Deadline near for roads task force

Citizens have until 5 p.m. tomorrow to apply for a slot on the county’s Roads Advisory Task Force — a group the commissioners say will play a vital role in deciding how roads are maintained and which roads should be improved in the years to come.

According to board action May 19, the five-member volunteer team will serve for one year. During that time, the group will work with county management, road and bridge department staff and elected officials to develop a four-year road capital improvement plan, including providing project and expenditure recommendations, and reviewing road projects and funding opportunities.

With appointments scheduled for June 23, the task force will also help distill public comment gathered at two road project forums scheduled for July and August. Those comments, coupled with staff input, will help create the basis for the four-year road plan.

The move to institute a citizen’s road task force, county staff say, may serve to rally public support and input, not only for its road plan, but for the longer term goal of successfully passing a $12 million ballot question in November 2010, the proceeds of which would fund road capital improvement projects into 2011 and beyond.

The first step toward a successful ballot question came May 5 when the Board of County Commissioners approved a $5 million loan with Wells Fargo, the proceeds of which — roughly $4 million — will be used to repave Park Avenue and to tackle a number of other road projects this summer. In addition, loan proceeds will be used to fund road projects — identified through the public scoping process this summer — for the 2010 construction season.

Given that projects identified for 2010 are successfully completed, the commissioners may push for a ballot question that would provide early payback for the Wells Fargo loan and funding for road improvements in 2011 and beyond.

According to Archuleta County Administrator Greg Schulte, the four-year road plan should be ready for board adoption by mid-September.

As of press time Wednesday, county staff had received letters of intent from five citizens. They appear below in alphabetical order.

• Lesley Britton — a civil engineer currently working with Yeh and Associates Inc.

• Robert Crowley — a civil engineer with 40 years experience, 25 of which spent with the Arizona Department of Transportation.

• Bob Oliver — developer of strategic plans, currently with Oliver and Lindemenn Athletic Consulting.

• Mary Sealy — local Realtor.

• Bud Short — experience in civil engineering and land surveying.

• James Van Liere — holds a Master of Science in civil engineering, currently self employed as a consulting structural engineer.

All county residents are welcome to apply for a post on the task force, particularly those with relevant transportation, civil engineering or construction management experience.

Mail letters of interest and background to: Commissioners Office, P.O. Box 1507, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147, or e-mail to commissioners@archuletacounty.org. For more information, visit, www.archuletacounty.org.

james@pagosasun.com