Fiberoptic cable installer selection begins, backup electric service proposed



Rico Board of Trustees Meeting
- January 16, 2023 -

· Subdivisions,Internet,SMPA,Trustees Meeting
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- also -

1 approval,
1 continuance,
and a moratorium . .

top image:
fiberoptic cable pulbox
in west Rico
- Ore Cart photo 




  1. Fiberoptic Internet project installation contractor selection underway
  2. SMPA to seek Colorado microgrid "resiliency" grant for Rico backup power
  3. Subdivision and PUD new applications temporary moratorium approved
  4. One subdivision disturbance permit approved, another continued to January 18



1. 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.

more info:
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Town Trustees Appoint Internet Committee
- October 24, 2021



2. SMPA to seek Colorado microgrid "resilience" grant for Rico backup power 

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Power pole with transformer and service cable conduit at Rico, Colorado

Ore Cart photo
January 12, 2023


San Miguel Power Association'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.


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 SessionSubject: EnergyBill Summary


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




Microgrid examples

  • 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.


more info:
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Microgrids for Community Resilience Program - Colorado Department of Local Affairs



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.



3. 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.


more info:
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Ore Cart - May 5, 2021
> scroll down to Re-activating the Silver Creek water system



4. 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.


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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.

Rico Board of Trustees
December 2022 Meeting Packet


more info:
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Ore Cart March 13, 2022 
> scroll down to 2) Dolores River Trail Subdivision