Steamboat settles for $90K in bus depot dispute

In other action

At its Tuesday meeting, the Moffat County Commission:

• Approved, 2-0, sponsoring the city of Craig's annual Whittle the Wood Rendezvous, scheduled for June 17 to 20 at Craig City Park.

The Commission also approved sending a letter to the Craig City Council expressing its concern about underage drinking at the event. Commissioner Tom Gray said underage drinking may become a serious problem for the event, and Commissioner Tom Mathers requested the county start a discussion with the city.

• Approved, 2-0, a bid for $7,065 from Craig-based Wheeler Manufacturing to build a stairway at the Public Safety Center. It was the low bid submitted.

The original bid was for two sets of stairs for $8,863, but the Commission recently toured the Safety Center and decided one set of stairs would be enough.

• Approved, 2-0, allowing the Moffat County Sheriff's Office and Maybell Fire Department to apply for a Colorado State Forest Service grant.

If approved, the grant would fund $1,271 for 10 new fire shelters, five for the Sheriff's Office and five for the Maybell Fire Department. The grant requires an equal match, so both local entities would have to split another $1,271 to purchase the shelters.

• Approved, 2-0, personnel requisitions for a part-time master control operator at the Public Safety Center and a full-time Moffat County Housing Authority director.

• Former Housing Director Jan Reece resigned.

• Approved, 2-0, bids for an irrigation system and sod for the new soccer fields at Loudy-Simpson Park.

The Commission accepted a $12,661 from Grand Junction Pipe for the irrigation materials, and an $85,439 bid from Fort Collins-based Green Lawn Sod Company for sod. Both bids were the lowest submitted.

Funding for the purchases is provided entirely through a Great Outdoors Colorado grant.

Moffat County Commissioner Tom Mathers said he thinks a five-figure compromise between Moffat County and the city of Steamboat Springs will help the two governments maintain a good relationship after more than a year of dispute.

The county commission ended its financial claim against Steamboat on Monday after the city agreed to pay $90,000 for county losses related to the demolition of the old county shop on East Victory Way.

Mathers said he is glad the county and Steamboat can put the episode behind them.

"They felt like they were doing the right thing, and we felt like we were doing the right thing," Mathers said, referring to settlement negotiations that began in March 2008. "It all went back to the fact that we felt like they had broken the agreement we had."

Steamboat purchased the land underneath the old shop in 2005 for $220,000 to build a Steamboat Transit bus terminal on the east side of Craig.

The original agreement signed between Steamboat and the county stated the city would preserve all the structural steel inside the old shop and in return, Moffat County would give Steamboat free access to its landfill for any site cleanup.

Construction crews hired by Steamboat to demolish the building were unable to preserve the steel, however, which the commission contends constituted a breach of contract.

County officials also think Steamboat erroneously classified soil at the site as hazardous when it should have been legally termed as contaminated.

In the end, Moffat County requested Steamboat pay back $142,420 in landfill fees, $30,421 for building materials and $111,999 for soil.

Moffat County Attorney Kathleen Taylor said during the commission's Monday meeting that Steamboat first offered $22,000 and then $48,000, but the county rebuffed both proposals.

Accepting the last offer of $90,000 saves the county from paying for arbitration or litigation, Mathers said. It also shows that county and Steamboat officials can work together, which was part of what drew the county to the bus terminal project in the first place.

"This was all over a joint bus garage, and that's an asset to our community," Mathers said.

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