Rangely Fire District requests mill levy increase

Listen to this post

RANGELY I The Board of Trustees met Feb. 25. In attendance were Mayor Andy Shaffer and trustees Luke Geer, Alisa Granger, Keely Ellis, Andy Key and Tyson Hacking.

Petitions and Public Input
Tim Webber, representing Rangely Rural Fire Protection District which was formed in 1973, addressed the council and audience to request a small mill levy increase. Currently the department receives .874 mills and they would like to increase that to 2 mills. According to Webber’s presentation, revenue from taxes to be received in 2020 from the .874 mills is $250,176 per year. If the voters approve the increase the amount will be $572,874 per year based on the current assessed value. The increased revenue would allow the Rangely Rural Fire Protection District to continue to operate and help cover the cost of replacing aging equipment, specifically vehicles ranging from 1995 to the newest 2012 model. Their 24-year-old air system has required major repairs almost annually for five years in order to pass yearly inspections. The approximate replacement cost for that equipment is $100,000.
Currently the department has 34 firefighters, several of whom have 10 or more years of experience. Between 2015-2019 they responded to 548 total calls. The majority of calls were vehicle accidents, followed by brush fires. The department will be looking into grants to help with funding but will need to first show an increase to their mill levy, which has not been increased since 1997. For more information contact board chair Tim Webber, Andy Shaffer, or budget officer Linda Gordon.

Community and Board Meetings
Tim Webber is back on the RDA/RDC Board. The last meeting was reported as being extremely productive with many in attendance. The RDA/RDC board have created committees to help move projects forward. Ellis spoke briefly about their SWOT analysis, in which they identified what they would like to pursue, including a partnership with CNCC for aviation expansion, attracting a call center, investment opportunities with vacant buildings, and service training for marketing Rangely to visitors. On March 24 town council and the RDA/RDC board will hold a joint meeting at Rangely Town Hall. Senator Bennett was on the CNCC Rangely Campus and met with community leaders. Officials met with Senator Rankin on Feb. 22 and Ellis said he heard from this region about its current struggles.

Supervisor Reports
Janet Miller is busy coordinating the town flower order. The tentative planting date is the last weekend of April at the Community Gardens. All community members are welcome at the planting. In the past they have offered a meal to volunteers.
Miller reported there is one vacant apartment being renovated at White River Village.
Snow removal and maintenance have been a priority over the winter months.
Residents and staff enjoyed a Stop the Bleed and AED classes. They are holding a regular Chair Yoga Class targeted to seniors to which the public is invited.
Miller thanked Family Dollar and the radio station which brought Valentine’s Day gifts to the residents at the White River Village.

Town Manager Report
Piering met with Senator Bennet and Rankin during their visit to Rangely. Piering said Rangely’s median wage is too high to participate in many of the rural initiative programs and that was a topic of discussion with both senators.
Piering will be attending a public input meeting at the hospital hosted by the Rio Blanco Water Conservancy District to discuss the possible creation of a rural water district. On March 17 and 18 the town will be presenting to DOLA on their waterline project.
Ginger Scott with the Northwest Transportation Group sent out an email about grant funding from CDOT and Piering believes that there is an opportunity to match their other CDOT grant and complete the engineering for the CNCC trail loop that runs along the backside of the college.
AGNC reminded members to make comments for the National Environmental Policy Act that will be making some changes. Piering encouraged members to contact the Rio Blanco County Commissioners if they would like to add comments.
A special financing tour will be coming to Grand Junction on March 19-20. They have funding and development ideas on how to improve Rangely’s downtown and Jeannie Caldwell or Piering will try to attend. Piering reports that Town Marketing Director Jeannie Caldwell has been getting to know everyone and has been meeting with special districts. She’s working with Konnie Billgren with the Rangely Area Chamber of Commerce on upcoming events and with Rio Blanco County Economic Development. They both attended the last AGNC meeting. She is also working on the town’s social media presence. The town is working on maintaining their website rather than through a third party. The Colorado Oil and Gas Commission is moving forward with their new mandates which is to regulate rather than foster oil and gas. They have a comment period that Piering will forward to the trustees. Piering reports that all departments have a lot of projects going on as soon as the snow melts.

New Business
Geer moved to approve the January 2020 financials and Ellis seconded. The motion passed unanimously.
CNCC Foundation Director Sue Samaniego spoke about last year’s Foundation Dinner prior to the vote to approve the Special Event Permit for the 16th annual CNCC Foundation Dinner. The dinner, with a live and silent auction, will be held on Saturday, March 28 from 5:30-9 p.m.

By ROXIE FROMANG
Special to the Herald Times