Commission 'tickled' about growth

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At its Wednesday meeting, the Moffat County Commission:

• Signed a letter of support for the Aging Well Program's grant application to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

• Awarded mineral leases for county-owned minerals on almost 1,280 acres north of Craig, near Colorado Highway 13, to Baseline Minerals. The company will pay certain royalties and $201.11 per acre, totaling $257,408, for a three-year lease with a two-year extension company option.

• Awarded a mineral lease to Samson Resources for mineral rights on 140 acres west of Craig, near U.S. Highway 40. Samson will pay royalties and $110 per acre, totaling $15,400. The mineral rights were donated to the Museum of Northwest Colorado, and although the museum is classified a county entity, the revenue is earmarked solely for the museum.

• Awarded a bid to Lefever Building Systems to build a sand and salt storage facility for road maintenance. The company will receive $204,750 for the construction project.

Previously, the Commission withheld awarding the project because the bids it received were significantly higher than the county budgeted for. Commissioner Tom Gray wanted to resolve whether the Colorado Department of Local Affairs would contribute extra funds, and also resolve where the county would find extra funds to make up any slack, before a decision was made.

It was reported that commissioner Saed Tayyara had a positive phone call with a DOLA representative for a 50 percent match. Gray also recognized sales tax revenues were higher than expected and that surplus could fund most, if not all, of additional funding needed

Two Moffat County commissioners shared optimistic expectations for the future Wednesday morning.

"I'm tickled because a growing community is a healthy community," commissioner Tom Mathers said.

Wednesday marked the first day Craig's Wal-Mart SuperCenter is open, and the first day after Moffat County voters passed two tax questions the commissioners thought would make the county a better place to live.

Mathers and commissioner Tom Gray commented after the Moffat County Commission meeting Wednesday morning. Commissioner Saed Tayyara was absent because he was attending an Associated Government of Northwest Colorado meeting out of town.

The two tax questions, referendums 1A and 3A, raised county property taxes to fund hospital and school district construction projects.

"I was hoping these initiatives (the tax questions) would pass," Mathers said. "This town is youthful, vigorous and a good place to be."

Gray agreed.

"It's indicative of the general sense of optimism," Gray said. "Businesses are doing well, jobs are plentiful, and people seem generally satisfied with the way their governments are handling things."

The only hiccup? There are too many available jobs and businesses can't find enough employees, the commissioners said.

"What a problem to have, too many jobs," Gray added.

Gray was especially happy that the voting system worked.

"Whether you voted yes or no, you get good government when the process works," Gray said. "And the promotion aspect of it (the campaigns) was a minimal effect, I think. It's the information.

"People are very astute in Moffat County," Gray added. "They vote based on the information and not because someone says, 'Oh, this is a good idea.'"

Historically, Moffat County has voted down new taxes, but recent elections have gone differently in the past two November elections - this year's and in 2006, when voters passed referendums for Colorado Northwestern Community College and the Fire District - because of information, Mathers said.

"They've gone out and educated the voters and put the information out there," he said.

Mathers was only surprised turnout was so low in Dinosaur. The town usually has at least more than 100, the commissioners said, but this year 39 residents cast ballots for referendums 1A and 3A, which raise county taxes for what might be considered Craig-only facilities.

"If I was in Dinosaur, I'd have voted no," Mathers said.

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