County commissioners get the lowdown on joining RFTA |

County commissioners get the lowdown on joining RFTA

Ryan Graff
Special to the Post Independent

GLENWOOD SPRINGS” The Garfield County Board of Commissioners met with leaders of the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority on Monday to clarify questions the board had regarding the county’s possible participation in RFTA.

The commissioners have discussed joining RFTA before but still had some questions regarding their position on joining RFTA and what steps would be necessary to bring the issue to the voters.

The board was unsure if it must first have a voter approval for a new tax to support participation in RFTA, or if it could draft an agreement first.

County Attorney Don DeFord said the commissioners must first approve an agreement with RFTA, then may put the agreement and tax on the ballot as a single question for voter approval.

“By approving the tax, they are approving the (agreement),” said Renee Black, RFTA general council.

The commissioners directed attorneys on both sides of the issue to draft an agreement for their review. After an agreement is reached, the commissioners will hold two public hearings before deciding whether or not to put the issue on the November ballot.

Commissioner John Martin previously questioned whether the unincorporated parts of Garfield County outside the towns had enough of a sales tax base to fund RFTA.

Although most of unincorporated Garfield County is rural, a 2002 state Department of Revenue report shows that unincorporated Garfield County’s sales tax revenue is greater than all its cities but Glenwood Springs.

In 2002 Garfield County had $110 million in sales, second to Glenwood Springs, which had $380 million. Rifle (before the opening of Super Wal-Mart) and Carbondale each had about $73 million.

In other business, the county commissioners:

– Presented awards to T.J. Dice, Gail Steckel, and Cleve Kingen of the Garfield County Road and Bridge Department for their completion of the Road Scholars Program.

Dice, Steckel, and Kingen completed a 12-step program on road maintenance and repair run by the University of Colorado. The program typically takes two years to complete and brings together different road departments from around the state to share ideas on working more efficiently.

– Passed a motion to renew a contract with Northwest Colorado Consultants Inc. to provide engineering and environmental services to the West Garfield County Landfill.

– Approved an agreement between Garfield County Road and Bridge and the Rifle Correctional Facility to continue using inmate labor.

– Tabled a discussion regarding parking changes in downtown Glenwood Springs at the 7th and Colorado parking lot until the city can provide more information on proposed changes.

Contact Ryan Graff: 945-8515, ext. 534

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