4 Rico infrastructure projects grant applications planned
New shop and sewer system
Town Park and electric utility reliability upgrades
Internet upgrades status
Proposed bridge ownership transfer
Silver Creek water diversion
top image - Dolores River bridge connecting Rico and West Rico
Ore Cart photo
December 25, 2022
Town of Rico and San Miguel Power Association ended 2022 with progress toward grant applications for major projects at Rico, Colorado. The Rico Board of Trustees received updates on these projects at its December 21, 2022 regular monthly meeting.
Town seeks to build a new shop, upgrade town park, and develop a central sanitation (sewer) system. SMPA proposes a backup "microgrid" power supply to provide electric service during interruptions.
Internet service upgrade is expected to begin in 2023. The Colorado Broadband Fund approved a grant application for Direct Communications, Rico's telephone and Internet service provider, in the second-half of 2022.
The United States Forest Service proposes to transfer ownership of the bridge between Rico and West Rico to Town. No funding is required.
Trustees approved a temporary moratorium on new subdivisions, as a negative ruling on Rico's request to move the Silver Creek surface water right may affect future water supply adequacy.
Trustees also approved a disturbance permit for another subdivision development which began the permitting process in 2021.
- Forest Service proposes bridge and road ownership transfer to Town of Rico
- Town Shop grant application opens March 1
- Town Park improvement plan grows
- Wastewater project needs updated "preliminary engineering report"
- Subdivision and PUD new applications temporary moratorium approved
- Fiberoptic Internet project installation contractor selection underway
- SMPA to seek Colorado microgrid "resiliency" grant for Rico backup power
- One subdivision disturbance permit approved, another continued to January 18
1. Forest Service proposes bridge and road ownership transfer to Town of Rico
U.S. Forest Service (USFS) Road 422, also known as Burnett Creek Road, begins at the Mantz Avenue intersection with Glasgow Ave/Hwy 145, and includes Mantz Ave west of the highway, portions of River and Picker Streets, and all of Eder Street in Rico. USFS proposed an ownership transfer of the “Burnett Creek Bridge” crossing the Dolores River at Rico in a November 2022 correspondence from the San Juan National Forest Supervisor at Durango.
- excerpt below -
Kara Chadwick, Forest Supervisor
San Juan National Forest
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Durango CO
November 8, 2022
Rico Mayor Nicole Pieterse
. . . The Forest Service does not have any records that the agency constructed, owns, holds easements for, is responsible for, or has maintained the portion of road within the Town limits. According to the Rico Town Manager and County Recorder and Assessors Office, the Town does not have any records regarding the ownership of this road. It is our understanding that the Town or County has maintained this portion of road for more than 30 years. The Forest Service is updating its records to reflect that the portion of road within the Town boundary is not an NFS Rd.
In 1991, the Forest Service reconstructed the Burnett Creek bridge, which crosses the Dolores River on this portion of road, to improve access to NFS Road 422 and NFS lands. According to the agency's files, this was based on an informal agreement with the Town of Rico and Dolores County. The Forest Service and the town intended for the custody and responsibility for the operation and maintenance of the Burnett Creek bridge to be transferred to the town of Rico. Please see the enclosed letter from William T Sexton, Forest Supervisor dated June 2, 1992, to Jim Greene, Mayor of Rico. However, this transfer never occurred according to Town and agency records. It is our understanding the Town of Rico is still interested in the transfer of the Burnett Creek bridge, and we have drafted the enclosed agreement for the town's consideration. . . .
Rico Board of Trustees
December 2022 Meeting Packet
USFS provided an Agreement for ownership transfer of "Burnett Creek Bridge" to Town of Rico in the November 8, 2022 correspondence. Town's legal advisers are reviewing the proposal.
U.S. Forest Service map shows route of NFS Road 422 (yellow) in Rico and location of "Burnett Creek Bridge" crossing Dolores River.
Rico Board of Trustees
December 2022 Meeting Packet
Title, road colors and labels
added by Ore Cart
2. Town Shop grant application window opens March 1
Architect's drawing of proposed Rico Shop building
Source: Rico Board of Trustees December 2022 Meeting Packet
Color enhancement added by Ore Cart
Details from Town Manager's comments in Trustees Meeting Packet
- Construction documents are on track to be completed prior to the start of March and the project is within budget.
- Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) EIAF Energy/Mineral Impact Assistance Fund grant application will open on March 1st and close on April 1st.
- If Town of Rico is awarded a grant for this project, it will cover 50% of the cost.
- Expenses to arrange financing will be about $37,500, which may be paid with Town's cash on hand or added to the financing.
- Sale of the commercial Main Street property will provide some funds to reduce Town's amount to be financed to about $400,000..
Town Manager Chauncey McCarthy provided additional information in response to a December 29, 2022 Ore Cart email inquiry:
- Town of Rico received a $25,000 grant from Colorado Department of Local Affairs to pay for some of the Shop site plan and basic structural design.
- total planning expense is expected to be about $80,000.
- design and engineering teams have been instructed to keep the project cost around $1.5 million.
- Main Street property pending sale is the current bike shop location on Glasgow Ave. Sale price was $195,000 which was determined through broker's opinion. Property is under contract and closing cannot happen until an ordinance is passed and becomes effective 30 days after second reading due to the charter.
Proposed Rico Town Shop floor plan
Source: Rico Board of Trustees
December 22. 2022 Meeting Packet
Proposed Rico Town Shop site plan
Source: Rico Board of Trustees
December 21, 2022 Meeting Packet
scroll down to
3) Town Shop soils remediation
3. Town Park improvement plan grows
Consultant Fischer Project Management and Consulting (FPM), hired by Town of Rico to review possible park and recreation improvements grant funding opportunities, has completed its research, reported Town Manager McCarthy. The scope of the proposed project has expanded to include improvements in Town Park and within the river corridor south of the Town Shop. These improvements may include:
- skate park
- bike jumps and pump track
- pavilion/covered ice rink
- primitive campground
- RGS trail improvements and early childhood development features
FPM identified five funders who align with this project and believe Town of Rico may reasonably request upwards of $625,000 of funding. Seven other funders "may align with the project depending on the finalized scope who could bring an additional $500,000 of funding."
4. Wastewater project needs updated "preliminary engineering report"
United State federal government agencies which developed Preliminary Engineering Reports standards for community infrastructure funding applications
Source: January 16, 2013 INTERAGENCY MEMORANDUM included in December 2022 Rico Board of Trustees Meeting Packet
Note: wastewater, sewer and sanitation terms used in Town of Rico and consultant's information refer to the same proposed project.
Town Manager McCarthy conferred with civil engineering firm Bohannan Huston representatives in November about prospects for Federal and Colorado funding to construct a Rico central wastewater system. The multidisciplinary engineering company has offices in New Mexico and Colorado. A followup correspondence from Bohannan Huston advised that Town’s previous Preliminary Engineering Reports (PER) are inadequate for Federal funding applications. Town Manager summarized the conversation and correspondence in the Trustees Meeting Packet:
An acceptable PER is one that meets the USDA RUS Bulletin 1780-2 and is normally required to be current, which is deemed to be five years or less by most agencies. None of the town’s past PERs currently meet both criteria.
Todd Burt and Donzil Worthington
Rico Town Manager Chauncey McCarthy
November 15, 2022
. . . Your Rico Centralized Wastewater project is a critical and challenging one, however, it may be progressing at just the right moment in time. With the current newly anticipated funding opportunities, we may be able to access adequate grant funds to not only get it started, but potentially fund the full endeavor. As this may be the best opportunity to pull this off, it is important that your project team can optimize efforts to fund it, but also ensure the project is planned to accommodate both growth and increasingly restrictive effluent limits in the future. The goal is to maximize subsidized capital funding now and minimize future operations and capital costs over the life of the facilities. To facilitate this process, an amendment to the prior reports would aide with the funding requests to various agencies.
. . . the chances of receiving funding for your wastewater project without a good current approved planning document will put the Town in a much less competitive position based on our experience. Also even more critical, the project planning documents are the basis for successfully accessing the maximum project capital funds.
Source: Rico Board of Trustees December 2022 Meeting Packet. See Appendix for more of excerpt.
Cost of PER update
The engineering firm proposed an amendment be prepared to combine previous wastewater treatment Preliminary Engineering Reports, at a cost of $50,000:
. . . an amendment would be developed that will include a compilation of the prior PER's and utilization of some of the previously developed information in order to maximize value from prior PER investments. This should allow a more economical approach while still generating a document to meet state review requirements as well as support state and federal funding efforts."
Town of Rico 2023 Budget Sanitation Fund (AKA "Sewer Fund") includes "$50,000 for miscellaneous engineering and legal which will be needed as town pursues a sanitation district."(1) The Sanitation Fund reserve balance at year-end 2022 was $235,415. It's primary revenue source is a 3.939 property tax mill levy.
Town Staff has drafted Request for Proposals (RFP) and Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for the wastewater project Preliminary Engineering Report update. Bohannan Huston may bid on the work, stated Town Manager McCarthy in a response to an Ore Cart email inquiry. Asked if funding wastewater funding applications will be for the Rico commercial area only, or for the entire town, Town Manager responded: "This has not been determined. We need a current PER to pursue funding from most entities."
Ore Cart related:
- Wastewater Treatment Proposal Ballot Resolution, School Building Proposed Ownership Transfer - August 20, 2019
- Sewer Plan B Technology Option Reviewed - January 24, 2020
- Sewer Committee Reviews Design Criteria for Rico Business Area - May 13, 2020
- Trustees Decide: No Residential Property Tax Increase for Proposed Commercial Area Sewer Project - March 21, 2021
5. Subdivision and PUD new applications temporary moratorium approved
Town may need to reactivate Silver Creek surface water source if population growth exceeds existing North well water right
Trustees approved Ordinance No. 2022-13, an Emergency Ordinance, enacting a temporary moratorium on the acceptance of applications for major or minor subdivisions, and residential or commercial planned unit developments. Reasons for this temporary moratorium are:
- number of possible building sites exceeds Town’s water rights capacity to deliver service.
- Colorado water division engineer objects to transferring Town’s Silver Creek point of diversion to another location.
At page 78 of the Trustees meeting packet, Town Manager McCarthy explains why a moratorium is needed:
According to the Harris Engineering report the town currently has enough water rights for 400 taps. There are over 700 possible building sites within the Town of Rico. We currently have 275 taps within the town and have forecasted an additional 20 connections within the next two years. With the state engineer objecting to the alternative point of diversion the town will need to reactivate Silver Creek. The proposed moratorium will allow the town and legal to design and implement impact fees.
Town of Rico previously proposed reactivating the Silver Creek surface water supply as a property tax proposal in 2021. Estimated cost was $4 million.
Rico’s legal advisers are finalizing Ordinance No. 2022-13. Once completed the ordinance will be made part of the public record and sent to all Board members.
6. Fiberoptic Internet project installation contractor selection underway
Rico Internet committee member Jim Ostrem provided an update on the Colorado Broadband Fund grant award, timeline, and next steps. Rico’s telephone and Internet service provider, Direct Communications, is mapping and evaluating existing conduit in some alleys for possible use. Direct Communications has received competitive bids from contractors for the upgrade to fiberoptic Internet in Rico, but has not yet selected one. After selection, contractor will have 24 months to complete work, but the project may be completed in summer 2023.
7. SMPA to seek Colorado microgrid "resilience" grant for Rico backup power
Power pole with transformer and service cable conduit at Rico, Colorado
Ore Cart photo
January 12, 2023
San Miguel Power Assoication's microgrid plan for Rico includes electric battery energy storage and a large array of solar photovoltaic panels. SMPA key accounts representative Terry Schuyler phoned Ore Cart publisher Allyn Svoboda on December 21, 2022, a few hours before the Rico Trustees meeting to explain the concept. Ore Cart publisher reported SMPA's proposed backup power design and funding sources at the evening Trustees meeting.
The January 18, 2023 Rico Board of Trustees meeting agenda includes a presentation by SMPA early in the meeting. Trustees will have a work session starting at 6:00 PM. The regular meeting begins at 7:00 PM. Location is Rico Courthouse/Town Hall, with remote participation via video-conference, and broadcast on KICO 89.5 FM.
Trustees Meeting video-conference links:
Colorado microgrid grant opportunity
The Colorado legislature approved House Bill 22-1013 Microgrids For Community Resilience Grant Program last year. SMPA discussed this funding opportunity with a Colorado Microgrids for Community Resilience representative in the first half of December 2022. Grant application period begins in February 2023.
Microgrids For Community Resilience Grant Program
Concerning the creation of a grant program to build community resilience regarding electric grid disruptions through the development of microgrids, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation.
Session: 2022 Regular Session
The act creates the microgrids for community resilience grant program (grant program) to be administered by the Division of Local Government (division) in the Department of Local Affairs (department), in collaboration with the Colorado Resiliency Office in the division and the Colorado Energy Office. A cooperative electric association or a municipally owned utility (utility) may apply to the division for a grant award to finance the purchase of microgrid resources in eligible rural communities within the utility's service territory that are at significant risk of experiencing severe weather or natural disaster events and in which one or more community anchor institutions, which institutions are important community, educational, health care, or other institutions, are located. The microgrids, which can be connected to or be disconnected from, and work independent of, the utility's electric grid, can increase an eligible rural community's ability to avoid or remediate interruptions to the electric grid, such as those caused by severe weather or natural disaster events.
- text highlighting added by Ore Cart
Colorado energy and local government staff provided details of the rural microgrid grant funding opportunity at a November 17, 2022 video-conference. Ore Cart publisher attended this event.
- A remote village with no connection to a regional electric "grid." The community generates all of its electric supply locally.
- A group of electric consumers, or a community, which receives normal electric supply in grid-connected mode, but switches to self-generating islanded mode during interruptions in normal service.
Federal funds also available from legislation approved by U.S. Congress in 2022
The 2022 Inflation Reduction Act passed by Congress includes direct pay incentives for electric cooperatives to deploy new energy technologies, including carbon capture, nuclear, energy storage, renewable energy and more, according to an August 12, 2022 text and video report by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association in Washington, DC.
8. One subdivision disturbance permit approved, another continued to January 18
A proposed culvert at Iron Draw and shared driveway within a wetlands buffer zone require Dolores River Trail Development applicants to obtain a disturbance permit before improvements can be constructed.
The Rico Planning Commission conducted a public hearing on December 14, 2022 and recommended approval of the disturbance permit for the Dolores River Trail Subdivision with conditions. Rico Board of Trustees voted to approve the permit at its December 21 meeting.
Source: Rico Board of Trustees December 21, 2022 Meeting Packet pages 31 and 63
2 maps combined by Ore Cart - labels added
Planning Commission also conducted a public hearing December 14 on a disturbance permit application at the Sam Patch patented mining claim to construct two small irrigation ponds within the restrictive inner buffer zone of wetlands. Applicant has been working with regional water commissioner, Dolores Water Conservation District, and has a proposed decree filed in water court.
Planning Commission recommended approval of this disturbance permit. Board of Trustees voted to “continue” consideration to the January 18, 2023 Board of Trustees meeting, to allow for more information about the ponds to be submitted by applicant.
Source: Rico Board of Trustees December 2022 Meeting Packet
Federal and Colorado "Preliminary Engineering Report" requirements described in November 15, 2023 Bohannan Huston engineering consultant's correspondence:
- Most, if not all USDA/CWSRF/DOLA11,2,3 and new funding opportunities related to the bipartisan infrastructure bill, such as the congressional directed spending, will require or be substantially more likely to be awarded with a current project PER in place.
- An acceptable PER is one that meets the USDA RUS Bulletin 1780-2 (attached) and is normally required to be current, which is deemed to be five years or less by most agencies. To our knowledge, none of your past PER’s currently meet both of these criteria.
- A PER meeting RUS Bulletin 1780-2 requires at least three alternatives analyzed with one identified as your selected alternative. This final selected alternative must be supported by an engineer’s opinion as to project cost to include design, legal, land and right-of-way, permitting, and construction. Additionally, a projection for operating costs and debt service along with a projected timeline for implementation is required. . . .
1. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA): Rural Utilities Service - Water & Environmental Programs
2. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) - Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF)
3. Colorado Department of Local Affairs:
to New Reports updates
on this report
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