In response to Shawn Welder’s impassioned letter asking for support of the Yellow Jacket Water Conservancy District, some general background for the letter concerning the water rights position issue the district finds itself in and the feasibility study that the district has received grant money for, is needed.
The district knew before they awarded the feasibility study that there were some legal issues arising from their water rights and they may need support dealing with those matters. Instead of awarding the feasibility study to a firm within the area, with connections to the area and the other parties involved in water rights on the White River, they chose to give the nearly quarter million dollar study to an engineering team based on the Eastern Slope. In Mr. Welder’s letter it is indicated that the Eastern Slope is trying to steal our water, and as that might be the case, it may have been helpful for the district not to give money to the Eastern Slope.
The editor of this newspaper had a recent piece in the paper indicating how local business needed to be supported, citing the county’s decision to award a car contract to Northwest Auto. However, for a local district or board to desire support from the community after they did not support the community, when presented the opportunity, is a difficult position to understand. Many in the community will have heard of the governor’s Bottom Up Economic Development Plan. One of the tenants of the plan being developed within Rio Blanco County’s plan is that local dollars should be kept local. How can local districts and boards ask for local support when they make decisions that don’t keep local dollars local when viable options are put before them?
There are several good local firms/businesses that do good work and have deep connections to the local community, but they will never have the long list of clients and projects that a big firm/business from outside Rio Blanco County will have. So the questions that come before local districts and boards as they are awed by those big name groups are: How much local support can they bring to you during the course of a project or in the future? And how much support are you showing the local economy with locally produced dollars?
If it’s important for residents to shop locally to support local businesses then it should be important for local districts and boards.