Commissioners approve agreement to transfer Craig’s museum

The Museum of Northwest Colorado is emerging from beneath the county’s umbrella to take its new place under the wing of the city of Craig.

At the Moffat County Board of County Commissioner’s regular meeting Tuesday morning, commissioners approved an intergovernmental agreement that would begin the process of passing ownership of the museum and the royalties bequeathed it by the community to the city of Craig.

According to prior Craig Press reporting, in a discussion Thursday morning, Nov. 7 at the Moffat County Courthouse, commissioners met with City Attorney Sherman Romney, City Manager Peter Brixius, Mayor Jarrod Ogden, and Councilman Chris Nichols, as well as Dan Davidson and Paul Knowles from the Museum of Northwest Colorado to discuss moving the museum off the county’s balance sheet and onto the city’s.

But commissioners want to transfer the building in a way that still protects the interests of county residents.

“The perception is we’re taking away from county residents,” said Commissioner Don Cook. 

Ogden said he wants only to preserve the museum for the public.

“We’re not out after anybody’s assets,” Ogden told the group. “We aren’t out to seize anything. It’s about preserving this for the citizens of Craig and Moffat County.”

“The people will still have access,” Nichols said.

Nichols explained the city pulled out of its part in owning the museum on or about the year 2000, when the county acquired ownership. According to prior Craig Press reporting, in 1999, county commissioners stepped forward to purchase the museum’s gun collection, allowing the foundation to repay the purchase price plus interest to the county over time. The county essentially acted as the financier, and the purchase became an investment that earns the same rate of interest as other Moffat County investments, according to a Craig Press report in 2000 when Museum of Northwest Colorado Foundation transferred approximately $200,000 to the county as the first payment on the Cowboy and Gunfighter Collection.

“There’ve been times the city’s been up and the county’s been down and vice versa,” Cook said. “That could happen again.”

County Attorney Becky Tyree said provision G of the IGA would assure the county will have a say if the city of Craig were ever to change its mind.

“If there was a decision by the city to close the museum, the city council and commissioners at that time would have an equal say in what happens to the museum,” Tyree said Tuesday.

Cook said every county resident still essentially has a say in the museum’s future.

“Everybody in the community would basically have a say through their elected officials,” Cook said Tuesday.

But there’s still work to be done. City Council was set to approve their IGA for the museum Tuesday night, then the work begins on getting a handle on any outstanding royalties the museum’s owed.

“There is some other stuff that needs to be worked out with the minerals and that could take up to six months,” said Commissioner Beck on Tuesday.

Beck said he’s working with the city on other projects on constituent’s behalf.

“Not just this particular discussion, but on the solar panels… at the end of the day, that’s what our constituents want,” Beck said.  “That’s what tax payers want. They want us working together on things like that and that’s what we’re doing.”

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