Snowmobiles approved | SteamboatToday.com

Snowmobiles approved

Sheriff's Office equipment to aid Search and Rescue

Melinda Dudley

Steamboat Springs — The Routt County Board of Commissioners approved the purchase of two snowmobiles Tuesday to assist county law enforcement in search and rescue operations and to help winter patrols combat trespassing in North Routt. — The Routt County Board of Commissioners approved the purchase of two snowmobiles Tuesday to assist county law enforcement in search and rescue operations and to help winter patrols combat trespassing in North Routt.

— The Routt County Board of Commissioners approved the purchase of two snowmobiles Tuesday to assist county law enforcement in search and rescue operations and to help winter patrols combat trespassing in North Routt.

The primary beneficiary of the snowmobiles will be the Routt County Sheriff’s Office, but the vehicles also will be made available to other county departments, including Routt County Communications and Emergency Management, on an as-needed basis.

“The main reason these snowmobiles are being requested is to control trespassing on private lands,” County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak said.

The pair of four-stroke snowmobiles, along with a tow trailer, will cost the county about $21,700 to purchase – a cost which can be absorbed in the current year, because the Sheriff’s Office is expected to finish 2007 about $96,000 under budget.

The County Commissioners approved the purchase of the snowmobiles, pending a supplemental budget request, despite the lack of a formal bidding process – which the board ordinarily requires on capital purchases of more than $5,000. The commissioners agreed to waive the requirement since the Sheriff’s Office informally requested quotes from three different suppliers.

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The snowmobiles will also aid in winter search and rescue operations, allowing the Routt County Sheriff’s Office to assist Routt County Search and Rescue and to provide transportation for first responders while search teams are being mobilized, Undersheriff David Bustos said.

“We can hook them up and be ready to go at a moment’s notice,” Bustos said. “Sometimes a half hour or so makes all the difference.”

Five deputies already are certified to use the snowmobiles, and the Sheriff’s Office hopes to have everyone fully trained before spring arrives, Bustos said.