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Commissioners begin process to vacate streets in Pataha

POMEROY–The Garfield County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) approved and signed Resolution 2020-12, Intent to Vacate Roads in Pataha, at their October 26, 2020 meeting. They have also decided to include all of vacated properties in Pataha in one Petition hearing on November 30, 2020, at 10 a.m.

In the process to vacate a street in Pataha initiated by a new property owner, Richard Hamilton, in early October, Garfield County discovered other property assumed to be vacated, but not officially finalized. Subsequently, a vacation request has also been made by another property owner.

Grant Morgan, Garfield County Public Works Director indicated the neighbors and adjoining property owners appear to all be in favor of the petition requests. Currently, there is not a policy set forth to associated with costs involved in the vacation process. However, when multiple property owners are involved, the BOCC suggested that all parties who will benefit from the vacation should share in the cost. Morgan agreed to send out letters of intent to all parties involved, advising as to how the process will transpire and the associated costs each party can expect to pay.

It was also suggested a cul-de-sac or wide turnaround area should be provided where the vacation creates a dead end. In addition, the County contends this action will create precedence in future property vacations.

Morgan said bids will open October 28, 2020, for the construction of fiber optic lines to extend to the fairgrounds on behalf of Garfield County. He has yet to procure an additional estimate for connecting that fiber to the buildings, which will include the Dick Brown Building, the Agricultural Museum and the RV Park. The cost to the County for internet service to the fairgrounds will be $70 per month through a new provider. The BOCC will subsequently begin renegotiation with the current internet service provider to the courthouse by sending a letter of intent to terminate services. The County currently pays $480 per month for that service.

The BOCC officially completed negotiations for the 2021 budget with the County Employees Group. The agreement includes an additional $100 per month paid to each employee's Health Savings Account (VEBA), which can be used for health-related expenses; and the County will cover the increase in health insurance premiums for 2021 for each employee, spouse, or family. It did not include a wage increase.

While working on the 2021 budget for the County, Commissioner Justin Dixon remarked that he noticed a lot of variances in the wages and salaries for employees in different departments. He asked all department heads to take a close look at those wages and salaries in their own departments, and consider ways to make them more equitable across the County. His goal is to reduce wage issues when employees transfer between departments, or equalize differences in pay when performing similar duties.