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PLEASE NOTE: Budget workshops are ongoing and we will be covering those discussions as space allows over the next few weeks. Call in at 970-878-9432 to listen to county workshops (schedule on page 6B), or listen to full recordings at www.soundcloud.com/heraldtimes1885
RBC | With school back in session, reports of child welfare concerns have picked back up for the county’s Department of Human Services, department head Barb Bofinger told the Board of County Commissioners Tuesday in Rangely.
Calls about child welfare dropped off during the COVID-19 shutdowns, Bofinger said, and have picked back up now that school is back in session.
Staffing continues to be a challenge, and they’ve conducted interviews and are “hopefully close” to hiring. In the meantime, Garfield County has agreed to act as the “Red Team” which does assessments on referrals and determines next steps.
“That’s been extremely helpful and frees up child welfare to not do those,” Bofinger said.
“DHS in rural Colorado is a pretty tough program all over the state right now,” commented Commissioner Jeff Rector.
Bofinger agreed, saying it’s difficult for Northwest Colorado to be thrown in with the surrounding counties that are resort and tourism driven. “They have a lot of money to be able to provide a lot of services. That’s where Moffat [County] and I participate frequently with the Southwest group of directors. We have similar issues.”
In addition, the county has brought in the SelfCare program, which is voluntary and prevention-focused. “It does reduce incidence of child abuse and neglect,” Bofinger said. Contact DHS if you have an interest in that program.
Asked if she thinks the numbers for child welfare will begin to slow down, Bofinger said, “I wish I could say yes. I think with the economy I don’t necessarily see it. We’re seeing more drugs in Meeker than we’ve seen. The only way I see it slowing down is if the school shut down again because we won’t have eyes on those kids.”
COVID funding will be used to provide 20 laptops and 20-23 replacement desktop computers for county staff.
“That will give us the opportunity to provide laptops for employees to take home if we shut down again,” IT Director Dylon Merrell told commissioners. “And the others will replace desktops here at the county when the budget will be tough to buy them.”
Plans are underway to provide computers and needed equipment for the sheriff’s department.
The computers for sheriff’s patrol vehicles and the laptops are COVID funded, but the desktops are the completion of a county capital project.
During the regular meeting, the board approved the Meeker 4-H Open House event plan; awarded a bid to Meeker and Rangely Airport Insurance to sole bidder and current insurer Transportation Risk Management; approved a contract modification with Ducey’s Electric for museum lighting conversion project, decreasing cost to $10,693; approved a limited access easement with Rodney Dunham related to Meeker Airport drainage system; approved an agreement for services with TKC Tel-Com LLC to provide services to the RBC Detention Center; approve an agreement with TW Vending Inc. to provide various inmate services to the RBC Detention Center; approved a court security grant fund; approved a revised IGA with VA Western Colorado Healthcare Systems to offer telehealth service to veteran patients; and told a longtime resident they would look into the reason behind restrictions on travel to Grand Junction and Vernal on the senior bus.
The board continued with budget workshops Tuesday afternoon for the Rangely Airport and Columbine Park.