicing social distancing.

In regular business, the board approved a $25,000 request for federal assistance for the Rangely Airport Drainage Improvements project. According to Finance Director Janae Stanworth, the assistance program is now 100% funded, no longer requiring a 5% county match.

The board also approved a “letter of neutrality” to be sent to the executive director of Great Outdoors Colorado, Chris Castilian, deferring its position on the transfer of a portion of Buffalo Horn Ranch to a conservation easement to the property owner. The letter states the 4,296 acres requested for the conservation easement is “uniquely qualified” for such an easement.

Bids for dust control and crackfill projects were opened and read. The county is going to try a more expensive oil-based product for dust control, as opposed to magnesium chloride.

Contracts with three local restaurants for the county’s workforce program were signed. The program, intended to provide workers with temporary jobs after restaurants were ordered to close, had to cease operations when the governor issued the stay at home order.

An easement agreement approved between the county and K.C. and James Burke will allow the county to construct and maintain another secondary broadband tower site in the lower Piceance Basin.

Approved a comment letter to the BLM in support of a competitive lease sale of 120 acres in Rio Blanco County.

Approved a joint comment letter with Garfield, Jackson and Moffat counties on the BLM’s proposed new categorical exclusion in a plan to implement pinyon pine and juniper tree removal to restore habitat mosaics for mule deer and sage grouse. Similar action was taken in Nevada and California, according to Vicky Edwards, and sage grouse were removed from the endangered list . “We’re hoping for similar action,” she said, “Since their data is still faulty.”

Road and Bridge Director Dave Morlan, by telephone, said the Road and Bridge Department is dealing with sinkholes, checking roads every other day for rocks, and patching potholes on CR 8.

By Niki Turner |