CNCC-Meeker connection discussed

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Colorado Northwestern Community College's presence in Meeker was one of the topics discussed at the joint board meeting held in Craig on Wednesday.

To the dismay of many Meeker residents, the college closed its office in Meeker in June. Declining enrollments along with mandated budget cuts led to the closure.

CNCC Vice President Dean Hollenbeck said it has never been the intent to end services for Meeker and that the issue of a presence is continually being addressed.

"We have made an agreement with the school district for a contact spot, and we continue to keep our classroom," Hollenbeck said. With the change in job duties and the addition of other responsibilities, CNCC regional representative Sandy Kloos has had very limited time to be in Meeker.

Hollenbeck said that was going to change soon.

Rangely Junior College Board Chairman John Sims said he was concerned because the topic of increasing the special taxing district to include Meeker would be a difficult sell if there was no presence in Meeker.

"The interest in that proposal has seemed to subsided some and I am hearing it is largely due to the lack of presence," Sims said.

Sims said it made sense to include Meeker in the district so residents there can take advantage of all the college has to offer. It's an option the Rangely board is willing to explore.

"Tuition buy-down is one of the huge assets that can be offered in Rangely and Craig but not an option for Meeker, Hayden or South Routt," Sims said.

Rangely board member Peggy Rector suggested the administrators could play a huge role in presenting the possibility of Meeker becoming a tax district simply by being a presence in Meeker.

"The Meeker Business in Action and the City Council meetings are good places to start," she said.

CNCC Interim Chief Financial Officer Bob Rizzuto said he and MBA chairman Tony Weiss had discussed that and he agreed to take part in those meetings.

"I am anxious to move forward helping Meeker in any way I can," Rizzuto said.

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