Planning ahead for mosquito control next year

RANGELY | Kelly Christian, representing Rio Blanco County Health and Environment addressed the Rangely Board of Trustees about their mosquito abatement program. The county has expressed interest in collaborating with the Town of Rangely in their efforts in 2020. Christian reported that in September they were notified of one confirmed human case of West Nile Virus and two positively identified cases of equine West Nile Virus in the Rangely area. A successful program should have seven key points, according to a communicable disease specialist. Those key points are larval and adult mosquito sampling, source and reduction, biological control, larvae and adulticide, resistance monitoring, disease surveillance, and public education. Because the Town of Rangely handles the adulticide through routine spraying, RBC Health and Environment has purchased “mosquito dunks,” which are floating larvicides for standing water and those will be offered to the public. They also plan also providing public education through social media, the newspaper, and individual counseling on the appropriate use and environmental control such as removing standing water. Christian said repellant wipes were purchased and distributed to the public this summer and were a resounding success. She said that their department would be happy to supply information on adulticide (spraying of mosquitos) and the effects on the community, birds, bees, pets, etc. as needed. They will continue to provide monitoring and surveillance on mosquito born illnesses such as West Nile Virus. Christian is hopeful that with combining their efforts they can protect the health and wellbeing of the citizens on Rio Blanco County from mosquito born illnesses.     

Supervisor Don Reed updated the board about ongoing projects at the water department. His department finished the backflow cross connection state mandated testing. At the end of 2020 they must be at 90% of compliance and 90% thereafter. He says the average cost would be $60 per year per business and that cost is paid for by the business owner. Reed reports that they have completed hydrant flushing and used 2.5 million gallons of water to accomplish that. He said a lot of sediment was flushed out of the system and that everything was recorded by GIS. The water department started manhole replacement. They will get three of those projects finished in 2019 and four finished in 2020. The grant funding for the manhole project will carry over into 2020. They just finished the manhole project on Main Street in front of the Rangely Automotive Museum and the next manhole project area is Middle Street and White Avenue. Reed said that they have been working on sewer jetting. Regarding information presented during a budget workshop, he says price quotes for the pipeline configuration for the possibility of a new pump station are underway. Pending the board’s approval, they will be applying for grant funding in 2020 for that project.

Town Manager Lisa Piering said she and Town Planner Jocelyn Mullen met with commissioners about the contested floodplain. They will meet with AECOM and FEMA representatives during a commissioners work session on Nov. 19 and she invited trustees to attend. The RBC Commissioners said that they would support the town’s efforts in reducing the projected floodwater flow in FEMA and AECOMs floodplain. The town has been working on better securing their building and have worked on doors and administrative offices. The Town of Rangely was given a $4,000 donation by Chevron and they are going to be using those funds to help with this project.

Striping on the roads was completed on main street and Piering reports that it should help reduce the speed in town. There was not enough room to add a bike lane but there is designated parking alongside Main Street now. The town is working with the school district to get the flashing school sign on River Road in working condition, as they have had several complaints about it. Piering said she and Town Clerk Marybel Cox are gearing up for the 2020 municipal elections. The mayor and three seats will be elected in the coming year. Piering attended the AGNC meeting and said Senator Ray Scott was in attendance and spoke to them about current legislation. He told meeting attendees the State of Colorado found an old agreement with the Bureau of Land Management and he feels local governments will be unable to overrule federal leases for oil and gas exploration. There will be an economics summit sponsored by Colorado Mesa University and the Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce on Nov. 19. Piering said she would like to have another budget work session before the next meeting. Granger asked about the vacant marketing position and Piering said she has another local candidate she will be contacting.

Key moved to approve the renewal of the liquor license for BPOE Elks Lodge 1907 and Geer seconded the motion. It passed unanimously. After some discussion about the wording of Chief Hamblin’s recommendation letter to the board, Key moved to approve a special event permit for the BPOE Elks Lodge Charity Ball on Nov. 16, 2019. Robie seconded the motion and it passed unanimously. Geer moved to approve the renewal of the liquor license for WRBM Cedar Ridges Golf Course and the motion was seconded by Granger and passed unanimously.

Mayor Shaffer reported that the Rangely Fire Department worked with the county and BLM to reclaim the BLM land that was disturbed by bulldozer in effort to suppress the fire that burned several acres east of Rangely. The meeting was adjourned at 7:50 p.m.

The next Rangely Board of Trustees meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 12.

By Roxie Fromang | Special to the Herald Times