Town Trustees Approve "Rico Fall Fling" Special Event

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Sample image from Rico Board of Trustees online meeting - April 15, 2020.

Rico Board of Trustees

Regular Monthly Meeting

April 15, 2020

Marshals and Planning Commissioners appointed.

Monthly water bills relief during COVID-19 shutdown options discussed.

  • Water meters upgrade project seeks to employ Rico skilled technicians.

Watertank Road USFS road permit not needed while awaiting land survey.

  • USFS invites Town to participate in proposed review of land sale to Atlantic-Richfield.

Trustees present Barbara Betts - (Mayor), Nicole Pieterse (Mayor Pro Tem), Joe Dillsworth, Pat Fallon, Sophia Kyriakakis, Brandy Randall, Esteban Roberts. Mayor Pro Tem Pieterse presiding.


Town Staff present

Kari Distefano - Town Manager

Linda Yellowman - Town Clerk

Rico Fall Fling is planned for September 26-27 at Rico Town Park. Admission will be free.

Two bands will perform on stage each day. Other activities will include yoga and childrens' arts & crafts. Food and beverages will be available for purchase from vendors.

Co-organizer Amy Fordham participated in the Rico Trustees April 15, 2020 video conference meeting to describe Fall Fling and respond to Trustee's questions and comments. Board of Trustees unanimously approved a Special Event Permit, subject to two conditions:

  • Public Health Orders in effect at time of event, if any.
  • Town of Rico will be compensated if Town law enforcement and/or parks & recreation staff services are needed.

Details below are listed in the "Special Event Permit Information" document submitted to Town of Rico, dated March 10, 2020.


Organization Name Rico Frequency

Event Name Rico Fall Fling

Event Date September 26-27, 2020

Event Location Rico Town Park

Event Time 10 am - 6 pm

Entry Fee(s) Free Community Event

Nbr Attendees 250

Nbr Participants 25 (bands and staff members)

Nbr Vendors 8-10

Event Type Fundraising, outdoor concert, community recreation - celebration - enrichment.


Music performances on stage, daytime, two bands each day. Additional music performance at a side tent may be available.

Yoga each morning at 10:00 am for approximately one hour.

Kid's activities tent with arts & crafts projects, and face painting.

Tables or tents for Rico non-profit, charitable and other organizations' outreach and fundraising activities.

Food and beverage vendors Beverages may include beer, cider and wine. Breweries and vineyards at Durango, Mancos, Dolores and Cortez have been approached to provide products and sales staff.

Planning Considerations

Alcohol sales license

Vendor sales tax receipts


Parking and traffic flow in coordination with CDOT. Parking mostly on Glasgow Ave/Hwy 145. Parking maps and instructions will be available on event website.

Security & Law Enforcement Security checkpoint will be managed by a Rico Fire Department employee and volunteers. Event organizer proposed that uniformed security officers will be provided by Town of Rico. Town Trustees resolution (above) requires Town to be compensated for security services provided by Town.

Emergency Medical Care A request to Rico Fire Protection District for use of Rico Firehouse as "medical tent" has been submitted. Medical services to be provided by Dr. Sarah Kelley-Speering and Rico Fire Department volunteers.

Sanitation One Town of Rico and four additional rented portable toilets.

Electricity, Sound and Amplification Electricity for vendors from Picnic Shelter power supply. Stage power from portable generator. Professional sound system. Lighting not necessary.

Trash Collection & Removal Event organizer will provide bear-resistant dumpsters.

Special Event Permit application process and form adopted

At the previous monthly Rico Board of Trustees meeting, Trustees instructed Town staff to prepare a Special Event Permit. Criteria for proposed events inclusion or exclusion from permit requirements are listed below:

Special Event Permit Applications are required for special uses of the Town of Rico property including:

  • Parks
  • Town-owned open space
  • Town-owned facilities
  • Town-owned rights-of-way

Special events exempt from permitting:

  • Events attracting fewer than 50 people
  • Events co-hosted by the Town of Rico

The Special Events Permit application process begins with a Pre-Application meeting with Town Manager:

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The Special Use Permit application form includes five pages listing specific information required to be submitted.


Trustees approved the proposed application form, amending the fee schedule.

Marshals and planning commissioners appointed


Jerry Tevault and Jerry Sam will share Rico's part-time Marshal position, and will trade shifts once a week and twice a week alternating. Both have worked for Cortez and Dolores County. Jerry Tevault has been employed as a police office for 13 years. Jerry Sam has been employed as a police office for 19 years, and is currently the School Resource Officer in the Cortez Schools.

Planning Commission As recommended by Rico Planning Commission incumbent members, Trustees appointed Mike Contillo to fill a vacancy as a regular member of the Rico Planning Commission, and Skip Zeller and Frank Strachan as alternate members.

Water meters upgrade project

Town Manager has requested the Department of Local Affairs to allow Rico skilled labor to work on this project. This approach has two benefits for Rico: employment for Rico's skilled workers, and reduces the potential of outside workers transporting coronavirus to Rico.

Water meters upgrade project proposed staffing is described in the Trustees Packet:

By using the Town’s Responsible Operator, Pat Drew, as a project manager and inspector to ensure the meters are installed properly and Dennis Swank, the System Manager to wire the meters, along with a local plumber, a local electrician and three local skilled laborers, we believe that the Town can save money on things that would normally be included in a contractor’s price such as mobilization and other overhead expenses.

Pat Drew, our water system Responsible Operator, would be overseeing the project and inspecting the work. He is a certified Water Distribution System Operator, class 3. His license number is 11504. Dennis Swank would be replacing and re-wiring the meters. He is a certified Water Distribution System Operator, class 1. His license number is 6279. Both he and Pat have years of experience replacing meters. We would have four laborers doing the digging required to expose the meter pits and removing the old meters. The majority of the meters are not subject to freezing and can be replaced in their original housing but we will be encasing them in a foam box to provide additional insulation.

The meters that are subject to freezing will be relocated in houses or garages with the owners’ permission. So far we have only gotten permission from five owners in the area of Town that has the worse freezing problems. We will continue to pursue this. . . .

Town of Rico will receive a $72,477.25 grant from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) for water meter replacement. Town Manager will discuss cost-tracking and accounting procedures with DOLA this week.

Water bill relief considered

In a March 26, 2020 letter to Rico residents listing funding available to offset the coronavirus shutdown economic impact on personal incomes, Town offered to defer monthly bill payments if needed:

The Town will will also work with you if you find that you are unable to pay your water bill. Please call (970) 967-2863 if you need help.

Town Manager received a request for monthly water bill forgiveness. This question was included on the April Trustees meeting agenda for consideration by Trustees.

Water revenues and expenses

Town Manager described Rico water department revenues and expenses in the April 2020 Trustees Packet reports:

As you all know, receipt of water bill payments are what keeps our system functional and as you can see from the revenue side of the quarterly report, we are tracking close to what was budgeted for income. Discounting what was budgeted for tank repairs, we are also tracking close to what was budgeted as expenses for regular operations. Without an additional source of income, forgiving water bills entirely may put a strain on our system.

One thought would be to increase the cost of the speculative taps that are not associated with structures from $33 per month to $45 per month. This would allow us to offset the cost of helping people through this difficult time.

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Town Water Fund 2020 revenues through March 31 total $31,600.40, mostly from monthly water bill receipts. Labor, O&M and capital improvement expenses year-to-date total $35,017.29.

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Trustees reviewed other utility billing practices during the coronavirus shutdown: San Miguel Power Association, Fraley Gas, Direct Communications telephone and internet. None presently offer consumers' monthly bill forgiveness.

Trustees agreed that water bill payment deferral with installment catch-up payments is appropriate, but water bill forgiveness would be detrimental to Rico Water Fund finances.

Watertank Road crosses U.S Forest Services public lands, permit can wait 

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U.S. Forest Service map of Watertank Rd from Mantz Ave to Town of Rico water tanks. Map derived from survey plats, patents, BLM Master Title Plats and BLM/Forest Service information. Arrows, street/road names, and "Water Tanks" label added by Ore Cart.

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The issue of Watertank Road crossing public lands under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Forest Service was first reviewed at the February 19, 2020 Rico Board of Trustees meeting as a matter related to an application to re-plat lots on the north side of Mantz Avenue. Below is an excerpt of the first of two March 9, 2020 email correspondences from Justin Mapula - Realty Specialist - U.S. Forest Service San Juan National Forest Dolores Ranger District at Dolores, Colorado to Rico Town Manager Kari Distefano:

The “RicoWT” map shows that there are four places where the access roads (light blue) appear to cross wedges of National Forest (green) after leaving the original Rico Townsite Boundary plat (dark blue). There also appears to be part of one outbuilding on public land at the water tank site. The information compiled is from survey plats and patents and the BLM Master Title Plats and BLM and Forest Service information so the latest depiction and slivers in the attached images is believed to be the best representation, without a full detailed survey being completed. A number of mineral surveys were never patented and some had exclusions of conflictingunpatented claims and these surface lands remained public domain until later reserved as part of the National Forest System by proclamation in 1905.

USFS determined that Watertank Road is not a U.S. Forest Service road, and that the lower portion of Watertank Road (affecting the February 2020 re-plat application) does not cross USFS public land, according to Realty Specialist Mapula's correspondence to Town

Preparation of a permit for Town to continue using Watertank Road to access Town's water tanks will not happen quickly:

In this case we would need a survey, which might take some time to complete, as we use a BLM surveyor and I’ve been told that his season is already pretty booked. We have discussed a larger survey effort around Rico in the future, so it might be prudent to wait until then to get the small portions of Water Tank road and the outbuilding permitted.

Town Manager Distefano replied to USFS-Dolores and inquired if an interim, less formal agreement is needed for Town to continue use of Watertank Road. Realty Specialist Mapula responded, stating that USFS does not have a "template for an agreement of that nature," and record of these email correspondences is sufficient for Town to continue use the road.

USFS land conveyance to Atlantic-Richfield

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A portion of U.S. Forest Service map provided to Town of Rico. Arrow added by Ore Cart to indicate location of affected land parcel.

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Correspondence below dated February 24, 2020 from U.S. Forest Service - Dolores District Ranger Derek Padilla to Rico Town Manager Kari Distefano.

RE: Cultural Resources Memorandum of Agreement for the Atlantic-Richfield Small Tracts Act Application.

USFS proposes to convey 39.99 aces to Atlantic-Richfield as authorized by the Small Tracts Act. Location is on lower slope of Telescope Mountain about 0.5 mile north of Rico.

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USFS-Dolores justifies the land conveyance to Atlantic-Richfield:

The tract cannot be efficiently administered by the District because of its small size, shape and location. It comprises 39.99 acres of NFL land that remain as an irregularly shaped mineral survey fraction from mining claim patents that almost completely surround the tract.

The tract could be occupied and used an an integral part of adjacent private lands by the adjoining owner. The conveyed land would be used for additional long-term constructed wetland treatment ponds and associated ongoing CERCLA (Superfund) remediation activities for the Rico-Argentine Site and St. Louis Tunnel Adit.

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Archaeological survey results

The USFS planning process for the Atlantic-Richfield conveyance included contracting with an archaeological consulting company to perform an archaeological survey. Nearly half of the tract, 17.8 acres, was found to consist of "access-restricted wetland settling ponds that were visually surveyed on October 26, 2018. . . ." The settling ponds were deemed unlikely to contain "historic properties."


Non-wetland tract area survey of historic elements found one segment each of the Rio Grande Southern Railroad and RGSRR - Enterprise Branch, one historic mine opening, and one historic mechanically-excavated mine alcove.

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Historic documentation proposed - Town of Rico invited to consult

". . . the proposed land conveyance will have an adverse effect on the segment of the Enterprise Branch of the Rio Grande Southern Railroad . . . that falls within the tract. Within the context of the proposed conveyances, avoidance of adverse effect to this historic resource is not feasible, however the District is identifying potential options to minimize or mitigate the adverse effect."


To preserve the RGSRR - Enterprise Branch historic record, USFS-Dolores recommends "archival-quality documentation" consisting of:

  1. an architectual and historical narrative establishing the context of the resources,
  2. measured drawings that dimensionally represent the resource, and
  3. archival quality photography to fully document the resource. The District is inviting your input on this proposed mitigation option.

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Rico's "consulting party" role defined

If your organization is interested in participating as a consulting party, please respond by April 3, 2020 indicating this interest. As a consulting party, your organization would continue to receive information about the project and the development of the MOA and would be invited to provide additional input as mitigation options are developed and the MOA is drafted.

The Rico Board of Trustees instructed Town Manager to reply and affirm Town's desire to participate as a "consulting party" to the proposed Memorandum of Agreement between USFS and Atlantic-Richfield. Trustees concluded that a Board resolution is not needed for this action.