Finalists named for Road Advisory Task Force

The Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners will begin interviews Friday to select individuals to serve on the Road Advisory Task Force.

According to county staff, 16 applicants entered the fray with eight scheduled for interviews. The Board of County Commissioners will ultimately select five to serve.

On the list, in alphabetical order are:

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

• Richard Broom — a civil engineer.

• Alan Bunch — a business owner.

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

• Bob Frye — holds a master’s in forest biology and management.

• Brett Locke — holds a bachelor’s in civil engineering.

• James Van Liere — holds a master’s degree in civil engineering, currently self employed as a consulting structural engineer.

• Stephen Williams — works for Brilliam Engineering in civil land development design.

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 early July, 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 road task force, county staff say, may help 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 dollars would be used to 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.

james@pagosasun.com