YVEDC to hold economic development discussion | CraigDailyPress.com

YVEDC to hold economic development discussion

Joe Moylan

State Sen. Jean White, R-Hayden, is among a list of featured speakers scheduled to be in Craig Wednesday night to provide residents with a regional economic update.

The event is sponsored by the Yampa Valley Economic Development Council and will also feature discussions led by Ken Lund, executive director of the Office of Economic Development and International Trade; and Reeves Brown, executive director of the Department of Local Affairs.

Among the topics of conversation to be covered by Lund and Brown are reorganization efforts for OEDIT's regional services and how the partnership between OEDIT and DOLA will strengthen rural Colorado economies at the local level.

However, the highlight of the evening is expected to be White's talk on "clean up" legislation she has penned in regards to federal mineral lease districts.

Gov. John Hicklenlooper last year signed into law Colorado House Bill 11-1218, also known as the Federal Mineral Lease Districts Act, which was sponsored by White and State Rep. Randy Baumgardner, R-Hot Sulphur Springs.

The legislation was designed to provide Colorado counties with an avenue to maintain dwindling payment in lieu of taxes funds historically provided by the Federal government by creating federal mineral lease districts that are supposed to be autonomous from the local government.

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Although the legislation was passed by the Colorado General Assembly and signed into law by Hickenlooper, Ken Salazar, secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, has challenged the autonomy of those mineral lease districts.

Rather than simply cut funding completely, Salazar is giving state legislators an opportunity to draft new legislation.

"I'm going to be talking about the highlights of the new bill," White said. "I'll also have copies of the draft to give to those in attendance."

One of the amendments to HB 11-1218 would make federal mineral lease districts subdivisions of the state, which addresses the Interior Department's autonomy concerns, White said.

The new bill may also allow municipalities to be included as part of the district and allow districts to build up PILT and federal mineral lease funds in a reserve account, rather than forcing the districts to spend all of the money it receives each year.

The meeting is open to the public and will take place at the Moffat County Fairgrounds Pavilion, 640 E. Victory Way.

The event begins at 5:45 p.m. Wednesday with dinner, followed by the meeting at 6:15 p.m.

There is no charge to attend the meeting and listen to the speakers. Dinner is available for $15.

For more information or to RSVP, contact Ginger Scott at 871-8215 or gscott@steamboatsprings.net.

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