WRBM to seek mill levy increase for pool repairs, maintenance

Rangely’s Town Board of Trustees convened on Tuesday, Dec. 14 for a full meeting. 

Trustee Tim Webber switched hats from town trustee to director of the parks and recreation district to address the board regarding a bond to increase mill levies. He described the rec center ceiling dropping 2 inches and a crack in the pool causing a loss of 80,000 gallons of water per 24 hours. Webber gave a brief overview of the district’s accounting of the 1996 mill levies and the operating budget. He expressed the emergent need to pass the bond by November 2022 in order to keep the WRBM district open. “At what point does a community stop cannibalizing itself for tax dollars and start getting rid of services?” Webber said.

Trustee Don Davidson asked if insurance helps pay for expenditures related to utility damages. 

The town briefly discussed public input they have received. Mary Ann Allred has been working to address concerns regarding the lack of a bike path or lane connecting the official bike trail to Elks Park and Parkview Elementary. Webber and Town Manager Lisa Piering said they agree with Allred on the need for this path and offered several options, including the completion of the bike path created on the south side of Elks Park as the preferred starting point or a loop through the park vs. creating a bike lane on Bell St. Piering suggested a team effort between the town and WRBM to secure funding, ideally with grants, to create a safe and desirable bike path for the community. 

The board heard the first and final reading of Emergency Ordinance 698-2021, an ordinance creating Election Code in the Rangely Municipal Code, Title 2, of Administration and Personnel, adding 2.10 Municipal Elections, allowing for write in candidates 2.10.100 and allowing for the cancellation of the election 2.10.150. The objective is to reduce the need for the resources invested in holding elections if the number of candidates does not exceed the minimum required. Town Clerk Marybel Cox said the cost of an election is about $5,000-6,000. Trustees also held a public hearing for the 2022 budget resolutions, 2021-08, 2021-09, 2021-10 summarizing expenditures and Revenues for the General Fund, Water Fund, Wastewater Fund, Gas Fund, Conservation Trust Fund, Housing Assistance Fund, RDA Fund, RDC Fund, Rangely Housing Authority (White River Village) and the Rangely Foundation for Public Giving for Fiscal year beginning Jan. 1, 2022.

Committee and board meetings discussed the closing of the jail and Mayor Andy Shaffer offered to share details from the meeting at a later time or during the meeting and stated that Sheriff Anthony Mazzola had justifications for the action. The board briefly discussed their personal opinions on the matter with Town Manager Lisa Piering noting “It’s closed so…” 

Police Chief Ti Hamblin shared an update from the police department highlighting Lieutenant Phil Stubblefield’s retirement, a party to honor him will be held on Jan. 3  at noon at Town Hall. Sergeant Rich Garner will be promoted on Dec. 31 at 8:30 a.m. at Town Hall. Hamblin recognized the awkward timing of these wonderful events but said it was best to align them with the switching of call signs. Garner will also be the handgun instructor for the department. Hamblin shared that the dispatch team was fully staffed for the first time in a while, highlighting Duke’s promotion to full time, Cheyenne Steele’s promotion to lead dispatcher/administrative assistant, and the re-hiring of Tracy Cook and how great that felt as Chief. The Polar Plunge event was noted and Hamblin shared that while the department only raised $673 of the $1,500 goal, it was a wholesome and enjoyable event. Other key highlights include the donation of riot gear, intoxilyzer recertification by Public Health, two open positions with three applicants who all have some experience, all officers attended arrest control training, Officer Hilton’s attendance to K-9 legal update, and Hamblin’s continued teaching at the CNCC Park Ranger Academy. Dispatcher Kimber Millard traveled to teach in Steamboat Springs, which highlights a first as a Rangely dispatcher traveling as an instructor. Sgt. Garner attended a handgun instructor course and is now the department’s handgun instructor.

Town Manager Lisa Piering’s updates include the completion of the La Mesa project with efforts from Jeff LeBleu and all departments. The Kennedy Drive bike path was paved and discourages people from driving over it. The concrete was poured for the solar lights and that project is awaiting the arrival of the lights. The Headworks Wastewater project is moving forward and funding has been awarded. Human resource personnel policies updates are being integrated. A contracted company, Lexipol, is reviewing current policies and Piering is hopeful that it will help alleviate misconceptions. Shop & Dine was successful after a slow start. Carly Thomson (Rio Blanco County Public Information and Program Manager) will be attending the RDA/RDC meeting to inform those in attendance regarding Just Transition funding toward possible programs Rangely can participate in, particularly in support of Cogency Power and its goals. 

Officer Millard presented to the Town Council his final project from field training highlighting the value of school resource officers (SROs). SROs take on multiple roles including counseling, knowing the policies and laws regarding children, and being educators in law and guidance of children to be responsible citizens. He also highlighted the ability to investigate when laws are broken whether by adults or children and his ability to serve in cases involving students already since beginning his service in Rangely. While it is not believed that a full-time SRO is feasible in Rangely, Millard shared that he has had discussions with Jasper Winston of Bible Baptist Church School and Rangely School District principals Crandal Mergelman and Carlene Cantrell and the consensus is to have a known officer presence. Colorado Revised Statute 24-31-312 “School Resource Officer Training” requires that each municipal law enforcement agency shall employ at least one peace officer who has completed the training curriculum and Officer Millard emphasizes his desire to fulfill this duty for Rangely school district. He advocated that Town Manager Lisa Piering and Chief Hamblin co-sign his training. Several members of the board supported Officer Millard, his reasoning and the need for the police department to be invested in the schools. 

In other business, the board appointed Jerry LeBleu as school board representative to the town and swore in interim town trustee Kodi Rae Nelson. 

By KATIE KING | Special to The Herald Times

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.