| CraigDailyPress.com

Broom sweeps into Moffat County commissioner’s office

CRAIG — Moments after he was sworn in Tuesday morning as the newest District 3 commissioner for Moffat County, Donald Broom took his seat next to Commissioners Ray Beck and Don Cook and got to work.

“Welcome to the team,” Beck said.

As Moffat County’s first black commissioner, Broom said he’s “working for all citizens of Moffat County whether they live in Craig or out in the country.”

Perhaps ironically, Broom’s first official act was casting a vote to approve a $9,000 contract with Bubbles and Brooms for the county’s custodial services. Commissioners also approved a final payment of $3,740 for a new boiler at the Public Safety Center for a total contract amount of $74,800.

Commissioners are aware boiler maintenance costs will continue as the years progress.

“It’s just going to be ongoing,” Cook said.

Most of the commissioners’ meeting Tuesday was spent finalizing and discussing a protest letter related to the Bureau of Land Management’s 2018 Northwest Colorado greater sage-grouse proposed resource management plan amendment and final environmental impact statement.

Moffat’s commissioners say the BLM’s sage-grouse resource management plan effectively sterilizes some 1.1 million acres of county land with oil and gas potential — land that could increase Moffat County’s revenue and tax base. Commissioners say BLM’s plan also destabilizes the livestock grazing industry in the area, jeopardizing private ranches and threatening the county’s custom and culture, according to the county’s agenda.

“We have the bulk of the sage-grouse in this state, so it really looks like our county’s going to be pretty well locked up because of these plans,” Cook said.

Beck reminded those in attendance that commissioners view their role as protectors of Moffat County’s ranching interests and providers for the responsible development of oil and gas. Commissioners then approved the protest letter and planned to send it before the BLM’s protest deadline Wednesday.

Commissioners also spoke with Colorado State University’s extension office in Moffat County and received an overview of all programs and services provided to the community.

Such services include planned 4-H programming in conjunction with the Boys & Girls Club, working with ranchers on land conservation and the growth of experimental crops for livestock foraging and grassland preservation, succession planning for ranching families in Moffat County, the Annie’s Project for supporting women in agriculture, and plans for a sheep shearing school in conjunction with a local sheep farm, among many other services provided by Moffat’s CSU extension.

Before adjourning, commissioners appointed Cook as the commission’s new chair and Beck as vice chair.

Contact Clay Thorp at 970-875-1795 or cthorp@craigdailypress.com.