Rico Trustees Meeting - June 21, 2023

· VCUP,Subdivisions,Trustees Meeting,Water System,Wastewater
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Subdivisions . . Trustees Meeting . . VCUP . . Wastewater . . Water System

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Rico Firehouse was the site for blood lead level testing Thursday 6/22 through through Sunday 6/25. Paula Mestas of Mobile Phlebotomy LLC shows a blood sample vial while Rick Sharrow works at a computer. This free service was funded by Atlantic Richfield Company. About 70 Rico residents participated, according to Paula.

Ore Cart photo
June 23, 2023

In this report

  1. Rico School detachment & annexation update
  2. Wastewater preliminary engineering report
  3. Park upgrade
  4. USFS Memorandum of Agreement with Colorado State Historic Preservation Office
  5. Dolores River Trail Subdivision final plat approved
  6. Subdivision applications temporary moratorium - second reading
  7. Liquor licenses approved
  8. Revised seniors shuttle to Cortez approved
  9. Voluntary Lead Cleanup (VCUP) Update
  10. “A-lot of water projects percolating”
  11. Commercial properties violating Rico Land Use Code



1) Rico School detachment & annexation update: community engagement sessions


Rico School Annexation and Detachment Planning Committee member Tracy Voss Condon reviewed the proposed transfer of the Rico area from Dolores County School District (DCSD) to Telluride School District.

Telluride and Dolores County School District superintendents submitted a draft reorganization plan to the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) Commissioner June 7. The cover letter which accompanied the draft plan lists actions beginning in December 2022 by the two school districts and planning committee to prepare for a detachment and annexation vote by electors in the two districts.

The planning committee hosted community engagement meetings June 20 at Telluride Elementary School, June 21 at DCSD board room in Dove Creek, and June 21 at Rico Town Hall to gather comments on the draft reorganization plan. The committee met June 22 at Rico Town Hall to review these comments and results of an online survey and revise the draft plan if needed, before submitting a final reorganization plan to CDE for approval.

The June 7 cover letter to CDE lists describes the final action prior to an election:

Assuming approval is received, and the Committee will move forward with the Plan, and would then notify the County Clerks of Dolores and San Miguel Counties by July 28 of intent to participate in the November 7, 2023 election.

. . .

more info:



2) Wastewater preliminary engineering report

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Donzil Worthington and Carolyn Pepin review the purpose for preparing a preliminary engineering report to support a future Rico application for wastewater system funding at the Rico Board of Trustees meeting - June 22, 2023 at Rico Town Hall.



Representatives of engineering and design firm Bohannan Huston visited Rico June 21 to meet with Town of Rico staff, review potential sites for wastewater a treatment plant, and walk around most of Rico. The engineering firm will prepare a wastewater system preliminary engineering report.

"Now Is the right time and the right place," for municipal infrastructure projects, thanks availability of Federal funds, explained Donzil Worthington during a presentation to the Rico Board of Trustees at the evening meeting.

Worthington thanked Trustees for selecting his company for the first step of the wastewater project. He complimented Town staff for its efforts to obtain funding.


A preliminary engineering report is a requirement for loan and grant applications, he explained. The report will list wastewater treatment options and a construction timeline using a document format specified the Rural Utilities Service, (RUS) an agency within the U.S. Department of Agriculture. RUS is the successor of the Rural Electrification Administration.

Bohannan Huston recently opened an office in Grand Junction, Colorado. Its headquarters is Albuquerque, New Mexico.

more info:

Ore Cart - January 16, 2023
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4. Wastewater project needs updated "preliminary engineering report"



3) Park upgrade

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Ore Cart photo
August 21, 2022

Fischer Project Management and Consulting (FPM) representative Christine Fischer reported receipt of proposals from several vendors for various park equipment upgrades. A public presentation will be scheduled in July to present options to Rico children and adults.

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more info:

Ore Cart - January 16, 2023
scroll down to
3. Town Park improvement plan grows

> Ore Cart - August 25, 2022



4) USFS Memorandum of Agreement with Colorado State Historic Preservation Officer

The U.S. Forest Service San Juan National Forest (USFS) requested Town of Rico to sign a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between USFS and the Colorado State Historic Preservation Officer regarding sale of a USFS tract north of Rico to Atlantic Richfield Company.

(Trustees meeting packet excerpt):

Included in the packet is an MOA between the USFS and the Colorado State Historic Preservation regarding small tracts act case no 2020 Atlantic Richfield Company. In addition to the agreement a plat of the proposed tract has been included. The Forest Service has requested that the town sign the agreement as a concurring party. In accordance with 36 CFR § 800.6(c)(3), a concurring party is a consulting party invited to concur in the agreement document but who does not have the authority to amend or terminate the agreement. Like an invited signatory's signature, a concurring party signature is not required to execute the agreement; a concurring signature is essentially an endorsement of the agreement. Thus, the refusal to sign by any party asked to concur in the agreement does not prevent the agreement from being executed. Whether any or all other consulting parties are invited to concur in an agreement is at the federal agency's sole discretion. Extending the offer to sign an agreement as a concurring party may be an effective way of recognizing the assistance and support that a party has provided for the actions being evidenced in the agreement and encouraging their ongoing support. Signing the amendment doesn’t obligate the Town of Rico to any work, it only endorses the agreement and the change.

Trustee Fallon proposed to table this item. Mayor Pieterse received by email the MOA from USFS shortly before the Trustees meeting, which was too late to include in the packet. Trustees voted to table consideration of the USFS request, to allow more time to review the document.



5) Dolores River Trail Subdivision final plat approved

Trustees approved a resolution to accept the Dolores River Trail Subdivision final plat. This subdivision was approved by the Board of Trustees at the April 19, 2023 meeting, and "execution of this resolution is a required step in the subdivision process," according to notes in the Trustees meeting packet.

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more info:

Ore Cart - April 26, 2023
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5. Dolores River Trail Development final plat gets green light



6) Subdivision applications temporary moratorium - second reading

Ordinance No. 2023-03 extends the existing temporary moratorium on accepting new land use applications for major or minor subdivisions, and residential or commercial planned unit developments until December 31, 2023. Trustees approved the first reading at the May 17, 2023 monthly meeting.

Purpose of the six-month extension is explained in the Trustees meeting packet:

Town staff and contract employees need more time to work through water issues and availability, and funding opportunities.

> Note: see Silver Creek Water Supply Reactivation, and Rates and Impact Fee Study - below.



7) Liquor licenses approved

Trustees approved applications for:

  • 2 Rico LLC, dba Silver Creek Rico.
  • Special event license for Rico Frequency - Street Dance on Mantz July 4.



8) Revised seniors shuttle to Cortez approved

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Ore Cart artistic rendering


Rico Board of Trustees first approved an intergovernmental agreement with Montezuma County for twice-monthly transportation service to Cortez for medical appointments and grocery shopping for Rico seniors at its May 17 monthly meeting. Montezuma Board of County Commissioners considered the plan May 23 and instructed the County transportation department to re-calculate expenses. The revised agreement raised the cost to be paid by Town of Rico from $250 to $325 per trip. Trustees authorized Town staff and mayor to proceed with signing the Agreement which will be effective through December 2023.

The Rico Center will provide a grant to Town of Rico for this service for the remainder of 2023, explained Town Manager Chauncey McCarthy during aJune 23 follow-up conversation with Ore Cart. Montezuma County will bill Medicare or Medicaid for for the cost of the service if Rico users indicate participation in these Federal programs.



9) Voluntary Lead Cleanup (VCUP) Update

Mayor Pieterse reported that the Rico Planning Commission recommended approval of a Land Use Code update for soils storage. Mayor and Town Manager met with Atlantic Richfield and Rico’s VCUP attorney to discuss details for 11 hours over 2 days. Trustees held an executive session at the end of Wenesday night meeting to review the details.



10) “A-lot of water projects percolating”

Using a coffee pot analogy to begin the water projects report, Town Manager McCarthy described possible upgrades to Rico's water supply and distribution.

Silver Creek Water Supply Reactivation

A new intake, connections to distribution system, filters upgrade. Senator Hickenlooper submitted a Congressional Directed Spending (CDS) proposal. Status of this request is Congressional review for inclusion in Federal government 2024 budget

A recent discussion with Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) about an eligibility survey requirement for a financing application to the State Revolving Fund low-interest loan program. This fund is for design and construction of Colorado water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure. Possible economic feasibility rate studies. Rico's goal is 80% CDS funding, 20% Town match, with the State Revolving Fund as backup if CDS funding is denied. A note in the Trustees meeting packet states "this project has been submitted to the State Revolving Loan Fund."

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Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
Steps for Low-Interest Loans


Automated Metering Infrastructure (AMI)

(Trustees meeting packet excerpt):

The new water meters the Town is using allow for remote reading through a gateway and antenna system. Currently town staff reads meters through a handheld device. If the board elects to move forward with the AMI systems, meters can be read every 15 minutes without staff needing to be in the field. Being able to read meters daily can help the town alert property owners of leaks in real time and would save unnecessary water consumption. Town has provided an asset list and service address list to Neptune to start the propagation study needed to determine gateway location is cost. Initial cost estimates are around $20,000 – $50,000.


Rates and Impact Fee study

Town received a recommendation for a consultant to design water rates and an impact fee. This analysis provide the numbers needed to establish an impact fee to be imposed on subdivision developers.

Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping of the Rico water distribution plant. This project would create a computer map of waterlines, valves, meters and other equipment. A computer file database of attributes describing lines and equipment would replace information stored in a engineer’s or system operator's head.

(Trustees meeting packet excerpt):

The result of this project would allow for town staff to utilize handheld devices, in the field, to locate watermains, valves, curb stops, meter pits, and service lines.

Cost-share funds may be available from the U.S. Bureau of Redclamation (USBR) Watersmart Small-Scale Water Efficiency Projects.



.11) Commercial properties violating Rico Land Use Code

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Ore Cart photo
June 24, 2023

“All businesses in Rico are out of compliance with Land Use Code," stated Town Manager McCarthy.” He described various types of violations, such as open storage, banners, exposed metal sharp edges, clutter, safety and hazards. Temporary signs in Highway 145 bike lanes are hazards to bicyclists.

Town Manager had informal conversations with violators, and requested direction from Trustees for how to proceed with Land Use Code enforcement. Some violations have existed for years with no enforcement by Town, he stated.

Trustee Pat Fallon suggested a “polite letter" to violators as the first formal action. Mayor Nicole Pieterse recommended safety and hazard issues are the top priorities. Town Manager proposed a letter to violators to advise of the pending adoption of an updated Land Use Code, after which a time period for compliance with the new Code will be enforced.