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County gets a deal on equipment purchases

Total cost for new snow removal equipment for Steven’s Field, Archuleta County’s airport: $522,889.

Total portion of the cost Archuleta County is responsible for paying: $15,847.

Thanks to federal and state appropriations accepted by the Board of County Commissioners Tuesday, county staff will continue the process of acquiring additional snow removal for Stevens Field in attempts to make the county self-sufficient in terms of airport snow removal.

In a series of three actions taken during Tuesday’s regular meeting, the BoCC approved two grant agreements for the county to acquire a truck, loader and service vehicle with snowplow attachment for a fraction of the total cost of the equipment.

The first action approved the grant agreement for the truck and loader — budgeted at a total cost of $485,889.

Under the grant, the Federal Aviation Administration will pay 95 percent of the cost ($461,595), while the state and Archuleta County will each pay 5 percent ($12,147 each).

The federal funding is part of $61.3 million just approved for FAA appropriations.

Airport Manager Bill McKown said he anticipates the Request for Bid on the equipment will go out in March, with the equipment hopefully arriving by the end of May.

The second grant agreement, for the service vehicle with snowplow attachment, deals strictly with the state for the purchase of a $37,000 vehicle.

Under the agreement, Archuleta County will pay $3,700, while the state will pay $33,300.

The vehicle was found at a state auction, McKown said, and should be on site by mid-March.

The third action concerning the new equipment assured sufficient local funds to pay for the equipment (the county will then receive revenue to cover the state and federal portions), and designated McKown as project manager.

Both items were already in the 2012 budget.

Both fall under the same Colorado Discretionary Aviation Grant Agreement.

In other news at the BoCC meeting:

• The board agreed to become a consortium partner with the Pagosa Springs Art Alliance and authorized submitting a letter of support for PSAA’s quest for a National Endowment for the Arts grant in the amount of $25,000.

The partnership of the BoCC does not mean any fiduciary duty on the part of the county, County Attorney Todd Starr said.

If successful, PSAA’s Leanne Goebel said the PSAA would be able to complete the Pagosa Springs Arts and Culture Project, which would create a database of arts and cultural amenities in Archuleta County.

Goebel said the first year of the grant would involve mapping the resources, while the second year would be spent creating a plan to market and promote those amenities.

“Our goal is to help you get to success,” Commissioner Clifford Lucero said.

• The BoCC approve the release of an Invitation for Bid for the county’s 2012 supply of magnesium chloride.

In introducing the topic, Road and Bridge Superintendent David Guillams said 2012 prices are anticipated to be higher than 2011’s price of 57.8 cents per gallon, and Guillams recommended that the county cut down to one application that would hit all of the roads normally treated in the two applications.

With one application, Guillams said the roads that are normally treated twice would receive a thicker application to increase the residual rate on the road.

In hopes of obtaining a better price, Guilliams said the invitation is for a one-year contract with two, optional, one-year extensions.

The county is required to bid out the purchase every year.

The county is currently looking to purchase 570,000 gallons of magnesium chloride, Guillams reported.

Additionally, Guilliams said the county has put in higher quality requirements for the magnesium chloride after problems in 2011, with financial penalties should the quality standards not be met.

• The board approved refinancing existing county debt through Stifel, Nicolaus & Company.

Currently, the county’s debt is through Wells Fargo Bank, with the $5,148,372 of debt subject to 5.4 percent interest, which, until the debt payment date of May 2026, would equate to $2,102,670.

Under the deal chosen for the refinancing, the county will pay $74,600 in refinancing fees, but will save $1,288,391, said Finance Director Diane Sorensen.

The new interest rate, Sorensen said, will be 2.51 percent, with the debt maturing in 2023.

Sorensen said that, because much of the county’s debt was incurred for road projects, it makes sense to shorten the duration of the debt and to avoid spending the savings each year.

Sorensen also noted that the timing of the refinancing means the county will not pay any additional money not budgeted for the debt service.

Lucero commended county staff for looking into the refinancing options, noting that it was the commission’s desire to be financially conservative.

Commissioner Steve Wadley noted that, whether or not the present board agreed with the decisions of prior boards, the current board is saddled with the debt and he hoped that the refinancing would leave the county in a better situation financially.

Commissioner Michael Whiting echoed the sentiment, saying that, regardless of how the county ended up with the debt, it was now the board’s choice to make it an asset or a problem.

• The board appointed Ed Keyes, Jr. to the planning commission to serve the remainder of Steve Van Horn’s term. Van Horn recently resigned from the commission after years of volunteer work.

• The BoCC approved a letter of support for the Town of Pagosa Springs’ Greater Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) River Corridor Initiative Grant application.

In presenting the item, Administrative Assistant Annette DeGraaf said the town’s project was an $8 million project, with Whiting calling it a “slam dunk.”

• The board approved a letter of support for the City of Durango’s effort to obtain Recycling Resources Economic Opportunity Grant funding to construct a single-stream recycling facility to process recycled goods.

The commissioners agreed to the proposal, stating that it would allow the county to haul it’s single-stream recyclables to Durango for processing instead of to New Mexico.

• The board approved a contract between the Department of Human Services and Karyn Smith for Smith to provide the 13-week Nurturing Fathers Parenting course for $7,605.

The contract is a direct outcome of the newest fatherhood grant received by DHS to help fathers (and mothers) better support their families.

• Wal-Mart again ruled the public comment portion of the agenda, with several speakers urging the BoCC to take a stand against the big-box retailer’s move to Pagosa Springs and urging the county to vow to offer no tax incentives to Wal-Mart.

The members of the BoCC listened to the comments befor stating that the project was completely within the town limits and was out of the county’s jurisdiction.

Tensions on the subject were elevated as soon as the meeting began, however, when Lucero asked an audience member to take his anti Wal-Mart sign out of the room, citing a rule that signs were not allowed in the room.

The next regular meeting of the BoCC is scheduled for March 6 at 1:30 p.m.

randi@pagosasun.com

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