Moffat County Commissioner Audrey Danner speaks during a work session Tuesday night about lease negotiations concerning the Craig Police Department’s renting of space in the Moffat County Public Safety Center. The original lease, which provided the police department with free rent, expires in August 2011.

Photo by Shawn McHugh

Moffat County Commissioner Audrey Danner speaks during a work session Tuesday night about lease negotiations concerning the Craig Police Department’s renting of space in the Moffat County Public Safety Center. The original lease, which provided the police department with free rent, expires in August 2011.

Safety center lease at issue in Craig



The Moffat County Sheriff’s Office, Craig Police Department, Colorado State Patrol and the Moffat County Jail all operate out of the 45,482 square foot Moffat County Public Safety Center, pictured here Tuesday, on 1st Street. The police department occupies 2,258 square feet of exclusive space in the center.

Also at the meeting

In other news, the Craig City Council:

• Approved, 7-0, Aug. 24 meeting minutes.

• Approved, 7-0, August bills totaling $485,336.38

• Approved, 7-0, a site plan for hardware, feed and lumber buildings on Lot 1 of the Sawer Replat requested by MJK Sales & Feed.

• Approved, 7-0, the second reading of ordinance No. 1007 to amend Section 6.20.010 of the Craig Municipal Code to conform to the section title concerning livestock and fowl.

• Introduced ordinance No. 1008 to amend Section 9.42.040 of the Craig Municipal Code to conform to state noise laws concerning motor vehicles engaging an engine compression device.

• Heard a presentation from Kandee Dilldine on the 2010 Grand Olde West Days.

• Heard a presentation from the Bella Voce Chorus.

• Heard a monthly report for the Craig Police Department.

Craig City Council member Byron Willems has an idea of how area law enforcement agencies will be affected if negotiations are not resolved concerning the Craig Police Department’s lease of the Moffat County Public Safety Center.

“If this doesn’t work out, law enforcement in Moffat County and the City of Craig will be damaged,” he said in a work session Tuesday. “We have to always remember that it works great the way it is.”

Willems was discussing an expiring lease agreement between the county and city for the police department to rent space in the safety center.

Members of the Moffat County Commission, Craig City Council and several members of the community attended a work session Tuesday night at the Moffat County Courthouse concerning details of the expiring lease.

The sides did not reach an agreement.

The safety center encompasses 45,482 square feet, and houses the Moffat County Sheriff’s Office, Craig Police Department, Moffat County Jail, Colorado State Patrol Troop 4B and a dispatch center.

The safety center opened in 2001. The city provided the county with 17 acres to build the center.

An agreement was reached that the police department would be provided with free rent, utilities, janitorial services and routine maintenance for 10 years in exchange for the land, according to a sublease signed in 2002.

The city pays for telephone and other communications costs, insurance premiums, and repairs, according to the sublease.

The 10 years of free rent for the police department, however, ends in August 2011.

The sublease outlines how the city should then be charged for rent on the 2,258 square feet of exclusive space and 3,000 square feet of shared space the police department occupies.

The sublease states the city will pay rent for use of the exclusive space and its portion of the shared space to be determined by a “fair division between all space users of the actual costs, including utilities of operating the building.”

“To establish ‘fair share,’ consideration shall be given to the hours of operation of exclusive space, including the jail … the equipment utilized in each space and the benefit received from common space,” the sublease reads.

The county commission and county attorney Jeremy Snow presented projections on the city’s possible future lease costs based on current operating costs of the building.

Moffat County Commissioner Audrey Danner said she wanted to emphasize a “fair and reasonable cost, but the primary goal (is to) keep all entities in one facility and we need to maintain that relationship.”

Danner said the police department occupies about 11.5 percent of the building, which places the city’s portion of total operating costs at $256,591 per year. The facility currently costs $2.21 million per year to operate.

Craig Mayor Don Jones said Tuesday he “can’t justify spending that kind of money for nothing.”

“It is hard for me to justify to the citizens of Craig that we are going to spend $200,000 a year for a couple rooms about this size and some shared space,” Jones said. “It would be better for me to go build a brand new building right across the street.”

Commissioner Tom Gray asked if it was unfair the city pay 11.5 percent of the operating costs considering it is a shared facility.

“(It) goes back to what is best for the whole community,” Gray said. “We can get into the weeds with who is paying the most taxes, or we can say, ‘Well, you know, it is a facility that serves us all.’ We are asking for some help because times are tough.”

One of the main topics of discussion at the meeting was whether or not the police department’s lease should include a percentage of the operating costs of the Moffat County Jail.

According to information presented by the commission, operating costs of the jail total $294,435, and $1.43 million per year to staff.

Snow said the police department’s future lease is obligated to include portions of the operation costs of the whole building.

“It doesn’t say the actual cost of operating the exclusive space and shared space of the Craig Police Department,” he said. “It says the building.”

City attorney Kenny Wohl said state statutes clearly read that the county is responsible for paying jail expenses.

Snow responded by saying that while state statutes may indicate the county is responsible, the sublease says differently.

“You are saying the language is that clear, but you are ignoring the clear language of the sublease, which sets that cost of the running of the facility, in just plain black and white,” he said.

Craig Police Chief Walt Vanatta said the jail was originally “never contemplated to be part of the shared space of this facility or the operating costs of this facility ever because it is a county jail.”

Council member Jennifer Riley said she “tremendously” resents the contention that the jail should be part of the city’s responsibility because of earlier discussions in the meeting about how many Craig residents are booked into the jail.

“It bothers me because it goes to the way … I feel you legislate the county, which is when it is not beneficial to you, you tend to ignore what is going on in the city or don’t want to be a part of the city,” she said. “But now that revenue is involved … you want the city to participate.”

Jones said the city and county need to reach a fair compromise on the issue, but “with the discussion that we have had tonight, it is not balanced.”

“So we have got a lot of work to do in a short amount of time,” he said.


craigcampnfamlee 6 years, 7 months ago

I guess I am a bit confused the county wants the city to pay for the county jail? I understand there are Craig residents in the county jail, but there are other communities that have citizens in Moffat County jail as well. I would assume you, MC jail, send those communities a bill for housing those inmates? I mean those communities are taking up space too, right?


saunders 6 years, 7 months ago

That is about the dumbest thing I have ever heard. Pay 11% of the total building operating costs. The City has no responsibility to pay for any percentage of a county jail. Would the City receive 11% of funds generated by the jail for importing inmates. The county needs to pull up their big boy pants and charge the City a fair rate for the space the City occupies.


lonelyone 6 years, 7 months ago

HHMMM! I must be looking at this wrong, as I don't think 11% sounds to bad out of 100% operating costs??? I could in a way turn Jennifers statement around and say, you want us to pay taxes to the city and buy locally, but when it comes to voting on stuff that affects us, those of us who live in the county don't have a chance in heck of having a say or being able to vote. We are all Moffat County residents and when I tell people where I live I say I live in Craig.....that is my address after all. Let's get this worked out!


jeff corriveau 6 years, 7 months ago

Sounds like City/County arguements from 20 years ago! Come on folks, get over it! The Public Safety Center is the best thing that ever happened for law enforcement in this community, and for the community as a whole. Live up to the agreements that were previously made and move on to something more important.


justthefacts 6 years, 7 months ago

Fact: Commercial lease rates in Denver run between $4.25 Sq ft, to $19.00 per sq ft in prime retail locations.

Fact: The Moffat County Commissioners want $88.00 per sq ft, for 2258 ft of space. If the 3000 Sq foot of Common space is included at a full rate, the price drops DRAMAtically to only $38.00 per square foot.

Fact: This is not Denver! Average retail leases in Craig go for $6.00 per square foot.

Fact: The Moffat County Commissioners are trying to get to someone here!!!!! ( The tax payers maybe?)

Fact: The City should not have to pay for the Jail and it's employees, that is a County responisibility? ( Ask the Governor)

Comment: Good job Jenny!!! The County Commissioners always seem to forget that city residents are also in FACT, county residents. (60%-70% or so.)

Hey, wait just one minute, I thought that the prior Sheriff's administration and County Commissioners told us that the jail would pay for it's self!!!!!!! (Did someone make up a big fat story for us poor unsuspecting voters??)

Question: Where's the BEEF? How much money has the jail made in the past 10 short years?

Just the facts of who is attempting to do what to whom


jeff corriveau 6 years, 7 months ago

JTF: Go get "the facts" and you'll find that the jail MORE than pays for itself! The question you should be asking is "where is the REST of the money going?". It's about 500K per year more than the debt service! Don't ask the prior administration; ask the current County Commissioners


Vermillion 6 years, 7 months ago

If my memory serves me correctly, I think Sheriff Jeff and the Safety Center Committee told the residents of Moffat County that the new facility would not cost the residents of Moffat County anything. The jail would pay for itself by taking in prisoners from around the state and federal prisoners. Show me the money! Sounds like VP Cheney telling us that the Iraq War would cost the US anything because the oil revenues would pay for the war. The county has the statutory obligation to provide for a jail. Has the county accounted for all the revenue received in housing prisoners? Maybe an independent audit is needed.


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