County to hire full-time natural gas auditor |

County to hire full-time natural gas auditor

The Garfield County Commissioners voted 2-1 Monday to bump the newly created county oil and gas auditor position from to part time to full time.Casting the dissenting vote, Commissioner Larry McCown said the county is moving too fast in creating a full-time job.”I think we’re going off a high diving board into shallow water,” McCown said.Commissioner Trsi Houpt disagreed. “This is a position that has been needed for years,” Houpt said.The auditor’s job description is not finalized, but Houpt said the person will be a liaison between property owners and the oil and gas industry, and an advisor to county government.”I think that person will be very busy,” Houpt said.Commissioner John Martin said he sees the auditor as an educator, rather than someone who will enforce state regulations.McCown said he doesn’t want the auditor to be a legal mediator between affected property owners and natural gas companies.”We’d end up in court real quick,” McCown warned.The new position will pay $58,000 to $60,000 per year.Martin noted that the oil and gas industry pays 25 percent of the property taxes collected in Garfield County. “I think the industry is going to be with us for 30 to 50 more years,” Martin said.In other business at Monday’s meeting:-The commissioners voted 2-1 not to hire a receptionist to greet the public at Courthouse Plaza and answer the phone. Houpt voted in favor of the new position.-The commissioners appointed Rifle resident Cheryl Currier as an alternate to the Garfield County Library Board.-The commissioners set Tuesday, Feb. 18, as the date to interview Garfield County Planning and Zoning Commission candidates Kit Chapin Lyon, Steve Carter, Bob Fullerton, Jock Jacober, Charles Kent, Thomas Lloyd, J. Mike Deer and David Stover.Contact Lynn Burton: 945-8515, ext.

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