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County terminates HUTF agreements with metro districts

Staff Writer

The Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners has terminated funding agreements for dispensing Highway Users Tax Funds to the five metropolitan districts in Archuleta County.

The current agreements for four out of five of the metro districts (not including Colorado’s TimberRidge, which was recently formed), date back to May 2007, and include a provision that gives the county the right to serve notice it is terminating the contracts by July 15 of each calendar year.

The actual cancellation of the agreements will not take place until Dec. 31, 2013, said County Attorney Todd Starr at Tuesday’s special meeting.

For several months, the commissioners and county staff, prompted by the formation of TimberRidge’s metro district, have sought to update the contracts, including the formula for how the county pays out HUTF funding to the metro districts for road improvement and maintenance, and to remove clauses the current board is uncomfortable with.

To facilitate writing the new agreements, County Administrator Jesse Smith requested at a meeting earlier this summer that each metro district designate a representative to work with county staff on the contracts.

But, Smith indicated at Tuesday’s special meeting and an earlier work session the same day, not all of those representatives were identified to Smith in a timely manner, making it impossible to schedule the meeting to draft new agreements by July 15.

In considering the termination of the five agreements, the BoCC urged the metro districts to take the situation seriously, with Starr adding that it was to everyone’s benefit to have the contracts in place for the upcoming budget season.

“We’re setting the pace for how this goes now,” commissioner Michael Whiting said.

But TimberRidge’s Bob Milford was confused concerning why the metro district’s contract of two months was being cancelled and why no meetings had been held to draft a new agreement, to which the board and staff reiterated that not all districts put forward a representative in a timely manner.

While all in attendance who spoke on the matter agreed that the sooner new contracts are in place, the better, no firm timeline was given.

• Also at the meeting, the board approved a letter of support for FireWise for a grant application with the Colorado Department of Natural Resources.

• The board also waived the building permit fee (estimated at just over $1,000) for the Pagosa Fire Protection District for the remodeling of the Chromo fire station.

County staff indicated that the board had previously waved such fees for other governmental agencies because it is all taxpayer money.

The next regular meeting of the board is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 16.

randi@pagosasun.com

This story was posted on July 12, 2013.