Commission examines raising county fees

Regulation for agriculture buildings possible

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At its Monday meeting, the Moffat County Commission:

• Approved a supplement to the county budget, which county Budget Analyst Tinneal Gerber said was mainly to roll over grant money and project expenses from 2007.

Any projects budgeted in 2007 that won't be completed until this year have to be moved to this year's budget, Gerber said.

As part of the supplement, the Moffat County Sheriff's Office will use more than $23,000 to outfit patrol cars with video monitoring equipment. The department also will use $3,000 in payments from the U.S. Forest Service to purchase extra rifles and tasers.

The county Road and Bridge Department will use $3,700 in extra overtime funds to help pay for training for a new part-time position.

The Natural Resources Department will roll over more than $14,000 it received as a grant for sage grouse projects. The department is still looking for a good project, Gerber said.

The county contingency budget remains at $200,000.

• Reappointed Al Shepherd and Chris Wilkey to the Moffat County Board of Appeals.

• Reappointed Janice Nicoletto to the Emergency Medical Services Council.

• Reappointed Melton Sullivan to The Memorial Hospital board.

• Signed a letter to the State Land Board requesting permission to install guardrails on County Road 101.

• Signed a Notice of Intent to conduct exploratory operations on public Bureau of Land Management land for sand and clay.

• Signed a letter of support for groundwater research grant. The money will help fund a project to determine the effects on well water and surface water from energy drilling activity, which pulls large amounts of water from the ground.

The Moffat County Commission tabled a revised county fee schedule, one that could raise prices and introduce the first example of regulating agriculture buildings, at its Monday meeting.

The Commission plans to revisit the issue at a workshop Thursday.

The county spends a lot of time conducting site investigations at supposed agriculture building sites, county Building Inspector Pat Mosbey said.

To help with those investigations, and help the county keep accurate records, the county Building Department recommended the Commission pass a $10 use verification fee for construction designated as an agriculture building.

A resident building an agriculture building would file with the county, and the $10 would be used to pay for administrative costs, Mosbey said. Nothing else regarding agriculture buildings would change.

Agriculture buildings can be used for storing farm goods, such as harvest or hay, and animals. Under county building codes, they are exempt from inspections and the building application process.

But, the county often receives reports these buildings are being used for other purposes, such as a mechanics shop or vehicle garage, Mosbey said.

With this process, "we don't have to do site investigations, we can look in the file. We don't want to interfere with people's right to do an agriculture building, but we have a lot of people abuse that exemption."

Commissioner Tom Gray did not want to pass a regulation that could pave the way for further oversight in this case.

He noted that even with a file, the building inspector would have to visit the site to check the real purpose of the building.

Although that is true for most cases, it is hoped the new process would cut down on the number of people who fraudulently claim agriculture buildings, Mosbey said.

"This way, if they're going to lie to me, they have to lie to me in writing," Mosbey said. "It's harder to lie on a piece of paper and sign your name to it."

Commissioner Tom Mathers worried having someone file with the county would present its own obstacles, even outside the fee.

"The worst part isn't the 10 bucks, it's coming to town to be able to do it," Mathers said.

That shouldn't be a big issue, county Budget Analyst Tinneal Gerber said.

The Building Department keeps many of its records and applications on its Web site. This file could be added there and people could print it and send it by mail, Gerber said.

Mosbey also recommended increasing the contractor registry fee from $35 to $50.

Other decisions pending include increasing the fee for certified copies of marriage licenses, increasing fees from the Moffat County Sheriff's Department for services such as delivering subpoenas and establishing a fee for records requests on CDs. Residents have asked for audio, video and photo records, Gerber said, and the county could start providing these on CDs for a possible $20 charge.

The Commission also looked at fee changes for the Moffat County Fairgrounds, which include raising rates for renting spaces by $75. The extra money would pay for cleaning costs because the fairgrounds have had trouble with people not cleaning after functions, Gerber said.

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