County Beat: Feb. 21, 2019

RBC | At the Board of County Commissioners’ work session Tuesday in Rangely, Commissioner Gary Moyer presented a mission or vision statement to be sent to all the county department heads and shared with staff. The  mission statement reads, “To provide services in a fair, respectful and professional manner consistent with the custome and culture of the citizens of Rio Blanco County.” Moyer stated the county government should have a good feel for what the citizens want, adding that the county’s residents are “customers” for the county government. Woodruff said he would like to “think about it,” before making a decision but the commissioners went ahead and approved the mission statement during the regular meeting.

Communications

Cody Crooks, communications department director, says he has had zero negative feedback from landowners and BLM so far regarding the broadband project. Two of the landowners are totally on board and the county attorney spoke to them about compensation at the landowner meeting in Meeker Tuesday. Moyer said he wants to discuss the land access and wants every landowner to get paid equally. The access easements to be discussed at the meeting Tuesday include possibly paying $2,500 for access-only easements and $5,000 for access easements plus a tower on the property. Crooks said that those figures are half of what he had budgeted. Teltech Communications in Grand Junction will have a full itemized quote and Crooks will be able to take photos by next week of the actual mobile towers. The easements are not one-time use.

The easements are broad so that equipment can be added to the towers as needed. Each tower can serve about 100 people on wireless. Crooks and Woodruff said Bill Levy had offered to front $500,000 towards the broadband project. Once the easements are locked down Crooks can place the order for the towers and equipment. He has budgeted for 40-foot towers across the board. DOLA will match a 50/50 split. The useful life of the towers is 20-40 years. Commissioner Jeff Rector stated the need to “emphasize for the meeting tonight that this is for the community and we need a verbal agreeance tonight.” All commissioners agreed that a verbal agreeance before the landowners leave the meeting would be helpful to get the tower and equipment orders started. Crooks also stated that T-Mobile is very interested in Rio Blanco County and would like to provide coverage to 93 percent of the county.

Columbine Park

Kerri Knight addressed issues at Columbine Park, which has been determined to be within the Town of Rangely by County Surveyor Leif Joy. She said the board is starting over. The advisory board was tasked with forming policies and procedures by the county commissioners. They adopted some of the policies and procedures from Douglas County Fairgrounds and added Columbine Park specific procedures. The board would like the temporary turnout pens to become permanent turnout pens. Approval from the board will be needed if people want to build their own temporary pens. A new boarding rental agreement may be needed or the current one changed and improved. Moyer said the goal should be that the county is covered legally. CNCC collects stall fees and sends it to the county, however events are not charged and livestock (roping and rough stock) are not charged to be there currently. Finance Director Janae Stansworth and County Attorney Todd Starr recommended using the same fees, policies and procedures that the Meeker Fairgrounds uses. The commissioners thanked Knight and offered to take the responsibility of writing the policies and procedures so that they are in line with those of the Meeker Fairgrounds.

Budget and Finance

Stansworth reported Rangely Fire Chief and Town Mayor Andy Shaffer had asked to use the money awarded to them for radios. The commissioners did not see any problems with that. The $10,000 requested for The TANK has been declined because of budget cuts. Jeremy McAlister from the Meeker Airport asked if the county budgeted anything for the drainage proposal. It was determined that $120,000 had been budgeted. Rangely Airport entitlement project funds end this year. Culvert repair is needed and can be reimbursed from the FAA. Stansworth thinks that extra money from the Meeker project could be used in Rangely to ensure that the project gets completed and the FAA reimbursement is not missed.

Eric Jaquez with the Fairfield Center remodel may be asking for more funds to finish the project design on the building. Rector says he wants to visit with Jaquez to see if he has turned in his DOLA information so that they can pick up 50 percent of the cost.

CSU Extension is still under investigation. Carla Farrand, interim extension agent, has asked if the commissioners would like to advertise for the agent position. Stansworth is working with the IRS for the scholarship fund and the livestock sale committee to retrieve EIN numbers, thus far they have not worked with her. The commissioners determined that the process of hiring an agent should be started because it takes six months to a year to fill the position.

Food Resource Panty

Konnie Billgren and Tammy Dorris requested funds for their $300 per month rent for the Rangely Community Resource Pantry.  They reported that there are 64 family units who have used the pantry so far. They provide hygiene and cleaning supplies and clothing for job interviews (dressed for success program). Additionally they offer meal recipes, teach clients how to clean their home, they give mothers, veterans, and the elderly resources for additional services within our community. The Town of Rangely has currently not helped with funding. Chevron USA provides $5,000 every year for food and supplies. Rector said he wanted to speak with Barbara Bofinger at the Department of Human Services to possibly help with funding the request.

Bid Awards

Rio Blanco County Fleet Manager David Overton was present to go over the bids to replace some of the aging  vehicles. The following bids were awarded: One midsized standard wheelbase, 4×4, 4-door SUV bid awarded to Northwest Auto in an amount not to exceed $28,454.44. A second midsized vehicle was awarded to Northwest Auto pending review of the procurement policy. Overton told the commissioners that the Walbridge Wing in Meeker was in need of a vehicle to take residents to appointments and said in the past that other entities had been allowed to buy the old fleet vehicles. All the commissioners were on board with this until County Attorney Todd Starr pointed out that the county should have a procurement policy and that a decision should not be made until it is reviewed. Two full-size crew cab 3/4 ton, 4×4 shortbed pickups for use as sheriff’s office patrol vehicles was awarded to Northwest Auto in an amount not to exceed $30,315 each. Two full-size crew cab, 1/2 ton, 4×4 short bed pickup bids were awarded to Victory Motors of Craig, Colo., in an amount not to exceed $27,319 and $22,619. One 3/4 ton, 4×4 crew cab shortbed pickup was awarded to Northwest Auto in an amount not to exceed $26,793. Finally, two standard cab 3/4 ton, 4×4 pickups for road and bridge use was awarded to Cook Ford in Craig,  Colo., in an amount not to exceed $23,395 and $18,895.

The commissioners also approved an agreement for services with Therapy Solutions, Inc., to provide Domestic Violence Treatment Services to eligible children and their families, in an amount to to exceed $5,000.

Commissioner Updates

Commissioner Woodruff said he attended a wolf reintroduction meeting, the cattleman’s association has asked to meet with commissioners about contracts, and he wanted to recognize the Meeker Police Department for solving a hit and run that occurred to his vehicle.

Commissioner Moyer said along with working on the mission statement, he had a discussion with a member of the lodging tax board. “There is a need for us to step up and provide some structure as far as what they need to do to function as a tax-collecting entity,” Moyer said. When the board was created, no direction was given. Starr asked if the lodging tax funds are audited during the county’s audit. Stansworth said they are not, although the county can request the board’s financials for review. He also said the stockgrowers’ group have expressed some concerns specific to the OHV trails and use and would like to meet with the commissioners.

Commissioner Rector said he attended the state hospital board meeting in Denver and attended a Colorado Counties Inc., legislative workshop where they spent time reviewing the proposed red flag bill and hospital bill.

The next meeting for the commissioners is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 25 at the courthouse in Meeker.

By ROXIE FROMANG | Special to the Herald Times