County commissioners discuss Bank of the West situation; Stage 1 fire restrictions remain | CraigDailyPress.com

County commissioners discuss Bank of the West situation; Stage 1 fire restrictions remain

CRAIG – The Moffat County Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday said it will wait for Moffat County Treasurer Linda Peters to make a recommendation on which bank to switch to after Bank of the West announced last week it will no longer support coal projects.

Peters said her office is aware of the situation and will pull the county’s accounts with Bank of the West, however, the office is still reviewing its options for where to reopen its accounts. She noted it was not an easy decision to make, nor is it easy to move a large amount of money all at once.

“It’s not like closing a checking account,” Commissioner Don Cook said. “It just doesn’t work that way.”

Peters added that, as soon as she has more information, she’ll make a recommendation to commissioners.

Cook called the controversy a very unfortunate situation, noting it arose so suddenly, it has been difficult for Bank of the West employees and disruptive to the community.

According to the Bank of the West’s parent company, BNP Paribas, the anti-coal policy has been in place for some time, Commissioner Ray Beck said. The bank’s goal is to not finance coal, oil, and gas from shale and tar sands, a policy that stands to negatively impact Moffat County’s extensive energy industry.

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The county needs to show support for the community, Cook added.

Commissioners will wait for the treasurer’s recommendation before taking action, Beck said.

Audience members commented on the banking situation, as well. One resident said he feels sad for the employees at Bank of the West, who have been put in a difficult situation, adding that he feels the bank’s decision was a mistake.

Another said he has money at Bank of the West and has been served well by the institution. He expressed concerned, however, about the bank’s statement on coal and the removal of its support. He added he is still considering options, but does not want to support a bank that doesn’t support the community.

In other business, the commissioners

• Announced the county will not enact Stage 2 fire restrictions at this time, thanks to the significant rainfall during the weekend. Beck said that, after speaking with County Sheriff KC Hume, the county will remain under Stage 1 fire restrictions for the present.

• Approved a resolution to temporarily close Moffat County Road 18 South for culvert replacement. The closure is expected to be in place Aug. 20 through 23.

• Approved a resolution to allow Memorial Regional Health to sell property on the 700 block of Russell Street.

• Approved a letter of neutrality on an easement concerning the Pothook Ranch.

• Approved amending an on-site wastewater treatment system regulation for Moffat County. The amendment was made to correct an error.

Contact David Tan at dtan@CraigDailyPress.com or 970-875-1795.