Commissioners support increasing cemetery board seats from three to five

RBC I In work sessions prior to the regular board meeting, commissioners discussed a plan for finding a substitute for building inspector LaDonna Carlson when she’s not available. The county has been advertising for the position. The board agreed to put together proposals comparing hiring a part-time employee and contracting the position. Carlson said most inspections take less than two hours, not including driving time.

The county is drafting a resolution turning plumbing inspection responsibilities over to the state. The state plumbing inspector lives in Rio Blanco County, Carlson said. “It’s kind of a bonus for us.”

Shane Pfeiffer with the White River Snowmobile Club asked the commissioners for a $2,500 donation from the economic development budget to subsidize a video production by Boondock Nation to promote the area’s snowmobiling locations and amenities for snowmobilers.

“Snowmobiling is something we have in our backyard already,” Pfeiffer said. “It’s not something we have to build.” The town of Meeker and the Meeker Lodging Tax board have already agreed to support the proposal.

The commissioners said they would make an official decision during the meeting next week in Rangely.

Jessica Valand, Northwest Workforce Area Director with the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, spoke to the board about the status of Rio Blanco County’s workforce.

The Workforce offices, which are funded by federal and state government, focus on ensuring job seekers have access to meaningful employment and making sure business has access to the talent they need.

Commissioner Jeff Rector said there are two bills in legislation that would help funnel some of the money in the state’s unemployment fund to Workforce.

Valand shared a demographic report for Rio Blanco County related to employment. Read the entire report here: Economy_Overview_Rio_Blanco_County_CO_12.26.19

Some of the highlights from the report include:

A self-sufficiency wage for a single adult with no dependents in Rio Blanco County is just $8.90 per hour (if health insurance is paid for). For an adult with an infant, a preschooler and a school-age child that hourly wage rises to $33 an hour.

  The number of jobs in RBC (3,214) has decreased by 198 during the last five years but is projected to grow by 89 jobs by 2025.

The median income in RBC is $4.5K below the national median

The majority of businesses in RBC have 1-4 employees; only three have more than 250 employees.

There are 589 companies employing RBC workers, and 262 establishments in operation.

The total working age population (everyone 16 and up) is 4,992.

Labor force participation (everyone over 16) in RBC is 58.3%, which is substantially lower than the state, at 69% and the nation at 63.3%. “That’s going to be something to think about. There are actually quite a few people who could be working,” Valand said.

Roughly ⅓ of residents “have eyes on retiring” in the next 10 years

There are 1,235 “millennials” in RBC

926 residents work outside the county

Construction and extraction are the top employers, followed by office and administrative work and transportation and material moving.

65% of RBC jobs don’t require more than a high school diploma.

Growth projections for labor are led by personal care and service jobs, building and grounds cleaning and maintenance, and healthcare practitioners.

Government jobs (including schools, college, federal, state and local) make up more than 1,200 of the full-time positions in the county, followed by construction and extraction.

In the regular meeting, the commissioners:

Approved Lions Club special permits to serve alcohol at the Fireman’s Banquet March 14 and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation banquet April 4, and approved a special liquor license for the Stockgrowers’ annual meeting on Feb. 22.

Approved CDOT certification of street inventory road miles.

Approved a final contract settlement for RB7 geo-technical engineering not to exceed $5,500.

BOARD APPOINTMENTS

Appointed John Moffitt to the Building Board of Appeals; Vince Wilczek to the Lower White River Pest Control District Board; Dorothy Chappell and Bill Jordan to the Meeker Colorado Civic Improvement Corporation Board; and Sarah Ward to the Rangely Regional Library District Board.

• Tabled the appointment of delegates and alternates to the Council on Aging Board until next week’s meeting in Rangely.

Tabled the appointment of Fair Board members until next week. Commissioner Rector requested comments from Fair Board members about reducing the number of board members from nine to seven, following a reduction from 11 to nine a few years back.

Approved Carl Maser to the Meeker Lodging Tax Board. Maser turned in the sole application for the three-person board.

Requested discussion about changing the cemetery district board appointments from three members to five and reducing the terms from six years to three in response to concerned constituents.

“There have been some citizens concerned that the cemetery board is not very answerable to the public because we appoint them and then that’s the end of our role in it,” said Commissioner Gary Moyer. “Our state legislators have been approached to change that statute.”

By phone, resident Carol Parr shared her concerns: “I feel sometimes there’s a conflict of interest and a perception that we need to get five people on there. Regardless of who’s on there now, you always have two going to agree; and one always out-voted. I think it would be a more fair board to have five members.”

Commissioners agreed they would support a change to the state statute if presented.

There are still open positions on several boards countywide. Visit https://rbc.us/159/Boards-Commissions for more information.

AIRPORTS

Approved 2019 stormwater discharge annual reports.

Approved federal/state reimbursements for repainting the runway numbers.

LETTERS OF SUPPORT

Approved letter supporting exemption for 811 locate requirements for annual or emergency road maintenance as presented in House Bill 20-1173. According to Road and Bridge Director Dave Morlan, the requirement extends the wait time for regular road maintenance.

Approved a letter extending the Rural Jump Start Program and modifying the competition clause as presented in House Bill 20-1003.

BID OPENINGS/AWARDS

Bids were opened for the 2020 weed and pest herbicides and will be reviewed and recommended for award on Feb. 25.

Heard a recommendation to split the cost for Columbine Park panels between two bidders, but changing the number of panels ordered. Commissioners requested a review and return to the original bid.

CONTRACTS & AGREEMENTS

Approved a per hour contract with Thomas Pickett & Co. of up to $20,000 in regard to board of assessment appeals. The firm will provide expert testimony on behalf of the county.

Extended a contract with HDR Engineering as the county’s “on-call” engineering firm.

Approved the Emergency Operations Plan between the county and the Town of Meeker, which has also been adopted by Pioneers Medical Center and is expected to be approved by the Town of Rangely. Rangely District Hospital is “still deciding,” according to Emergency Manager Ty Gates. RDH completed its own plan last year.

Approved a CCITF agreement with the Town of Rangely for purchase of a sixth Rangely Police Department vehicle and equipment not to exceed $31,493, and a CCITF agreement with the Rangely School District for a new school bus, not to exceed $41,000.

Approved an intergovernmental agreement with the state’s Dept. of Motor Vehicles to provide a “pop-up” driver’s license office in Meeker at the courthouse once a month.

Approved an easement for access to the Oak Ridge Broadband Tower Point with the State through the Department of Natural Resources.

Approved a services contract with HDR Engineering for the CR 73 bridge replacement for a new total of $6.9 million

Approved the 2020 Emergency Fire Fund Participation agreement. “When a fire exceeds county capabilities we pass it off to the state,” explained Sheriff Anthony Mazzola. “Counties that participate, the state picks up the cost; with the recent fires in the last few years we’ve already paid over 10 years of our premiums to this.’’

Approved an agreement for services with NW Consultants for the design of the Columbine Park multi-purpose arena waste system design.

Approved the back-up power project with Ducey’s Electric for the courthouse election room as required by state statute.

Approved contract for small government software with ESRI for the ArcGIS software for $25K per year for a three-year period.

Approved the annual operating plan with state and federal agencies for fighting wildland fires, determining what equipment is available, etc.

Following the road and bridge department update, public comment from Mona Avey and Renae Nielson, and commissioner updates, the board adjourned to an executive session to receive legal advice, to discuss personnel matters with Mark Litzelman (Facilities Dept.) and to determine positions relative to matters that may be subject to negotiations. 

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