Craig As crews near the start of construction for a Steamboat Transit facility in Craig, the debate between Moffat County and city of Steamboat Springs officials about site cleanup costs nears conclusion.
The Moffat County Commission found the city of Steamboat Springs in breach of contract - and indebted to the county for about $155,000 - regarding land for the project, located near the east Kum & Go.
Bob Robichaud, Steamboat facilities manager, would not comment on the matter and said it is an ongoing legal issue. He had not heard of the Commission's decision before being contacted.
The new facility's plan includes spots for five buses and 50 parking spaces, as well as an indoor waiting area.
Approximately $12,900 of the debt charged to Steamboat is attributed to labor costs for Moffat County Road and Bridge crews that hauled materials from the site. Steamboat officials agreed all along to pay those costs, Commissioner Tom Gray said.
More than $142,000 of the debt is for Moffat County Landfill fees, which would have been waived if crews hired by Steamboat salvaged structural iron from the old County Shop building, which formerly occupied the site.
"The contractor they hired did not do that at all," Gray said.
The iron was damaged beyond use when the entire structure collapsed, he said, adding it didn't look like the contractor adequately braced the building before it fell.
Despite the decision to bill the city of Steamboat, Commission members said this is not the result of any hostility between the neighboring governments.
"We worked with them in the best way from day one," Commissioner Saed Tayyara said. "In this surprising episode, we had no other choice but to protect the taxpayers' money."
If Moffat County and Steamboat reach an agreement on this matter, it would settle previous discussions regarding hazardous soil removal because the $142,000 in landfill fees includes those costs.
The contract between Moffat County and Steamboat mandated the county would clean all hazardous waste, but county officials noticed there was about 10 times more hazardous material than expected during preliminary construction, Gray said.
When Moffat County officials made a site visit and asked how crews digging up contaminated soil found it to be hazardous, Gray said, the crews responded it was based on color.
Because color is not a scientific way to determine if contamination levels meet the legal definition of "hazardous," county officials decided to hire a consulting firm and begin testing soil in January and found it did not meet "hazardous" standards.
Since then, there has been no agreement specifically relating to removing contaminated soil.
Collin Smith can be reached at 875-1794 or firstname.lastname@example.org