LETTER: Politics at a price | PostIndependent.com

LETTER: Politics at a price

The Post Independent’s lead story of Saturday, July 6, “County wants to get its roads in order,” is another example of politics at a price.

To summarize, the county administration (the BOCC) is concerned that it does not have adequate documentation for ownership of thousands of miles of roads. Two-thirds of the county is owned by public agencies. The BOCC chair states that he has been working on an issue known as RS 2477 for at least five years. I remember 12 years ago he began expressing his concerns on this issue. So the county arguably owns roads on federal lands.

This issue has been around for a long time. Do a Google search on “the sagebrush rebellion.” This will provide a great deal of background. Long story short there are many county governments, particularly in the West, that are of a mind that they should have control over these properties on federal land. The question for me is: at what price? If ownership is established, what is the addition of value realized? Certainly control is established, but at what cost?

So we add “thousands of miles of road” to our ownership. What is the additional cost for: construction, maintenance, staffing and snow removal? Will there be revenue from the various sources including the Highway Users Trust Fund that will cover these increased costs? Doubtful, since the gas tax isn’t going very far now that cars in general require a lot less gas.

A new position is proposed in the county attorney’s office to accomplish this at $60,000 to $80,000. The project according to the Chair will “take five or six years.” So is that $60,000 to $80,000 for each year?

It is also inferred that the assessor, clerk, surveyor, federal land management officials and unnamed others will be involved. What are those dollar figures for the county agencies? Where is a presentation from the chief of staff to answer these and other questions? And finally, what is the real reason for doing this after 130 years of county operations?

Dale Hancock

Glenwood Springs

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