School district primary benefactor of lease with Southwestern | CraigDailyPress.com

School district primary benefactor of lease with Southwestern

Janelle O'Dea

In September 2014, Moffat County signed a lease with Southwestern Energy Production Company.

The lease is for three years and covers nearly 314 acres of land northwest of Craig. Moffat County will receive 18.75 percent of any production that comes out of the land.

Jeff Comstock, director of Moffat County's Natural Resources Department, said the biggest benefactor from this lease will be the Moffat County School District.

Moffat County Assessor Robert Razzano said the school district would receive 53 percent of Moffat County’s 18.75 percent.

But Comstock said in the past, companies typically do not drill.

"It’s very common to lease and never see drilling at all," he said. "I’d say in the past over 99 percent of leases in Moffat County never see a drill rig."

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The lease did provide Moffat County with a bonus payment of $109,889.50 that will be split among four taxing districts: the Moffat County School District, Moffat County, Colorado Northwestern Community College and the Colorado River Water District.

The school will receive 53 percent, or about $58,000, of the bonus payment.

Comstock also said he's proud of the "very well thought-out" lease.

"One of our biggest priorities is we restrict the company until they have a surface agreement," Comstock said. This means if Southwestern finds a reason to drill, they must first enter an agreement with the surface owner.

County Commissioner Tom Mathers said it's a good sign for Moffat County.

"It means very few dollars to us," Mathers said. "But it just makes us feel good that there’s enough interest that they’re renewing some of these leases with us."

"The bottom line is jobs," he said.

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