Moffat County Commission: Strategic planning focusing on the ‘big picture’ |

Moffat County Commission: Strategic planning focusing on the ‘big picture’

Brian Smith

Moffat County Commissioner Audrey Danner said there's a reason behind recent county focus sessions aimed at developing long-term strategic plans.

Those plans, she said, will allow the commissioners and various departments to set sights beyond the county's day-to-day operations, and focus on the "big picture" down the road.

"The purpose of having it written down is collecting that information of why we consider those topics and that we can focus on them because I believe if you write something down and make a plan to address it by a certain time with a certain group of people, you will make progress on that goal," she said.

The commission discussed the progress it made last week developing its five-year strategic plan during its regular Tuesday meeting.

Danner said the commission met with several department heads and elected officials to gather feedback on issues important to them and met to compile those comments March 30 and 31 with the help of Weidner Inc., of Austin, Texas.

Weidner also conducted interviews with a sampling of 17 different county elected officials, department heads and employees before last week's meeting.

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Danner said she thought there have been prior strategic plans developed by past county commissions, but they might have been in a different style.

"It is strategic — it is how can we act as a local government to react to those issues facing our community now and those we anticipate that will come," she said.

Last week's discussion yielded three main focus points the commission will develop strategies to meet over the five-year lifespan of the plan, Danner said.

Those goals include energy and economy, regulations and efficiencies.

Commissioner Tom Mathers said the goals were surface-level "philosophies" about "what we can do to continue to make Moffat County healthy" from both an economic and community standpoint.

"A lot of the priorities are what we do already and it was basically to get them in black and white and get some strategies put together of how we would continue to work on these," he said.

Danner said the plan should be compiled, released and approved by the commission at a meeting in a few weeks.

Mathers said the energy section of the plan includes priorities like "going to bat" for the local coal industry and helping local oil and gas production "prosper."

Commissioner Tom Gray said the county had discussions about "what can we do to make a coal mine more viable" as part of larger economic plans.

Gray said the recent history of the energy sector also factored into the economic sections of the plan.

More specifically, he said under former Gov. Bill Ritter's administration, the county spent four years "playing defense."

"What is coming tomorrow and what is he going to do to us next?" he said. "Under (current Gov. John Hickenlooper), it appears that we are going to join him in playing offense for our economy."

Mathers said the county would also spend some time sorting through its various rules and regulations that could "stymie" development in the county and remove unnecessary ones.

"We are going to review all of our old rules and regulations and combine them all in one book," he said. "So, we can eliminate what rules that have been put in and regulations that were put in 50 years ago that no longer have (meaning)."

Gray said the county would also continue to keep an eye on state and federal energy regulations as well.

He said he was most concerned about unfair air quality standards, renewable energy subsidies that "un-level the playing field" for coal and making sure Colorado's regulations are competitive with neighboring states.

"We need to preserve the ability for our energy companies to be here and be productive and that goes back to doing all that we can to preserve that ability through lobbying or whatever it takes to keep (Colorado House Bill 10-1365)-type bills from keeping (happening)," he said.

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In other news:

At its regular meeting Tuesday, the Moffat County Commission:

• Approved, 3-0, a five-county core services program addendum for mental health services with Maureen Cole, of Westminster, adding travel time and mileage reimbursement through May 31.

• Approved, 3-0, a purchase of services contract for the Cavity Free at Three program with coordinator Ashley Moon for various services provided through Connections 4 Kids for a total contract price not to exceed $28,344.

• Approved, 3-0, resolution 2011-34 for the county’s landfill voucher program for 2011.

• Approved, 2-1, a motion to decrease the installation fee on 13.28 miles of fiber optic cable for the Slater Creek Project being completed by Dubois Telephone Exchange from 25 cents per foot to 12 cents per foot, including a $25,000 bond and specific mapping of the line. Commissioner Audrey Danner voted against the motion.

• Approved, 3-0, resolution 2011-35 setting rules and regulations for the vacation of primary Class B and secondary Class A county roads.

• Approved, 3-0, a personnel requisition for an existing, full-time heavy equipment operator for the county road and bridge department.

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