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RANGELY I With the exception of two isolated incidents in the second half of the year, Rangely Town Manager Peter Brixius looks back on 2013 as a pretty good year for the town.
Brixius pointed to the early winter storm in October, which did some severe damage to local trees, closed some streets and caused a myriad of problems for residents and travelers, and the flooding at the town’s effluent building on Dec. 7, caused by a burst pipe that knocked out the entire system and had city workers trying to repair the system while the building was filled with raw sewage.
“These were really the only two blemishes on a pretty good year,” he said. “We really can’t control Mother Nature and her happenings, but what we could control and set out to do are things the town and its residents can be proud of.”
Foremost on his list of 2013 successes was completion of Phase I and the start of Phase II of the Rangely Water Treatment Plant construction. The town invested $1.9 million in the engineering and successful replacing of obsolete equipment and improving systems and infrastructure within the plant.
Phase II improvements have begun, and they will continue until early 2015, Brixius said.
He also pointed to the rebuilding of Cottonwood Street between Bell and Prospect, which was completed on time and on budget.
“This bit of infrastructure has improved the falling street surface, sidewalk, curb and gutter at a cost of $81,000,” he said. “The street had been untouched in 45 years, and now the street is in great shape.”
In addition, waterline was upgraded, the street was resurfaced and the drainage has been improved on the south side in the 600 and 700 blocks of East Rio Blanco, at a cost of $91,000.
“The town continues to upgrade the water distribution system, and I’d estimate that 60 percent of the town has been improved,” Brixius said. “Water line improvements will help to improve water quality reliability of service to the customer.”
The town also received a $55,000 grant through the county’s Trust Fund Grant Program. It will be used to add fire suppression sprinklers and improved alarms to White River Village’s 24-unit, low-income complex on the north end of White Avenue, Brixius said.
He also pointed to the $1.325 million state Department of Local Affairs’ Energy Impact Assistance Fund (EIAF) grant to assist with the town’s water treatment plant.
One million dollars of the EIAF grant will go toward the $2.5 million Phase 2 improvements to the water treatment plant in 2014 and the $325,000 grant will go toward the total cost of $750,000 needed for the construction of an in-stream diffuser.
“This project is required by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment for the mitigation of ammonia being discharged into the White River,” he said.
Brixius also pointed to the town’s completion of the subdivision process for West Rangely Subdivision, which will add 16 residential and two commercial/industrial lots on the west side of town. In addition, he said, the utility extension by the developer is nearing completion.
The town’s Gas Department also continued to improve the distribution system during 2013 with materials that have a life span that should last in excess of the next 50 years, he said, adding that the upgrades to the gas distribution are more than 95 percent complete.
While he pointed to a series of other smaller improvements, Brixius said he is happy that the town was awarded a grant for $135,000 for the construction of 1,000 feet of bike/pedestrian trail late in the year.
“Because of the lateness of the grant funding,” he said, “the town will undertake that project in the spring of 2014.”
Other projects included improvements to the waste water treatment process and the reconstruction of the Rangely Town Hall courtyard in an effort to eliminate tripping hazards and to make this a more useful community meeting area.
“Ongoing drainage improvements, streets, sidewalk and curb and gutter repairs were also undertaken throughout town during the year,” Brixius said. “Public works also completed dredging a three million gallon sedimentation pond originally estimated to cost $60,000, and town crews completed the process in-house for less than $25,000. That’s really good news and quite a savings.”
Lastly, on the revenue side, Brixius said the general fund revenues, excluding water fund transfers, are estimated to slightly exceed the town’s budget of $3,878,429 and Town General Fund expenses are expected to come in $400,000 to $500,000 under budget.
“I look back on the year and see that a lot was done, and that makes for a good year,” Brixius said. “I think the town and its employees had a big plate to fill for the year, and they pretty well got done all we had set out to accomplish.”
As to 2014, Brixius said the town has been working with the county, Meeker and the chambers of commerce to hire on a county economic development director.
“This will help with new initiatives for county and local businesses,” he said. In order to grow and improve our economic bases, we need to bring new businesses in here, and hiring a new countywide economic developer could be a very wise thing to do.”
The town of Rangely will also hold an election in April when four positions will be up for grabs on the Rangely Town Board.
Incumbent Mayor Frank Huitt will have to run for re-election if he chooses to seek another term and Councilwoman Lisa Hatch would have to face re-election.
There will be at least two new representatives on the council, Brixius said, as council members Clayton Gore and Elaine Urie are term limited and cannot run again.
As for 2013, Brixius said, “I believe 2013 was a successful year. We had some pretty ambitious objectives, and we reached our goals on most of them.
“In 2014, we still have an ambitious agenda with the bike path project, the Veterans Memorial we hope to have in place to dedicate on Memorial Day at Hefley Park and an ambitious set of asphalt overlays projects,” he said.
“I guess I should wish everyone a great 2014, and I look forward to this next year to continue serving our residents.”