Commissioners visit with wind energy company

On May 26, 2022 the Yuma County Board of County Commissioners convened for a regular meeting. Chairman Robin Wiley, Commissioner Trent Bushner, and Commissioner Scott Weaver were present.
The Commissioners attended a virtual presentation held by Colorado Counties, Inc. debriefing on the State of Colorado legislative session and county government advocacy efforts exercised during the recently closed session.
Representatives from ENGIE North America presented on a proposed wind energy production site in the Joes/Kirk area. The ENGIE representatives presented high-level information regarding the project including the general location, introduction of the company, and possible timelines for formalization of land use application, which is potentially expected late in the year.
Tim Stulp met with the Commissioners to request use of the Yuma County Fairgrounds for the September 9-11 Old Threshers Show. The Commissioners approved the usage as requested.
Land Use Administrator Colten Yoast conducted land use hearings and presented an exemption for subdivision for the Charles and Ida Wilson Family Trust in the northwest section of Section 4, Township 2 North, Range 44 West for establishment of a family cemetery.
Also conducted was the final hearing on land use code changes modifying the decommissioning requirements for renewable energy production sites, and impact fees assessed on renewable energy production. The Commissioners passed both requests.
Greg Thomason and Paige Johnson of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade provided a presentation on a proposed comprehensive economic development strategy for northeastern Colorado, and the establishment of a regional economic development district. Also joining the meeting was Yuma County Economic Development Director Shelby Clark. The Commissioners took the information under advisement and will receive additional updates in the coming months as other regional counties review the information. Johnson and Clark also provided updates on the Roadmap to Recovery Program currently underway by regional economic development directors.
Larry Terrell joined the meeting to issue public comment and request information clarification on the utilization of a section line county road access issue at County Road 9.
Road & Bridge Supervisor Tom Andersen, Blade Foreman Justin Lorimer, and Truck Foreman Jeremy Lund met with the Commissioners to provide updates from the Road & Bridge Department. Andersen reported exploration on a potential new gravel pit east of Wray and discussed staffing updates for vacant positions.
The team reported the successful completion of the Eckley Road fog coat earlier in the day and the re-opening of the road. Lorimer reported that three miles of County Road 42 near EE had been ripped and re-laid with part of the section being re-based. Lorimer also reported that County Road 54 is currently being re-laid with Brand Pit material, but that the project was progressing relatively slowly due to the distance between the pit with the most appropriate material and the job site.
The group reviewed financial and equipment usage reports and discussed fuel usage as well as strategy for balancing effective, efficient operations with the challenges of extremely dry weather and excessively high fuel prices. Andersen has been collaborating with other Road Supervisors in the region to try and share insights into facing the ongoing environmental challenges.
New Emergency Manager Jake Rockwell met with the Commissioners to review office priorities and establish expectations and strategies for the coming months as Rockwell assumes his new role.
Bev Wenger, Yuma County Clerk & Recorder presented for signature the updated lease with Northeastern Junior College for her Yuma office space, which was approved.
County Administrator Andrea Calhoon presented various operational updates and reports including an independent contractor agreement for provision of GIS services, an approval of expenditure of grant funds for the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office to purchase body-worn camera equipment required to comply with Senate Bill 20-217, and the biennial reappointment of County Veteran’s Service Officer Ron Brown. Also presented was a commitment letter to contribute $15,000 toward the hiring of a river restoration project manager by the Republican River Water Conservation District, which was approved. Calhoon reported on the recent audit of the Yuma County CDL testing unit by the State of Colorado, which passed with a score of 98/100.