County Beat: Term limits expected to appear on Nov. ballot

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RBC | Term limits for elected county officials are expected to appear on the November ballot, but we won’t know until next week’s meeting in Rangely exactly which elected offices will be subject to change. 

Currently, there are no term limits on any elected offices in the county — commissioner, clerk and recorder, sheriff, assessor, treasurer, surveyor, coroner. Commissioners are discussing which offices should be exempt from term limits because of the level of training and certification required. 

Voters will be asked to decide on term limits for each individual office. If approved, term limits would not be retroactive, meaning any elected county official currently in office would potentially have eight more years in office after the 2020 election, regardless of how many years they’ve served thus far. 

BUILDING DEPARTMENT

The board opted to discontinue advertising for a relief building inspector. Current Inspector LaDonna Eubanks said she has been contacting contractors ahead of time when she knows she will be gone, and in the event of an extended leave she would have a contract inspector come in.

County Attorney Todd Starr said he would like to see a fee added to the rural building permit exemption to cover county costs for staff time taking care of exemption paperwork. 

COMPLAINT RECEIVED

The commissioners received a letter from a non-resident traveling through, who “stopped at a local burger joint” and were appalled by the failure to wear masks. Starr suggested the commissioners forward the letter to the restaurant “because if it gets forwarded to the state there may be consequences.”

In a Facebook post Monday, commissioners reiterated their May letter and said they believe it’s not their place to enforce the state mask mandate. 

“If a restaurant or a business owner decides that they don’t want to do that, as a patron you don’t have to go there,” said Commissioner Jeff Rector. “This is really dividing everyone across the nation. I think we can be the people who can be respectful.”

The board encouraged citizens to respect the personal rights of other citizens to wear, or not to wear, a mask.

As for the complaint, “If the state decides to come and penalize that restaurant, that’s at the state’s decision,” Starr said.

Multiple local businesses are subject to state regulations to protect their licensing. Compliance with state public health orders or mandates may affect license approval. 

OTHER BUSINESS

The board again went into an executive session to discuss negotiations with Chevron, the WREA CR 8 fiber plan, and the Department of Human Services accounting position (Ryan Torsell in attendance as personnel under discussion). 

In an interagency meeting following the regular board meeting, commissioners heard from various entities.

BLM, CPW and Forest Service officials said OHV use in the area this summer is higher than ever before. CPW said they anticipate that increase translating to increased hunter numbers this fall, based on license sales.

BLM said from a paperwork standpoint, industry is moving onto federal lands. Asked about firefighting operations, he said seasoned firefighters have told him the fire behavior they’re seeing is “unprecedented.”

Director Alden Vanden Brink said the Rio Blanco Water Conservancy District is working on a local water system — which does not require a tax increase — and have about 35 residents who have expressed interest.

The Wolf Creek Reservoir project is supposed to go to court at the state level in January to determine whether the area needs more water storage, an idea the state has opposed. 

 As of Tuesday morning, the White River was flowing at less than 50 cubic feet per second below the Kenney Reservoir Dam, shutting off irrigation capability to several residents.


By NIKI TURNER | editor@ht1885.com

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