County Beat: June 21 Meeting


RBC | In Rangely on Tuesday, RBC Commissioners heard updates from Leif Joy on his departments.

For surveying, 12 plats have been updated and surveying software and propeller drone targes have been updated. Developing a legal description for County Rd. 8 is underway and surveying work on the landfill has taken place as well as a drone flight to review current landfill conditions and next cell location, as well as creating a map of the landfill and staging the boundary of Cell C.

For the GIS department, Joy said code revisions are maintained daily to keep RBC data current. “We’ve also streamlined the process of our interactive maps online,” for the public, he said. “The backbone of GIS is 911,” Joy said, explaining the implementation of new software that will improve location addressing and “point data” expected to improve dispatch capabilities. The The Gateway Transmission Line project, which will run power transmission lines across the northwest corner of RBC, is progressing. That project was approved by commissioners last year. And a floodplain project for habitat improvement at Miller Creek is progressing.

In Planning, Joy said there are “six projects rolling,” including a minor subdivision, a limited impact review, two land use regulation amendments, a variance request for the Board of Health to review Tuesday afternoon. It’s also time to revisit the county’s master plan, Joy said, since the last review was in 2011.

Rangely Town Administrator Lisa Piering spoke to the board about the possibility of the county taking over about 3,500 feet of the Rangely Airport Road. At the time of discussion last year, the town had $60K allocated for it, but the road is now “not fixable” according to Rangely Public Works Director Jeff LeBleu. “If the county does not take it over, the only way it can be fixed is if it is milled and turned into a gravel road,” LeBleu said. “The best option is to pave it.” The road was paved with tar sand, and has not held up.

Commissioner Ty Gates said the county is going to review all the county roads and determine which road the county will take over and the Airport Road is “definitely in the conversation.”

Piering also discussed with the board the plan to move the commissioners’ Rangely meeting to the Rangely Town Hall courtroom, planned to begin next month. Discussion between the county’s IT department and Piering revolved around potential technological challenges with streaming that will need to be managed.

County job postings at the county’s annex building in Rangely are “not getting seen,” and the county asked about posting those job openings on the bulletin board at Town Hall, possibly with a QR code directing people to the county’s website.

Piering also asked the board about grant funding and broadband. Some areas of Rangely, evein in town limits, “never got the pushout” about broadband. Piering expressed concern that grant funding would be lost without urgent action to complete the project. “I’m afraid we’re going to lose funding to finish our internet, even within town,” Piering said.

Rangely Outdoor Museum representatives asked again for assistance with liability insurance coverage, utility covering, broadband coverage, and security system coverage for the museum, saying they’ve received a $3,000 donation from Chevron — likely the last one since Chevron has sold its Rangely oil field holdings to Scout Energy, and a $4,000 anonymous donation, but they are still “in the hole” by $6,000 or $7,000.

The Rangely museum is not eligible for historic grants because they were moved from the original location, and is dependent on county support and donations for funding. The Town of Rangely owns the property the museum is on.

Former RBC Commissioner Ken Parsons said the county funded the Rangely museum for many years through use tax grants. That funding was cut substantially two years ago, and Parsons said he’s not sure why the Rangely museum funding was cut off and the White River Museum funding was not. Historically, the White River Museum is funded from the general fund and the Rangely Outdoor Museum was funded from use tax grants. Those grants were limited to “emergency use only” by the previous board of commissioners.

Gates said as the county enters budget season they’ll look into what happened with the funding for the Rangely museum and revisit it. Budget and Finance Director Janae Stansworth said the request for funding to cover the liability insurance, etc., will be added to the next board agenda.

Rangely Police Chief Ti Hamblin said he was able to address most of his concerns with the county’s new DHS Director prior to the meeting, but wanted to discuss communication between law enforcement and DHS, specifically the Child Protection Team that was canceled because of COVID and not reinstated. Hamblin said he believes the Child Protection Team improved communication and held DHS accountable on cases they respond to and the action they take.

After a half hour conversation with DHS Director Nabila Mason prior to the work session, Hamblin said he hopes communication will improve with the change in leadership.

“When I found out that the child protection team had gone away that was a concern to me,” commented Commissioner Jennifer O’Hearon. “It is very important that we bring that back.”

During the regular meeting, Commissioners approved multiple policies related to the Colorado Works (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, TANF) program related to helping individuals access assistance in specific situations. The board approved a letter of support to CNCC for an EDA grant application related to the aviation program. A retail liquor license was approved for Western Mountain Expedition, LLC. for the Meeker Golf Course. Additionally, MOUs were approved with the Colorado Department of Human Services for the TANF program, the Colorado Child Care Assistance Program, and approved a modification of grant or agreement with the U.S. Forest Service for patrolling White River National Forest roads in the amount of $5,500. The board also moved to deny proceeding with a county administrator project following discussions last week with department heads. During Commissioner updates, Gates said they will take “a hard look” at the recommendations from the DOLA report about steps to take in lieu of hiring an administrator.

BOARD OF HEALTH MEETING

Commissioner Ty Gates appointed new commissioners Jennifer O’Hearon and Ginny Love to the Board of Health. The board also talked about required training for all Board of Health members per Colorado HB 21-1115. The new training covers the history and roles of public health boards and Emergency Preparedness and Response training.

SEPTIC VARIANCE REQUEST

Planning/GIS Director Lief Joy presented on behalf of building director Matt Franks a special variance request for a septic system on a property west of Meeker. Current land use regulations prohibit septic systems on lots sized one acre or less. The property in question is 0.78 acres. Joy noted that local septic regulations are more stringent than state (CDPHE) requirements, which allow for septic systems on smaller lots, as long as they meet other requirements.

Joy said the proposed property has met all engineering and other state requirements for the lot, and suggested granting the variance. County Attorney Don Steerman said that regulations have shifted over time, and suggested bringing local regulations in line with state regulations so the board does not have to continue granting variance requests for the same issue.

COMMUNITY HEALTH ASSESSMENT PLAN

Interim Public Health Director Beth Willey said the Public Health Department has started the process of developing a “community health assessment plan” and “public health improvement plan” which are both due to the state health department in 2023. Willey noted that current efforts include data collection and an upcoming public health survey the board reviewed Tuesday.

Willey said the plan is based on five “social determinants of health” which are:

  • economic stability
  • education
  • access to healthcare
  • neighborhood and built environment
  • social and community

The survey will be distributed as a google form that can be accessed via QR code. Willey said they hope to have the survey available in paper form as well. The information will be used to inform community stakeholder meetings prior to the development of a public health improvement plan. Board of Health member Margie Joy noted that information could be used to help secure grant funding for local housing development projects.


By NIKI TURNER – editor@ht1885.com

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