Commissioners talk Ag Innovation Center, renewable energy

On February 14, 2023 the Yuma County Board of County Commissioners convened for a regular meeting. Chairman Scott Weaver, Commissioner Mike Leerar, and Commissioner Adam Gates were present.

Road & Bridge Supervisor Tom Andersen and Blade Foreman Justin Lorimer met with the Commissioners to discuss departmental updates. The Commissioners heard a public request to change the maintenance category of a primitive road due to the construction of a new home. The Commissioners discussed the request and took it under advisement pending additional research. Andersen provided a current equipment inventory list for reference and the group discussed efforts to develop a new road prioritization program for managing traffic patterns and snow removal. The group discussed various operational protocols including pre-employment physicals and a new master service agreement for the main operational software, which was recently sold to a new vendor. Andersen reviewed current departmental vacancies and discussed seasonal fluctuations in staffing needs.
The Department of Human Services was heard with operational updates. Present to provide updates were Director Kara Hoover, Eligibility Supervisor Dalene Rogers, Child Welfare & Adult Protection Supervisor Hollie Hillman, and Administrative Assistant Lori Summers.
Dave Blach, Travis Rogers, and JoLynn Midcap representing the Ag Innovation Center met with the Commissioners to discuss work to date and plans for 2023. The group discussed upcoming grant opportunities currently under review. The Commissioners reaffirmed their support for the project with a focus on long-term sustainability and funding mechanisms given the significance of operational costs. The Commissioners shared perspectives on the importance of such a project being self-sustaining, and reiterated their requirement that any improvements through the program would need to include ongoing funding to avoid over-burdening the already challenged County operational budget.
The Commissioners met with Darlene Carpio of Congressman Ken Buck’s Office to hear federal legislative updates and discuss local priorities. The group discussed federal efforts toward spending control and the impending national debt ceiling. The Commissioners highlighted local agricultural challenges related to water and expressed concern over the local impacts of renewable energy tax credits offered by the State and Federal government. The Commissioners expressed concern over the burden of renewable energy production being placed on rural communities while tax benefits of such production are waived by higher-level entities.
County Clerk and Recorder Bev Wenger met with the Commissioners to append a previously reviewed grant application to fund various election security equipment.
County Administrator Andrea Calhoon presented various operational updates. Among discussion was the approval of a resolution officially declaring Livestock Appreciation Day for 2023. The Commissioners also approved agreements for operational needs, including the 2022 cost allocation report, additional national opioid settlement participation agreements, and bonding for the CDL testing unit. Calhoon provided updates on the regional opioid council, the financial oversight of the 911 Authority, and regional transportation planning. Calhoon also discussed updates on the transition to VOIP phone systems, requested training for departmental staff, and received instruction on negotiations for the hire of a Fairgrounds Event Manager.