Rangely council gives added funds to Wolf Creek project

RANGELY | The Rangely Town Council met Tuesday night where they discussed improvements to White River Village and additional funding to the Wolf Creek Reservoir project.
Elizabeth Wiley, owner of Elizabeth Robinson Studio and Home on the Rangely, approached the council during public input for the purpose of clarifying what she said were misunderstandings regarding her business relationship with the Rangely Outdoor Museum. Wiley, who organized the OldTimers gathering at Septemberfest, provided the council with an explanation of the history of her partnership with the event. She told the board that following confusion about her status as a paid contractor or volunteer she chose to provide her services to the OldTimers free of charge. Wiley said that the confusion that followed led to sponsors of the event pulling their funds as well as a refusal by the Chamber of Commerce to forward on information about the event. She also expressed concerns that her reputation and livelihood had been damaged. Wiley requested that, in the future, when a business is going to be discussed at council meetings the business owner be notified so that they may participate in the discussion.
Town Manager Peter Brixius updated the council on sales tax saying that the town has received $521,000 from January through September 2017. Brixius compared the number to last year’s entire revenue of $557,000, saying the numbers were “hopeful.” He also informed the council that the town has hired their fifth police officer who will begin working this week.
The council approved filing for a $13,000 grant request from County Capital Improvement Tax Fund to make improvements to the laundry facilities and common room areas at White River Village. They hope to expand and upgrade the laundry equipment as well as replace worn carpet. The low income senior and disabled housing facility currently offers 24 apartments.
The vacancy on the town Planning and Zoning Commission was filled with the appointment of Matt Billgren. The Town is also seeking to fill a vacancy on the Rangely Development Agency.
The Council decided to give an additional $5,000 of funding to the White River Water Conservancy District for continuation of the Wolf Creek Reservoir project. The Water Conservancy has been faced with a $22,112 shortfall following a cut in severance funding which threatens the future of the project. Prior to the request to the Town of Rangely for additional funding, Rio Blanco County had agreed to provide the needed funds to the Water District, but requested they also seek funds from the towns of Rangely and Meeker. Councilwoman Ann Brady expressed concerns about the town funding a future project that she said would not be a benefit to existing Kenney Reservoir if the reservoir is off stream, as it would not prevent future sedimentation at Kenney. She was also concerned that the Colorado River District and Moffat County have not funded any of the project to date. Director of the Water Conservancy Alden VandenBrink discussed the importance of the project and water storage to the future of Rangely. He described the funding as “hedging towards the future of the town.” Prior to the additional funding the town had given the district $50,000 towards the project. Councilman Andy Key expressed concerns that Rangely has funded more of the project than the county, which he said had a big potential for benefit. After lengthy discussion the council approved the $5,000 in funding with council members Ann Brady and Trey Robie voting no.

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