County Beat: Busy meeting for BoCC

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Commissioners heard from Rod Fisher of PacifiCorp power company regarding the construction of the Energy Gateway Transmission Expansion which will involve a power transmission line that will cut through part of western Rio Blanco County.
The project involves 2,000 miles of power transmission lines. The company hopes to have it completed by 2023.

The majority of the power will be generated in Wyoming, largely from renewable energy sources like wind and solar, Fisher said. The new wind and solar projects are benefitted by federal tax credits for renewable projects, and production tax credits that are still available, which enables the company to keep prices “very low and fair for consumers.”
County Planner Leif Joy asked if PacifiCorps had investigated producing electricity through natural gas combustion. Fisher said they have “quite a bit of natural gas fire generation on our system today” and don’t plan any new projects until 2028, coinciding with the coal unit shutdown in Wyoming.
“In our long-range plan, you do need some baseload resources,” Fisher said. Solar projects with battery storage are also in the company’s long-range plan.
During the regular meeting Tuesday at the courthouse, commissioners:
Reappointed Sandra Besseghini and Brian Conrado to the Historic Preservation Board with terms ending in 2023.
Approved a retail liquor license for Seven Lakes Lodge.
Approved a letter to Strata Networks requesting the return of $434,310 in prepaid services. “Now that we have broadband, no one is using these services,” said Finance Director Janae Stanworth.
Approved an amendment to the Area Agency on Aging (AAA) grant award. The amount the county receives for AAA is increasing from approximately $63,562 to $88,198. The grant comes from the State of Colorado authorized by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to assist communities providing meals for older adults.
Approved engaging Certified Public Accountant Paul Miller to prepare a solid waste disposal report to fulfill state health department regulations.
Approved a waiver for CKC Asphalt of Altamont, Utah regarding the 80% Colorado labor requirement. CKC was awarded the county’s 2020 crackfill project.
Signed a letter in support of the Rangely Area Chamber of Commerce becoming a candidate community for Colorado Main Street Program.
Approved a letter in support of limited 4-H activities planned after May 15, including the weigh-in, tag-in day.
Approved a letter in support of the Pioneers Healthcare Foundation’s application for Enterprise Zone Entity status which will enable the organization to apply for additional funding.
Approved a request for federal assistance for the Rangely Airport Drainage improvements project. Stanworth said after the first application was submitted, the FAA “came back and said they want to broaden that grant.” The initial application was for design, the new application includes design and construction and the draining project.
Modified a contract with GMCO for dust control, reverting to the use of magnesium chloride and extending the time frame. “Even though we’d like to try some new options, the price [of the other chemical] was higher,” said Road and Bridge Director Dave Morlan.
Entered into an agreement with Dr. Abigail Urish to provide physician consultation and guidance in directing the family planning program for the county’s public health department.
Approved a cooperative forest road agreement with the USDA Forest Service for certain forest roads. The agreement is effective for five years.
Renewed ambulance service licenses for the Meeker and Rangely ambulances.
Approved a contract modification with the U.S. Forest Service for widening part of CR 17 (NFR 245.1). The Forest Service will reimburse the county for doing the work, in the amount of $20,740.

Road and Bridge Update
Morlan said the landfill has been “way busier than normal.” People are using their landfill coupons, and “we’re seeing people we’ve never seen before.”
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By NIKI TURNER | editor@ht1885.com

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