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By Jen Hill
RANGELY I The Rangely Town Council met Tuesday where they discussed the situation with the Main Street stoplight and approved a solution to clear up ownership of town hall.
As most locals have noticed, the stoplight on Main Street and White Avenue has been taken out of commission after a semi-truck collided with one of the posts. The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) sent two representatives to the council meeting to discuss the future of the intersection. According to CDOT the stoplight doesn’t meet current standards nor does the intersection warrant a light. The cost of repairing the damage to the current post is estimated at $250,000. However, matching all four posts and bringing the system up to current standards would cost an estimated $600,000. It was suggested by both the CDOT employees and several meeting attendees that they consider not repairing the stoplight and instead widening the intersection, allowing for easier truck traffic turning off of Main onto White. CDOT said they would also consider improving pedestrian crossings around town including relocating them to better positions.
Rangely Police Chief Vince Wilczek expressed concerns about the loss of the stoplight. Wilczek said he believes the light encourages large trucks to self-regulate their speed on Main Street. By removing the stoplight, those trucks would likely do the 30 mph speed limit down Main, which he says they don’t currently do. Wilczek also said he thinks accidents in the intersection will increase with the loss of the light. However, the representative from CDOT stated that it is likely that the stoplight was causing rear end collisions, which could decrease without the light.
The town and CDOT agreed to observe the intersection in its current state before making any decisions.
Town Manager Peter Brixius informed the council that mosquito abatement spraying would take place again on Friday (tomorrow) morning. He also sought input from the council on the Rangely Museum’s request for financial aid. The museum is currently seeking the status of a repository, which would allow them to store and display archeological and paleontological artifacts. The museum is looking for $17,000 in seed money to start the project. Councilman Andy Key expressed concerns that further developing archeological studies in the area could negatively impact BLM access. Councilwoman Lisa Hatch stated that the development of an archeological center could allow Rangely to “become a real player on the Dinosaur Diamond instead of just a drive through.” It was suggested that funds to support the museum could come from the RDC as opposed to the town’s general fund.
Brixius also let the council know that he was beginning the process of budget development for next year. Council members Andy Key and Andy Shaffer expressed a desire to see a balanced budget in the coming year.
While implementing a lease agreement with Verizon Wireless for the installation of a new cell tower on the property immediately south of Town Hall it was discovered that the Town of Rangely does not officially own the property. In the 1970s it was determined that Town Hall should be owned by a municipal Building Authority in order to obtain financing for the building. Following the repayment of the funds in the 1980s the authority was dissolved but the property title was never transferred to the town, meaning that the Town of Rangely has not officially owned the property for decades. In order to remedy this the council approved a quit claim deed, transferring the property to the Town of Rangely.
The next meeting will be Tuesday, Aug. 8 at 7 p.m.