Commissioners approved all county Noxious Weed Advisory Board appointments and a waiver for an annexation report for a gas station and convenience store to be built near the West Rifle interchange. County and city of Rifle staff made the presentation, stating that due to groundwater contamination, the project will be using city water.
A representative of Colorado Mountain College requested approval for an application for $79,453 from the Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative, which has been supplying grants for higher education since 2014. The college and the CMC Foundation will match the funds. Commissioners approved the request unanimously with Mike Samson requesting the enrollment numbers for the college.
In budget news, the county expects to receive over $1 million from the Local Assistance and Tribal Consistency Fund (LATCF), as part of the 2022 federal American Rescue Plan. Commissioners approved a request for the $1,899,715.92, which will be distributed in two equal payments this year and in 2023. LATCF funds can be used at the county’s discretion but not for lobbying purposes.
Commissioners approved $39,905,621 of the county mill levy and allocation of property tax in the amount of $39,905,621. Monies will go to the county’s general fund (85.8%), road and bridge (.69%), county health services (3.24%), capital expenditures (6.85%) and retirement fund (3.42%).
Jamaica Watts, county finance director, requested a fourth amended allocation of funds to the 2022 budget to support the county’s food stamp and heat assistance programs, state community correction funds for COVID-related expenses and employee retention, state public health dental program funds and the capital fund for county Search and Rescue equipment and six patrol vehicles for the Sheriff’s Department for use in 2023. Commissioners approved an increase in county revenues of $12,929,709 and an increase in supplemental expenditures of $9,640,43.
The Middle Colorado Watershed Council (MCWC) requested and received a letter of support for the Middle Colorado Firefighter Collaboration project. Paula Stepp, MCWC executive director, stated that the letter will help the Collaboration to receive state funding to expand the program. The MCFC looks at values at risk, wildfire hazards and how to work with the federal agencies on wildfire mitigation.
Stepp also requested non-monetary support for the Roan Creek Fish Barrier Project, which protects native fish from non-native, invasive species. There was some confusion about what role the county would play in assisting with grant management. Commissioners requested clarification before approving that request.
Traveler’s Highlands Public Improvement District Board requested and received approval for $81,660 for maintenance work at the Travelers Highland subdivision near Parachute.
Other items included presentations from the Garfield County Library District, the annual update from the Bookcliff, Mount Sopris and Southside Conservation Districts, approval for a liquor license transfer for the Glenwood Canyon Resort and No Name Grill and approval of all consent agenda items, including the final plat for McClure River Ranch, east of Carbondale.
County Vegetation Manager Steve Anthony updated the board on the county mosquito control program, stating that one person from Rifle died this fall from the West Nile virus. Anthony was unable to provide details due to federal HIPAA privacy regulations.