Moffat County Commission lands audience with governor |

Moffat County Commission lands audience with governor

Energy tops commission’s list of discussion points for Hickenlooper meeting

Brian Smith

Moffat County Commissioner Tom Mathers said Gov. John Hickenlooper probably knows the primary topics the three-member commission wants to discuss with him.

Energy and natural resources.

"I think he'd probably be interested in if we had any solutions to the problems," Mathers said. "Not just, 'Come and tell me what the problem is.' But, 'What is the solution?'"

During the commission's regular Tuesday meeting, Mathers and the commission announced they had scheduled a meeting today with Hickenlooper alongside County Natural Resources Director Jeff Comstock and Colorado Department of Natural Resources Executive Director Mike King and a few others.

The three commissioners will pick the governor's brain about how he might approach future legislative issues as well as try to provide him with a few of the solutions to a variety of issues in Moffat County.

"We need to give him a path to work for Moffat County," commissioner Tom Gray said.

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The commission was afforded about an hour with the governor at 12:30 p.m. today in Denver, Gray said.

Even though the commission has been previously represented at places where the governor has been or made speeches, today's meeting is the first one-on-one conversation the two entities will have had since his inauguration.

"This is our opportunity, with various topics, to inform the governor about what we know about our issues — he has stated that he is out there learning about all of the many communities and the county issues," commissioner Audrey Danner said.

The commission first asked the governor to meet with them either in Moffat County or Denver in mid-November.

Mathers said the commission has a general idea of what they would like to talk with Hickenlooper about, but they are still finalizing a detailed list.

"We are putting our concerns in order because of the limited time that we have," he said. "We want to be able to talk about all of them."

Mathers said much of the dialogue would surround the numerous energy and natural resource decisions made under former Gov. Bill Ritter's administration.

"I think we need to ask him if they are going to give incentives for new energy — wind, solar — they should (then give incentives) for clean coal technology and make it fair across the board," he said.

Mathers said the process by which Colorado House Bill 10-1365, also known as the Clean Air, Clean Jobs Act, was developed and the speed with which it was passed would also be a point of conversation.

"We know how it helps the Front Range, but they never took into consideration how it affects us," Mathers said. "We'll talk to him about those kind of things (and) that we are a part of the state and we want to do our part to help balance the state's budget … with our natural resources and grow our economy."

Gray said he would also like to know how the governor would handle bills being developed to combat the way H.B. 10-1365 was passed and those that would change the priorities of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission back to "protecting rate payers" and stop the PUC from "pedestaling certain types of energy above another."

"The governor has said in his campaign and said since that he wants to listen to local input and he wants to be fair and balanced," Gray said. "If some of that legislation makes it to his desk is he going to sign it? Or is he going to not?"

Such legislation, Gray said, might work toward re-leveling the "playing field for our key industries because it has been really hard on Moffat County the last two years."

"We are not asking for special treatment, but equal treatment," he said.

After the Denver meeting, Gray said he would keep extending the invitation for the governor to come to tour Moffat County.

"That invitation is still on the table and will continue to be," he said. "We still want him to come, (but) we appreciate him taking time out in the first week of February, a month after he took office, to meet with us."

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In other news:

At its regular meeting Tuesday, the Moffat County Commission:

• Approved, 3-0, meeting minutes from Sept. 14, Oct. 12, Nov. 9, Dec. 7, Jan. 4 and 18.

• Approved, 3-0, transfer of payment of warrants for the month of January totaling $379,445.75.

• Approved, 3-0, payment of payroll warrants ending Jan. 22 totaling $400,671.75.

• Approved, 3-0, an exhibition contract with the Colorado Aerospace History project and the Museum of Northwest Colorado for the museum to lease and exhibit the display from Feb. 18 to June 19 totaling $2,730.

• Approved, 3-0, a personnel requisition for 15 temporary, full-time seasonal pest management department technicians from 2010 for 2011.

• Approved, 3-0, a personnel requisition for two temporary, full-time pest management department supervisors from 2010 for 2011.

• Discussed appointing a chairperson for the Moffat County Tourism Association. No action was taken.

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