Rangely board discusses fiscal stability, grants

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RANGELY | Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) employees shared a work session presentation on “Fiscal Stability” with Town of Rangely officials Tuesday. State Demographer Elizabeth Garner detailed statistics on the economy, population, age distribution, growth projections and more. Nationally the United State’s population growth slowed to an all-time record low from 2019-20. Reflecting the national trend, Colorado’s population growth slowed to 0.85% in the same time period. Garner noted the state has also slowed in births, job growth, and in-migration for the first time in a number of years. Rio Blanco County and Rangely both reflect statewide trends, including a slowdown of population growth which is expected to continue trending downward.

Rangely Town Hall | LUCAS TURNER PHOTO

Garner said projections for age distribution in the county could restrict the available labor force. Similar to other rural counties, RBC has a net-negative migration of young 20-somethings. Additionally there are many residents approaching retirement age, though Garner noted that Rangely is younger on average than both Rio Blanco County and Colorado due in part to CNCC. She suggested RBC and Rangely could help maintain the labor force by implementing apprenticeship programs to attract more young people and harness the expertise of many older workers before they retire. She also said projected growth along the Colorado’s I-25 corridor could be leveraged with remote work and online-learning opportunities. Garner emphasized that officials should be planning ahead for population and demographic changes, keeping in mind specifically how demographic changes will impact government revenue projections and sources as well as necessary expenditures.

DOLA Budget Information and Resources Program Manager Parker Crowe shared analysis of the Town of Rangely’s audited financial statements from previous years. Overall he said the Town has been doing a good job managing finances, with revenues consistently outpacing expenditures. Crowe pointed out healthy reserves in many town funds, noting balances that could cover up to 3 years of expenditures. He advised council and staff members to give consideration to whether or not those fund balances could be better leveraged. As an example Crowe said the town could use reserves to pursue matching-fund grants for infrastructure improvements and other projects. He also advised the council to work with staff on developing a collection of clear financial policies for future decision making processes. Crowe also suggested developing a comprehensive assessment of town assets for future planning purposes.

REGULAR MEETING

Rangely Marketing Coordinator Jeannie Caldwell shared an update with the board during their regular meeting. Caldwell said the first edition of “Rangely Review” will come out next week, and noted other efforts to promote Rangely in various other publications like Outside Magazine. Caldwell reported she has been revamping parts of the Town’s website, adding a “support” page to the economic development section. The town’s law enforcement website is also getting updated with employee bios, an anonymous tip form and other features.

Town Manager Lisa Piering reported that the town has been awarded a $750,000 grant for the “Head works project,” and was in the final stages of a “Can Do It” grant which would award the town $50,000. Piering also discussed working with a consultant who is providing information on transitioning the Town’s dispatch communications system to something with more reliability and redundancy. Moving forward Piering is set to work on developing financial and HR policies for future managers and council members.

Trustees approved the January 2021 check register and renewed a liquor license for Willis Rangely Enterprises LLC dba Rangely Liquor Store. They also approved an EIF grant application to DOLA for $522,338 to replace the water line on Mesa Circle, and a letter of interest from ColoCPA to perform an audit of the town’s 2020 financial statements for $12,450. There is still a vacancy on the Town’s Planning and Zoning Board, for more information email Lisa Piering at lpiering@rangelyco.gov


By LUCAS TURNER | lucas@ht1885.com