“He’s not even close to a county manager. He’ll have nothing to do with finances, he’ll have nothing to do with telling people what to do like a county manager would. He answers directly to the commissioners. His job is to be the boots on the ground and make sure we get our projects done and done right.”
— Moffat County Commissioner Tom Mathers
For a man who has spent more than 29 years in construction, there’s nothing sweeter than the first signs of spring.
But before Moffat County’s newest employee can begin work on a slate of projects scheduled for this year, he has to navigate the paperwork.
“Right now I’m just sorting through a number of projects the county has budgeted for,” said Roy Tipton, Moffat County developmental services director. “All are in the initial phases of gathering quotes, material takeoffs and starting the bid process.
“But, I’m itching to get dirty. Field work is really the best part of the job.”
Tipton, 51, has been at the helm of the developmental services department for two weeks. The position was created in accordance with the Moffat County Commission’s June 2011 strategic plan to streamline county departments and make them more efficient.
The new department was established by merging the building and planning departments, which are headed by Pat Mosbey and Jerry Hoberg, respectively.
Some may confuse Tipton’s role with a county manager, but county officials said the new position is far from that role.
“I’m not real familiar with those other (city manager and county manager) positions,” Tipton said. “I was hired as a project manager and to build this department.
“I can see from being here for all of two weeks that a lot more can be managed out of this department and we’ll address those things day by day, but county manager is not the job.”
Commissioner Tom Mathers said there are no plans to hire a county manager or to expand Tipton’s responsibility into other departments.
“He’s not even close to a county manager,” Mathers said. “He’ll have nothing to do with finances, he’ll have nothing to do with telling people what to do like a county manager would. He answers directly to the commissioners.
“His job is to be the boots on the ground and make sure we get our projects done and done right.”
The first thing on Tipton’s agenda is starting survey work at Shadow Mountain, which could potentially be the biggest project of the summer.
Moffat County and the City of Craig are working together to replace the subdivision’s water and sewer mains, in addition to roads, curbs, gutters and sidewalks.
The county earmarked $2.5 million for its share of the project and provided the city with a $500,000 gift to help get sewer and water upgrades under way.
But the city is about $1 million short and officials don’t know if they can commit to the work this year.
Craig City Manager Jim Feree said the city is looking into grants through the Colorado Department of Local Affairs to try to come up with the rest of the money.
And, because DOLA tends to award grants for projects that are “shovel ready,” city employees began assessing the condition of Shadow Mountain’s water and sewer lines.
The county is gearing up for its groundwork as well, Tipton said.
“We’re preparing to put out (requests for proposals) for engineering work, soil samples and surveying,” Tipton said. “That’s what we’re doing, so from our end we’ll be ready to go. I expect to get the engineering back in mid-June and surveying will take about a month (once we get started).”
In addition to Shadow Mountain, Tipton said plans are in the works to increase exhibit and storage space at the Museum of Northwest Colorado. The Luttrell Barn has also been tagged for a restoration.
It’s going to be a busy season, Tipton said, and he has already received the support of his county colleagues.
“What we’re doing out of this office is project management because department heads don’t have the time to go out for bid and then see a project all the way through,” Tipton said. “From that aspect, I think everyone is excited to have us here.”
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