Natural gas usage up over 2019 and 10-year average in Rangely

RANGELY | Town of Rangely trustees held a brief but informative meeting Tuesday, starting with an update from gas department supervisor Kelli Neiberger, who reported that natural gas usage in 2020 had increased from 2019 and when compared to the 10-year average. Nieberger said new meter reading software was implemented last year because the department was able to get it for free. She said they plan to install $22,000 worth of new meter reading equipment this year, because old equipment will become obsolete.

Rangely Rural Fire Protection District donated a Hydro-Tek pressure washer to the town’s public works department. | COURTESY PHOTO

Town Manager Lisa Piering shared updates with the town board including information about MindSprings Zoom meetings for law enforcement officers to get mental health support, and a letter from Associated Northwest Governments of Colorado advocating to keep the Bureau of Land Management headquarters in Grand Junction.

Piering also informed trustees about a sewer line collapse at White River Village in one of the apartments. She said there was concern that might lead to other lines collapsing. According to Piering, the apartments were built on slabs back in the 1980s, which she called “really silly.” She stated that the utilities department would be taking a look at the situation to determine a course of action if more problems arise.

“We may have to start kind of picking and choosing when someone’s not in an apartment and see if we can get that replaced because I think there’s movement under there, we’re kind of worried about the sewer lines having other issues,” said Piering.

Trustees approved the December 2020 financial statement after getting a rundown from Piering. She said all departments came in under budget expense-wise in 2020, but the general fund reserves will still be reduced, mainly due to decreases in revenues.

“The largest part of that was our federal mineral lease and severance, and everybody in the state was hit pretty hard with that,” said Piering.

The revenue shortfall in the general fund will reduce reserves by $406,691, leaving approximately $8.1 million in reserves.

Piering thanked the Rangely Rural Fire protection district for donating a Hydro-Tek pressure washer to the town’s public works department.

The town’s planning and zoning board is seeking to fill a vacancy for 2021. Piering said the board, which doesn’t meet often, would likely have a meeting soon, due to some recent zoning change requests from residents.

Trustee Rich Garner volunteered to serve on the 911 board, with Trustee Alisa Granger designated as the alternate.

Piering said she would attend an upcoming water users association meeting that would cover first steps for the Wolf Creek Reservoir and drought management. Expecting drought this year, Piering stated “when we get down to lower water we can always do water restrictions but we still have to drink, so I think the water storage is huge, but they need to also let us be part of that plan about how we manage our drought.”

The town has renamed part of Jones Avenue in front of the high school to “Panther Way,” they’re planning to do a dedication of the street at some point in the future.