Moffat County Commission meets with DOLA rep

Also at the meeting

At its regular meeting today, the Moffat County Commission:

• Approved, 3-0, a payroll warrant resolution ending Sept. 18 totaling $664,754.18.

• Approved, 3-0, an annual renewal of the Moffat County Emergency Medical Services medial director provider agreement for Maybell ambulance services with Jon Ossen not to exceed $4,000.

• Approved, 3-0, an annual renewal of the master contract for the Moffat County medical director for the Emergency Medical Services program not to exceed $35,000.

• Approved, 3-0, payroll for the social services department and electronic transactions totaling $562,982.22.

• Approved, 3-0, a quarterly budget supplemental for various county departments with no change to the contingency.

• Approved, 3-0, a five-year oil and gas lease with Yates Petroleum Corp., for the Museum of Northwest Colorado totaling $9,600.

• Approved, 3-0, a five-year oil and gas lease with Yates Petroleum Corp. for the Museum of Northwest Colorado totaling $192.

• Approved, 3-0, a three-year oil and gas lease with The Termo Company for the Moffat County natural resources department totaling $35,200. The lease includes a two-year extension and repayment option.

• Approved, 3-0, to waive the bid process and renew a warranty, support and license agreement with Hart InterCivic, Inc., for five years for maintenance of voting equipment for $39,585 with an amendment in the contract’s termination clause to be replaced with the county’s standard non-appropriations clause.

• Approved, 3-0, to use the remaining 150 hours for a budgeted, part-time information technology department technician totaling $2,921.17.

• Approved, 3-0, a one-year contract for employee health insurance with Great-West Healthcare with an increase of 5.6 percent in overall premiums totaling $148,623. There will be no change to coverage or employee contributions to premiums.

The commission is also scheduled to host a special meeting tonight in Maybell at the Maybell Community Center.

The agenda for that meeting is listed below:

• 6 to 6:05 p.m. Call to order, Pledge of Allegiance, moment of silence

• 6:05 to 6:20 p.m. General Discussion

— Note that the board may discuss any topic relevant to county business, whether or not the topic has been specifically noted on the agenda.

• 6:20 to 6:50 p.m. Discussion of 2011 budget

— Joyce LeFevre of parks

— Sherry Johnson of EMS and ambulance service

— Scott Shaeffer and Sherry Johnson of the volunteer fire department

— Ron Stoffle, Ken White, Charlene Scott and Kathey Ogle of the community center

— Rose White of the women’s club

— Gene Bittler and Dennis Ogle of the sanitation district

For a recap of today’s commission meeting, read Wednesday’s Craig Daily Press or visit www.craigdailypre...>

The Moffat County Commission met Tuesday with a representative from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs to discuss the future of energy impact grants and direct distribution.

The commission hosted a workshop with DOLA regional manager Elyse Ackerman after its regular meeting.

Moffat County Commissioner Tom Mathers said his biggest complaint with energy impact grants is that money should come back to communities impacted by energy development.

Ackerman said Mathers’ view is a common one.

“I don’t disagree with you at all,” she said. “I have the unique position of being able to be that messenger.”

The county commission applied for two DOLA grants for county road improvements in July, but DOLA announced in August the grant program would be temporarily suspended.

Energy impact funds are made up of portions of taxes from federal mineral leases and severance tax money. Portions of the funds collected are re-distributed to local entities to fund projects aimed at offsetting impacts from the energy industry.

Ackerman said the state decided to hold the DOLA grant money to use for the state’s budget. Ackerman said the grants have been suspended indefinitely, but said she is hopeful they will return.

“Tough decisions are going to have to be made, and I hope that local government is given due consideration,” she said.

DOLA grant money being used to balance the state budget doesn’t sit well with Mathers, he said.

“What I don’t consider fair is that the governor, on his own, has killed the goose that laid the golden egg that puts the money into DOLA for our energy impact funds,” he said. “Now, what little funds he has left, he is keeping to balance his budget.”

Ackerman said it is her job “to be the voice” of local governments, but Mathers said after the meeting he was doubtful about the impact the commission’s concerns would have on DOLA decisions.

“She’ll probably take the word back that we are unhappy with the way the funding is (done) and that the energy impact grants are gone, but I’m sure that is the message they get from everybody,” he said.

Moreover, Mathers said the county has taken the impact of the energy industry without seeing the benefits.

“Usually with an impact, you have a growth, and we experienced the impacts without growth,” he said. “The big fields are up in Wyoming and in Rio Blanco (County), and so they just used our county roads driving back and forth. We never had a bunch of work here, they just tore the heck out of our roads.”

Ackerman said there are “statewide impacts” from energy development.

“I think for those communities that benefit from it, they may not experience direct impacts, but the argument is that they do experience indirect impacts,” she said.

Ackerman also discussed recent DOLA allocations of federal mineral lease taxes and severance tax direct distributions.

Moffat County and Craig each received about $600,000 less in direct distribution from severance taxes this year. Federal mineral lease tax money remained about the same in the county, while the city received $118,730 less.

Moffat County Budget Analyst Tinneal Gerber said the county saw one of its highest returns on severance tax in 2009 because of oil and gas production in 2008.

Although severance tax funds dropped in Moffat County this year, Ackerman said DOLA started allocating more of the taxes to direct distribution and less to the grant program.

“So even though the grants aren’t as available right now, at least the direct distribution actually has grown,” she said.

Commissioner Tom Gray said he would like to see more DOLA funding in the county, hopefully in the form of direct distributions.

“I’d prefer it was all direct distribution to the counties of origin,” he said. “But, that will never happen.”

Ackerman also addressed how DOLA would interact with a new governor. She said DOLA has a “transition plan” to manage a change in administration.

“(It will) help educate the new administration on the challenges local governments face,” she said. “(It will also) help educate them on the role that DOLA plays in those communities, and to make sure that the communication chain is in place.”

Mathers said after the meeting he hoped a new governor would change the way DOLA allocates energy impact grants and direct distributions to counties.

“If the administration changes, maybe the outlook for natural resources will change a little bit,” he said. “There will be more monies in the pot to where the state will get healthy and there will be monies left to distribute to the counties for energy impacts.”

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