County: Sports Mask Requirement, Meeker Airport Project, Regular Business

RBC | In accordance with state recommendations, The Colorado High School Sports Activities Association (CHSAA) has required high school basketball players to wear masks during competition.


During a Tuesday work session, former RBC Public Health Director Julie Drake called the rule “ridiculous,” since masks have not also been mandated for other sports like wrestling, hockey or cheerleading. She said basketball players were being treated unfairly, and asked the commissioners to convene a Board of Health meeting, and consider sending a letter to the state health department in opposition to the CHSAA rule.

Rangely Athletic Director Ryan Wilkie also spoke in support of Drake’s request to the board.

Commissioners Jeff Rector and Gary Moyer spoke in support of Drake’s efforts, and agreed to discuss a letter, but they could not convene a BOH meeting prior to the State’s Board of Health meeting on Wednesday.

Tuesday’s work session also included a brief discussion with Budget and Finance Director Janae Stanworth regarding budget changes to a proposed federal assistance improvement project at the Meeker Airport.

Originally the county allocated $317,000 for the project. By Tuesday that number had more than doubled, to $683,251. According to Stanworth the contractor (TO Engineering) said “the scope of the project had not changed,” but increased the amount anyways based on total grant funds available from the FAA. Any additional funds would mean the contractor could avoid submitting a supplemental grant request “in case prices went up.”

Stanworth noted that despite federal and state grants covering the majority of the cost of the project, the proposed increase would put the county on the hook for an additional $18,000 on top of what was originally allocated. During their regular meeting, the board agreed to table any approval of the Meeker Airport project, pending a meeting with TO Engineering to discuss the proposed increase. A similar federal assistance project at the Rangely airport totaling $552,000 was approved during the same meeting.

Other regular business items included a permission letter to the Town of Meeker for the Meeker Lions Club to serve alcohol at the Snow Ball during the Meeker Skijor event at the Rio Blanco County Fairgrounds 4­-H building. Due to some uncertainty about when the event would actually take place, the board amended the item to allow permission for a liquor license “sometime in February.”

The board approved a temporary exemption for above ground fiber installation at a Meeker Residence, and discussed making an exemption for wireless service for another resident next week. Due to an outage on the county’s Oak Ridge Tower earlier this month, the board also approved refunds to broadband service providers totaling $425 which could then be passed on to affected customers.

Advertisements for five county positions were also approved, including temporary additional staff for the Public Health Department, an operator position for Road and Bridge, a patrol deputy, and two dispatch positions.

The board approved an agreement with A&S construction to set an asphalt plant and aggregate stockpile at the Quinn Gravel Pit through Oct. 3, 2021. In exchange the county will receive 3,000 tons of crushed road base material.


Commissioner Rector said he has been attending public lands meetings to keep an eye on any federal changes, and noted that “we’re really gonna try to develop Rockies natural gas this year to get gas exported.”

Commissioner Gates said he had been busy in meetings, responding to emails and learning to keep up with new responsibilities.

Commissioner Moyer mentioned a meeting with White River Conservation district about updating the county’s Natural Resource Land Use Plan. He said discussions were focusing on how extensive an update would be, and to what extent public review would be needed. “We’ve gone through the whole two-year process back in, I believe 2015/2016, [when we] put the plan together,” said Moyer. “We’re gonna continually need to keep it updated to deal with more current issues. So how much public input or comment is required to amend it with updates, that’s the discussion we’re having.”