County to address Mormon cricket problem

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RBC | ERBM Rec District summer camp students visited the Rio Blanco County Courthouse Tuesday during the commissioners’ work sessions and meeting and had pictures taken with the commissioners.

During work sessions, Weed and Pest Control Director Jane Turnburke told the commissioners this year’s outbreak of Mormon crickets is well underway. “They’re already laying their eggs,” Turnburke said.

In Moffat County, pesticides have been placed along the roadsides to stop the insects from migrating.

Commissioner Rector, attending by phone, said the goal this year should be to help the landowners protect their crops. “They’re full adults, they’re already laying eggs and banded up,” he said. “This is mostly just for the ag community to keep their crops intact. Hay will be a premium this year.”

In the regular meeting, the board approved emergency funds of up to $10,000 to buy pesticides, which should be delivered by the end of the week. Landowners impacted can contact Turnburke at (970) 878-9670 for more information about the pesticides.

In a work session with facilities project coordinator Eric Jaquez, the board responded to a request from the fair board to improve an inadequate power supply at the fairgrounds. Funding the improvements would require use of contingency funds or reallocation of another project, or using emergency funding.

Commissioner Gates suggested there are other options available to fair participants, including bringing their own trailers and generators.

Jaquez also requested further direction about the airport outflow project to address water issues. Jaquez said the engineering firm he spoke to estimated $11,000 for the project. Commissioner Moyer suggested using “local expertise” such as contacting NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service) to see if they can provide information at no charge.

In other business:

  • The board heard the annual financial audit from Paul Miller.
  • Approved the solid waste landfill certification.
  • Discussed the camping management concessionaire agreement. The initial bid was declined by Rimrock Campground because it required the provider to supply their own insurance. Camping at the fairgrounds is considered “overflow” camping during events when other campgrounds in the area are full.
  • Denied emergency funding for fireworks shows as those are not “unforeseen” events, as well as funding for Range Call and Septemberfest from that same emergency fund. The board intends to use alternative funding mechanisms to support Range Call and Septemberfest.
  • Denied a waiver of fees for multiple internet services at one address because it would create a precedent and is in violation of the current contract.
  • Approved airport grants to address pavement maintenance at both airports and the Meeker airport master plan.
  • Approved round two of federal funding for public health related to COVID expenses that extends funding to 2023.
  • Approved a contract modification with United Companies increasing the chip seal contract by $2,532 to add the airport parking lot to the project. The overall project is approximately $694,000. The additional cost can be allocated from airport COVID funding.

By NIKI TURNER – editor@ht1885.com