County Beat: March 19, 2020

RBC | Commissioners opted on Tuesday to keep county buildings open and staff in place for the time being, after hearing updates from Public Health Director Alice Harvey and Emergency Management Director Ty Gates regarding the coronavirus situation in the state.

Gates said he was not advocating for a disaster declaration at this time, but said that could still happen. “It does put you in line for reimbursement of some costs,” he said, adding, “I tend to agree we can do that in a month or a week or whenever, although I think the governor’s [disaster] decree may put us in line for some economic help.”

In a work session, commissioners and county staff discussed several areas of concern, including seasonal workers agriculture depends on who may not be able to come into the country, protecting volunteers and recipients of food bank items, and how to handle arrests and incarceration.

“We’re going to have to make some decisions about what to do for our communities,” said Commissioner Jeff Rector.

The board heard a request for $5,000 from the economic development budget to support the rodeos at Range Call from Range Call committee president Roy Gilbert, who said they are partnering with the Meeker Summer Rodeo Series to benefit both groups.

Gilbert said they sell about 3,600 wristbands, more than half of which go to out-of-town visitors.

“Range Call and the Sheepdog Trials are the two biggest things that happen in Meeker,” Gilbert said.

The county had been supporting Range Call through a $10,000 tobacco-cessation grant (Colorado Quit Line) they’re no longer receiving.

In the regular meeting, the board:

Approved a letter in support of BLM Travel and Transportation Management plan

Approved a request from the Rangely 911 Board to increase the 911 fee in Rangely from $1 to $1.80

Tabled three appointments for the Historic Preservation Board. “We want to start interviewing all of the candidates for these different boards before appointing them,” Commissioner Gary Moyer said.

Heard from County Clerk and Recorder Boots Campbell, who said operations in her office are not affected by the state office shutdown due to coronavirus. “Everyone is available by phone or email,” she said. However, the Denver Department of Motor Vehicle personnel who come to Meeker for the mobile driver’s license office will not be coming this month.

Opened bids for eight small vehicles, the lower White River pest control aerial mosquito spraying bid, and tabled the herbicide hand spraying bid at the request of the Lower White River Pest Control District. The district will send out a new RFP and the finance department will hold on to the one bid received.

There are still no “takers” for the 2020 relief building inspector position. LaDonna Eubanks said the county’s options are to continue to use the current substitute or go through an inspection company. “I just have a real hesitation hiring someone for that position two days a week because I’m not certain we need that,” Eubanks said.

Approved an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) between the Board of County Commissioners and the Wolf Creek Reservoir Project. Commissioner Si Woodruff and County Attorney raised concerns about the 40-year term. Water Conservancy District Director Alden VandenBrink explained, “Water time is measured in decades. When you’re doing water planning the typical timeframe is 50 years, it’s not short term.” The IGA is necessary, Commissioner Moyer said, to strengthen their [Wolf Creek Reservoir Project] case with the state water engineer.

Approved resolutions that approve subdivision exemptions for the Uphoffs in Piceance Basin.

Approved a resolution adopting a procedure for emergency meetings by the Rio Blanco County Board of Health that will allow that board to meet without fulfilling public notice requirements.

Following public comment and commissioner updates, the board adjourned and reconvened as the Board of Equalization to discuss the 2019 TEP Abatement Request approved at the previous meeting. County Attorney Todd Starr said, “It occurred to me after the last motion that the actual motion you made was not what you intended to do based on your comments. I believe you had intended to go back to an original valuation different than what you moved to do. This is to amend your motion to correct your valuation.”

The board moved to amend the assessed value to $39,008,320, not the previously stated $41,450,340.