Moffat County Commissioner Feb. 17 meeting recap | CraigDailyPress.com

Moffat County Commissioner Feb. 17 meeting recap

Janelle O'Dea

— Colowyo coal mine's expansion, Moffat County School District funding and the second phase of the Shadow Mountain improvement project were among the main topics of discussion and decision at the weekly Moffat County Commissioner's meeting.

Commissioners discussed the following topics during general discussion:

Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners John Kinkaid led a safety meeting. He discussed the possible dangers of participating in ice fishing, ice-skating and other recreational ice activities.

"Carefully check the ice conditions. Remember, you take a risk every time you go out on the ice," Kinkaid said. "Ice thickness is not always consistent."

Commissioner Chuck Grobe said he's headed to Denver for a couple of days this week for an air quality control commission meeting.

The three Moffat County commissioners also discussed last week's Moffat County School District public budget meeting. Commissioner Frank Moe said he wishes more parents would have attended the meeting and voiced their opinions.

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"A community is as strong as it's education system," said Neil Folks, Craig community member.

Kinkaid said he was in Denver last week and got a call from Rep. Dan Thurlow, R-Grand Junction, to talk about SB15-044. The bill will reduce renewable energy requirements for investor-owned utilities and cooperative electric associations by at least 5 percent by 2030.

Under current law, investor-owned utilities must generate 20 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources between 2015 and 2019 and 30 percent from 2020 on.

Manager of Moffat County's Road and Bridge Department Linda DeRose presented bids for five cattle guard irons. The commissioners approved a bid 3-0 from Craig Steel to do the job for $11,792. The irons can last anywhere from 15 to 20 years, DeRose said.

Bill DeVergie, Meeker area wildlife manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, came to commissioners and asked for their support on an agreement between Colorado Parks and Wildlife and Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, Inc.

Colowyo coalmine wants to expand the mining area and in order to do so; Tri-State must prepare to mitigate the possible effects on greater sage grouse habitat, DeVergie said. The agreement DeVergie asked commissioners to support asks that Colowyo convey about 4,400 acres of land to CPW in the future for greater sage grouse habitat management.

Doug Lempke, senior environmental policy analyst for Tri-State said other options were on the table but those options could have "drug things out for many years," Lempke said.

Although Grobe had reservations about taking the land off of the county's tax rolls and giving it to the state, the commissioners unanimously agreed to support the letter because it helps keep Colowyo a viable operation in Moffat County.

"It was the company's idea to donate the land and allow us to open up a new area of land for mining," Lempke said.

"Fifty-three percent of the county's minerals go to the school system, so that's why we're a little touchy on that," Grobe said.

Director of Moffat County Natural Resources Department Jeff Comstock presented a petition for commissioners to sign. The petition challenges the data and science the United States Department of Interior will use to make a decision about whether to place the greater sage grouse species on the endangered list. Commissioners agreed to sign on to the petition, 3-0, along with officials from several other area states.

Commissioners approved the grant contract with the Department of Local Affairs for the second phase of the Shadow Mountain project, 3-0. The grant totals $1,671,327. Director of Moffat County's Department of Development Services Roy Tipton presented the contract for the grant and said the entire project totals $7.9 million.

The county and city account for about $3.5 million, the local improvement district provides a little more than one million and the rest of the funds for the project come from DOLA.

Next week the rates for the local improvement district will be set and Shadow Mountain residents will know the cost incurred to them.

Contact Janelle O’Dea at 970-875-1795 or jodea@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @jayohday.

Other action items approved by commissioners 3-0:

Feb. 10 Moffat County Commissioner meeting minutes

Sand and gravel lease

Collaborative management agreement with VNA

Jan. 20 Department of Social Services meeting minutes

Community services block grant for Department of Social Services

Department of Social Services electronic transactions and monthly reports