Moffat County Commission sets goals for new year

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Also at the meeting

At its regular meeting today, the Moffat County Commission:

• Approved, 3-0, transfer of payments of warrants for the month of December totaling $219,004.96.

• Approved, 3-0, payment of payroll warrants ending Dec. 25 totaling $406,491.26.

• Approved, 3-0, a corporate account credit line with Amazon.com for the Moffat County Libraries with estimated purchases of $5,000 per month.

• Approved, 3-0, a fuel management system software contract for the road and bridge department with Gilbarco Inc., doing business as Gasboy totaling $972.

• Approved, 3-0, reappointing commissioner Tom Gray to the Colorado River Water Conservation District Board of Directors through 2014.

• Approved, 3-0, a subscription renewal with AllData for the road and bridge department totaling $1,573.50.

• Approved, 3-0, a quarterly statement certification of public trustee with revenues totaling $8,320 and expenses totaling $4,706.01.

• Approved, 3-0, a five-county region core mental health services with the Child and Family Counseling Center of Glenwood Springs for parent and child interaction evaluation at $140 per hour not to exceed a total of $3,000.

• Approved, 3-0, resolution 11-01 regarding posting county commission meeting dates and times. The resolution stated the meeting schedules will be posted in the main corridor of the Moffat County Courthouse for regular and special meetings on each Tuesday.

• Approved, 3-0, resolution 11-02 setting the approved depositories for the Moffat County Treasurer including Bank of the West, First National Bank of the Rockies, Bank of Colorado and Yampa Valley Bank and to invest funds in COLO Trust, C. Safe, LPL Financial Services, Edward D. Jones, Multi-Bank Securities, Inc., and any eligible public depositories on the public deposit protection act’s list of approved depositories.

• Approved, 3-0, a memorandum of understanding between the Moffat County Attorney’s Office and social services for various reimbursements for the county attorney and paralegal for 2011.

• Approved, 3-0, a healthcare reform provision amendment for Moffat County’s Section 125 Cafeteria Plan.

• Approved, 3-0, a landfill services contract amendment with Tri-State Generation & Transmission’s Craig Station extending services through 2011.

• Approved, 3-0, naming the Craig Daily Press as the official county newspaper in 2011.

• Approved, 3-0, entering into executive discussion with Bill Mack and Linda DeRose of the road and bridge department and county attorney Jeremy Snow to discuss the county’s gravel leases.

• Approved, 3-0, a one-year grant application for Connections 4 Kids from the Temple Hoyne Buell grant fund totaling $36,756 to increase educational support and professional development of early childhood providers in Moffat and Rio Blanco counties.

• Tabled, 3-0, a bid recommendation for purchase of county stationery in 2011.

Last year was one Moffat County Commissioner Tom Mathers won’t remember fondly.

“It has just been a tough year,” he said after the commission’s Tuesday meeting. “The change we’ve seen over this last year hasn’t been healthy change for Moffat County.”

Mathers referenced rising unemployment, attacks on the area’s natural resource industries and other news as signs the county “bottomed out” in 2010.

But, the commissioner added, “There is only one way to go now.”

“Man, I am glad this is over with,” Mathers said. “At least it is just a date to start and say, ‘We’ve got another year that hopefully there is light at the end of the tunnel.’”

Mathers contends there are signs of hope for the area.

He thinks recent announcements of Western Slope residents in governor-elect John Hickenlooper’s administration as well as other appointments to key state seats could indicate remedies for the area’s woes are on the way.

But, that doesn’t mean the commission doesn’t have goals to ensure the county isn’t hit as hard in 2011 as it was in 2010, Mathers said.

Mathers said the area’s coal and natural resource industries were “beat up” last year —something he said is part of a growing national sentiment.

The commissioner said he has heard there will be a large push regarding “coal to gas” in the state legislature this year.

That’s why Mathers said he isn’t changing his goal of fighting for those industries.

“That is going to be a big push we’ll make is ‘quit taking away our natural resources, give us a chance to show you how clean we can burn coal,’” Mathers said.

Mathers added the commission must “try to convince them that coal isn’t the devil.”

Commissioner Tom Gray said he expects 2011 to be a busy year.

“We can see there is a lot coming at us this year — some things coming sooner than others and probably, frankly, some will come from out of nowhere,” he said. “But, the attack continues and mostly it originates in the extreme environmental and regulatory front.”

Gray said his top priorities for the year included running the county efficiently and doing what he could about the local economy and area jobs.

“We are going to be full-time this year,” he said. “We are going to have to fight for the economy and the primary job base that is here in this county, which is basically natural resources. That is where almost all of the dollars originate.”

The commissioner also hopes to maintain the county’s infrastructure while keeping the budget “healthy,” he said.

“We have to prioritize our services or level of service, in some cases, continue to implement efficiency measures, which we have been doing the last year, and maintain some healthy reserves to accommodate changes that might come unforeseen,” he said.

Commissioner Audrey Danner agreed, adding the budget remains one of her highest priorities.

“It has to be … that is what drives all of our projects,” she said. “We need goals and a plan for the future, and our budget with anticipated revenue drives that.”

Danner said she also hopes to engage in strategic planning to have a better idea of what the county’s future projects and priorities may be.

“That would include creating those efficiencies within departments and helping department heads do their very best job because we have very good employees on staff here and we want to keep all of them on staff,” she said.

Danner agreed with Mathers that 2010 was challenging, but added she expects much of the same from 2011.

She said the commission was “second-guessed on many decisions” by residents last year, but that is part of the public process.

“I look at it as the more information we can give to the communities of Moffat County about what our intentions (are and) what our plan is for the future and what that will look like, that will help us get feedback in a timely manner,” Danner said.

Danner said she would continue to interact with the public on multiple levels, including community events and governmental functions.

That will allow her, she said, to use feedback more effectively when making decisions and “so that we are aware of what is the future of our region and state and nation,” she said.

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