County Beat: board interviews, rubbish & junk, Crystal Creek Ranch & other business

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RBC | The BOCC began Tuesday’s business by interviewing Meeker resident Diane Mobley for the Board of Health. Commissioners Rector and Moyer asked one question each, both relating to the board’s opposition to state health mandates.

“Through this COVID program over the last year, how do you feel from a state level to a local level, how do you feel that should be handled?” Rector said. Moyer also asked Mobley whether she felt the board was “on solid ground,” in opposing state mandates, citing their desire to protect individual rights.

“I believe you’ve all done very well and Mrs. Harvey has done well in trying to keep abreast of everything the state is dishing out,” Mobley said, noting that she “felt sorry” for high-risk individuals. Commissioners recently interviewed Meeker residents Jeffrey Prystupa and Dr. Bob Dorsett for the board of health. Prystupa was appointed to the board. Dr. Dorsett was not.

Commissioners also interviewed Ellen Conrado for the Meeker Regional Library Board. Rector commented about the library’s “sizable fund balance,” noting concern over future revenue impacts to the county. Referencing the same fund balance, Moyer asked Conrado how she’d feel about the libraries allocating some of their budget to “help the schools purchase learning materials” which Conrado said she’d be in favor of.

Commissioners will approve or deny board appointments at a future meeting.

CONSTITUTIONAL RESOLUTIONS

The board revisited a discussion about two “constitutional” resolutions, one declaring RBC as a “constitutional sanctuary” and another opposing any state actions that “violate constitutional rights” of RBC residents.Both resolutions in question were passed by the Town of Rangely Board of Trustees last week.

County Attorney Don Steerman expressed general concern over the broadness of the “constitutional sanctuary” resolution. “I always think that these are a little bit better [if] they’re focused on specific issues and how you want to deal with them,” said Steerman. He also called the resolutions “symbolic,” and said “they have very little teeth,” but left the decision to adopt either one up to the board.

Steerman said he didn’t think adopting the resolutions would result in negative consequences for the county, but noted certain “blanket” statements could potentially impact state or federal level CARES act funding. “At some point they may say, the counties that don’t want to participate, we’re not going to give the funds to,” said Steerman.

He reiterated that he didn’t foresee any reaction from the state, since the resolutions don’t have teeth, and are merely “political statements.”

Commissioner Gates asked about where the Town of Meeker trustees stood on the issue. RBC paralegal Vicki Edwards said according to the town manager, Meeker Trustees were “pretty opposed” to the resolutions, but had yet to formally consider them.

The board will consider adopting the resolution during next week’s board meeting.

RUBBISH, JUNK, WEEDS AND TRASH

County Surveyor and Planner Leif Joy Asked the board whether he should enforce article Article 15 of the county’s land use regulations, which specifies general rules “providing for and compelling the removal of rubbish, junk, weeds and brush.”

Referencing a recent complaint, Joy asked the board if he should enforce the regulation, which would next involve sending a notice of violation to the resident in question. Rector said he didn’t want another “policing agency” for rubbish, brush and weeds, but admitted the county probably needed to be able to address some complaints. Moyer said his biggest concern was that the regulation could open the door for feuds between neighbors, and said any particular situation would need to be “pretty egregious” for the county to take action. The board agreed to consider any future complaints “at a workshop level,” with parties involved.

CRYSTAL CREEK RANCH SALE

After a previous decision to sign a letter opposing the sale of the Seely family’s Crystal Creek Ranch to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the board voted 2-1 Tuesday to revise their letter to adopt a position of neutrality. Commissioners Rector and Gates voted in favor of the change, Moyer voted against. Rector emphasized that despite his vote, he strongly opposes any increase to the amount of publicly owned land in Rio Blanco County.

OTHER BUSINESS

During regular business the board signed letters:

  • strongly opposing the appointment of James Jay Tutchton to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission (Tutchton was appointed in 2020 for a four-year term.)
  • opposing Senate Bill 21-072
  • supporting the White River Aspen Management Project
  • supporting the City of Steamboat Springs’ grant application for the Covid-19 Regional Resiliency and Recovery Roadmap process

The board also approved various items, including:

  • CARES Act closeout report for a $40,000 grant that was split 50/50 between the Meeker and Rangely Airports
  • request for reimbursement from FAA and CDOT for a Coulter Airport related grant
  • bid award to Volvo of Denver/WO for 6X4 truck, increasing the amount to $129,638.69
  • bid award to Patriot Petroleum Solutions for $19,890.98 for the 2021 Fleet Fueling Dispensers Replacement Project
  • bid award to Sydell, Inc for $30,331.58, for the 2021 RBC Fairgrounds Hog Panels Project

The board also denied a resident’s request to stay on the county’s wireless system, noting that they couldn’t offer preferential treatment to any broadband customers.

PUBLIC COMMENT

During public comment, Rangely residents Elaine Urie and Dan Eddy spoke in favor of proposed “constitutional resolutions,” and encouraged the board to adopt them without “watering them down.” Eddy also promoted an upcoming public forum in Meeker April 27 at the RBC fairgrounds.

Former RBC attorney Todd Starr, who is still serving as the county’s primary litigation council, also called in to make a public statement regarding his resignation. Starr asserted that leaving the position was his own choice and had to do with a desire to “sleep in his own bed” instead of having to live in more than one place. Starr said despite rumors, he was not fired from the position.


By LUCAS TURNER | lucas@ht1885.com

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