Rangely board addresses many issues

RANGELY I In addition to the first reading of an ordinance to impose a town-wide moratorium on marijuana sales, the Sept. 10 Rangely Town Council meeting addressed Phase II water treatment plant renovations for 2014, natural gas use and pricing and potential building plans.
Five contractors attended a pre-bid walk-through of the water treatment plant on Sept. 4, Town Manager Peter Brixius told the council on Tuesday. Contractors will submit bids for Phase II work by Sept. 19, with bid selection and acceptance made Oct. 8.
The $2.25 million project, funded by a $1 million Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) grant and a $1.5 million State Revolving Fund (SRF) loan, will upgrade or replace portions of the building and key components of the water treatment system, including electrical and software elements.
Brixius said the initial bid price of $925,000 for Phase I of the renovation is currently on budget, with project completion scheduled for Nov. 1.
Gas usage reports over the last 10 years showed the town to be averaging more use over time, with August showing considerably more consumption than previous years for the same month.
Brixius said that greater occupancy and new construction in the area could account for higher usage in the last year and the lower temperatures throughout the year is more likely a larger contributing factor.
Hedging on the futures market, which accounts for approximately 50 percent of the town’s natural gas purchase, is currently contracted into March of 2018, with the remaining gas bought on the spot market.
“It’s really advantageous in this market to hedge further out, so the average consumer’s not vulnerable to as many peaks and valleys,” Brixius said after the meeting. “Unlike previous years, the time premium only costs a small amount and the further we’ve gone out, we’ve found that our pricing for the fifth year is at or below where we were for years two, three, and four …I think the consumer can expect that at the portion we’ve hedged, we’re locked in at a very good price for the next five winters.”
An $800,000 line item for a new animal shelter in next year’s budget would need complete funding via grants and partnerships before plans move forward with building, Brixius said.
Talks with Colorado Northwestern Community College and the Columbine Park board in the past could result in future partnerships with the school’s equine studies and management programs, Brixius said, while a building at Columbine Park could provide veterinary services for large and small animals.
Town code enforcement officer and shelter manager Vicki Pfennig will attend the Northwest Colorado Rural Philanthropy Days later this month to pursue possible funding options.
The town’s asphalt overlay project on East Rio Blanco Avenue is scheduled for completion in the next few weeks, with a new water line installed, curb and gutter poured on the north side of the 600-700 block and overlay starting Sept. 30.
Brixius said the water line posed some “unanticipated challenges,” including unmapped lines feeding the old main that had to be located. That challenge and adding a four-way valve in addition to original project plans tacked on about a week and a half to the projected finish date, he said.
“The town used to contract much of these types of projects out, but now we have some pretty talented staff doing the work internally,” he said after the meeting. “We’re seeing a tremendous benefit in capital outlay using that method.”
A $3,000 Encana grant and $5,000 Chevron grant will fully fund police department Simunitions training, or realistic situational training, for Rio Blanco County law enforcement personnel, as well as pay for additional coursework for Rangely police officer and trainer Keith Hood. Brixius said.
The council also acknowledged Rangely Camper Park hosts and longtime residents Kay and Richard Nickson for their service to camper park residents, dozens of whom sent positive letters about the couple to the council this summer.