San Miguel Power Assn proposes electric backup service for Rico


· School,Roads,Trustees Meeting,SMPA,Microgrid
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Grant application to State of Colorado for community resiliency is planned

also in this report

Rico school territory swap
RFPD Enterprise Zone
Forest Service Bridge ownership transfer
Rico Land Use Code fees
Town property sale ordinance
new snowcat


map at top courtesy of
San Miguel Power Association


Rico Board of Trustees meeting
January 23, 2023 - 7:00 PM
Rico Town Hall/Courthouse



  1. Options for electric supply during power outages presented to Rico Trustees
  2. Detachment of Rico from Dolores School District and annexation by Telluride explained
  3. Trustee and Planning Commissioners appointed to fill vacancies
  4. Rico Fire Protection District requests letter-of-support for Enterprise Zone application
  5. U.S. Forest Service Agreement for FS Road 422 and Burnett Creek Bridge ownership transfer approved
  6. Rico Land Use Code fee schedule amendments approved
  7. Town-owned commercial property sale Ordinance passes first reading
  8. New snow utility vehicle
  9. Appendix: Proposed Ordinance No. 2023-01



1. Options for electric supply during power outages presented to Rico Trustees

San Miguel Power Association Key Accounts Executive Terry Schuyler described SMPA's Rico electric service reliability improvement plan at the Rico Board of Trustees regular monthly meeting Monday, January 23, 2023 at Rico Town Hall in the Courthouse building.

The Trustees meeting was re-scheduled from Wednesday, January 18 due to a late-afternoon and early-evening electric service interruption.

SMPA’s concept to reduce Rico power outages is a combination of large utility-scale batteries and solar PV panels. Terry presented graphics to describe these and other options, possible funding sources, and a map showing the location of a fallen tree which caused the January 18 interruption.

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Map above indicates location of fallen tree which damaged the SMPA powerline providing service to Rico January 18, 2023 and caused a 3:40 hrs:mins power outage. The Dolores River separates the powerline corridor (white) from Highway 145 (yellow). Area at top where powerline and highway meet appears to be Cayton Campground.

graphic courtesy of
San Miguel Power Association

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Speaking from the in-person audience, Rico Geothermal Coalition lead Teal Stetson-Lee commented that geothermal was not included as an option for electric generation in the SMPA Rico microgrid presentation. “Rico is sitting on the second hottest range of hydro-geothermal in Colorado, Teal observed.” A State of Colorado Geothermal Grant is available to support geothermal energy development, Teal continued, and asked if SMPA has considered geothermal “since it runs 24 hours per day and could potentially provide a more reliable and consistent energy option.”

Terry: “Well, thanks for that, no, we have not explored that and this is great, I’d like to to work with you on exploring that further. . . ."

Skip Zeller asked, “Does there need to be more people in this valley for it to be economically viable?”

Terry: “. . . the current design is based upon the current 'load' of the town. The town uses on average peak load of 300 kilowatts. . . . If there was significant load growth, these systems are scalable, and can be added to and are expandable.”

. . .

Audio: rooftop solar PV and geothermal energy discussion by Teal Stetson-Lee and SMPA's Terry Schuyler during public comment.

The Colorado state government Department of Local Affairs Microgrids for Community Resilience Program has grant funds available for rural utilities. SMPA plans to apply first for a Planning Grant to evaluate options and costs, followed by an Implementation - Construction Grant application.

The Colorado Resiliency Office (CRO) will present a Planning for Microgrids Webinar Tuesday, February 14, 2023, 2:00 - 3:00 PM:

The CRO will be joined by consultants from the U.S. Department of Energy to provide more information on:

  • A brief introduction to microgrids in Colorado;
  • Background on the Microgrids for Community Resilience (MCR) Program, including the recent launch of the MCR Planning Grants available to Colorado utilities (and their community-based partners);
  • Case studies and examples of microgrid projects that are community-based;
  • Technical assistance from our U.S. Department of Energy partners, including a demo of a modeling tool that is available for pre-planning grant support.
  • Questions and Answers

Colorado Department of
Local Affairs email
- February 1, 2023 


2. Detachment of Rico from Dolores School District and annexation by Telluride explained

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Rico Elementary School

Ore Cart photo
February 10, 2023

Telluride School District Superintendent John Pandolfo presented graphics describing the procedure and timeline required to schedule and conduct elections in Dolores County School District (DC-SD) and Telluride School District for detachment of Rico from DC-SD and annexation by Telluride SD. These steps are defined in Colorado Revised Statutes Title 22 Article 30.

The process of transferring territory from one district or county to another is also known as “striking off.”

An organizing committee with members from all three affected communities has formed to prepare for a detachment election. If the committee meets all timeline deadlines, the soonest an election could be scheduled is November 2023, stated Superintendent Pandolfo. If voters in all three regions approves Rico’s detachment and annexation, the school district boundaries revision will be effective July 1, 2024.

Commenting from the audience during Q&A, Skip Zeller recalled the previous attempt to swap Rico school territory from DC School District to Telluride, “The resistance from the other end of the county was lack of revenue, are we still facing that challenge?”

“I think the belief is that the conditions are much more favorable," replied Telluride Superintendent Pandolfo. I think that’s why the Dolores County School District wanted to wait until their recent bond vote, to see what happened with that.”

“I think it’s a really good idea right now," he continued, referring to the proposed territory transfer. “I know folks in Telluride generally are in favor of it. Many of us agree it is what’s best for kids.”

“I was part of the re-organizing committee” recalled Rico Mayor Nicole Pieterse. “I think it was 2003 or 2004, we had that vote, and the measure did not pass in Dolores County. It passed in the Rico portion of Dolores County, but not in Dove Creek.”

. . .

Audio: Skip Zeller asks Telluride Schools Superintendent John Pandolfo if Dolores County School District is receptive to Rico detachment.


3. Trustee and Planning Commissioners appointed to fill vacancies

Town of Rico received one letter of interest to fill one Board of Trustees vacancy. Trustees voted unanimously to appoint applicant Jordan Carr, who was sworn-in and participated as Trustee for the remainder of the meeting.

Four applicants submitted letters of interest for appointment to four open seats on the Rico Planning Commission. Two were regular seats whose terms have ended, one was an alternate seat whose term has also ended, and one alternate seat had been vacated. Trustees appointed Mike Contillo to chairperson of the Planning Commission, Cristal Hibberd to a full-term seat, Brad Fox to an alternate full-term, and Kip Smith to the one-year alternate.



4. Rico Fire Protection District requests letter-of-support for Enterprise Zone application

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South portion of Rico Firehouse with celltower/flagpole and Expectation Mountain.

Ore Cart photo
February 8, 2023


Rico Fire Protection District plans to apply for enterprise zone designation. If approved by Region 9 Economic Development District of Southwest Colorado and the Southwest Enterprise Zone program, financial donors to Rico Fire’s proposed new building will qualify for capital investment income tax credits.

Region 9 Enterprise Zone webpage describes the income tax incentives as 25% State Tax Credit for cash donations, 12.5% State Tax Credit for in-kind contributions.

Trustees approved a draft letter of support for RFPD's enterprise zone application which was included in the meeting packet:

From: Town of Rico

Attention to: Region 9 Enterprise Zone Program

The Town of Rico supports the RFPD/Rico Fire Protection District's proposal for an Enterprise Zone Contribution project in support of their anticipated Firehouse expansion.

RFPD is the sole emergency response agency in eastern Dolores County, and also is the primary emergency response to a 35-mile section of Colorado Highway 145. In addition to structural fire protection for the Town and regional wildland fire response, RFPD provides the only ambulance service between Telluride and Dolores, and is also the base of operations for Dolores County search and rescue (SAR) for eastern Dolores County.

RFPD plans to construct an additional building in order to house the significant amounts of apparatus and equipment needed for their emergency response operations and to add classroom and training space for their responders and providers.

Additional space would also improve RFPD's ability to seat, feed and shelter people: as one of the few public spaces in Town, the Firehouse is used for community and fundraising events, and is designated in the Dolores County Emergency Operating Plan as an emergency shelter.

We recognize that, while the District provides many services and covers a wide area, the tax base that supports the District is limited to the Town of Rico. We believe that RFPD's approval for the Enterprise Zone designation will encourage the significant private donations that will be necessary to realize this project.

Nicole Y Pieterse, Mayor

. . .

audio: Town Manager Chauncey McCarthy and Rico Fire Protection Administrator David Kunz explain RFPD's Economic Development Zone designation goal.



5. U.S. Forest Service Agreement for FS Road 422 and Burnett Creek Bridge ownership transfer approved

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"Burnett Creek Bridge" spanning Dolores River between Rico and West Rico. Photo from Rico Board of Trustees January 2023 meeting packet.

Colorado Department of Transportation
photo - June 14, 2022


Board of Trustees first reviewed the USFS bridge and road ownership transfer proposed agreement at its December meeting. Trustees requested Town of Rico’s legal counsel review the agreement. The resulting “red-line” agreement is the product of discussions between Rico’s legal team and USFS.

Trustees also requested at the December 2022 meeting for the most recent Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) engineering evaluation of the bridge be included in the January 2023 Trustees Meeting Packet.

Town Manager MCarthy described CDOT’s suggested bridge repairs and load-carrying rating: “Most all repairs are pretty light, there’s nothing major. The bridge is fully rated for any CDOT compliant trucks to go over it.”

Trustees voted unanimously to approve the proposed bridge and road transfer agreement with USFS.

. . .

audio: Rico Mayor Nicole Pieterse opens discussion and Town Manager Chauncey McCarthy explains USFS bridge condition.


CDOT bridge photos show minor damage 

Photos below from a June 14, 2022 Colorado Department of Transportation inspection of the bridge are a sample from the January 28, 2023 Rico Board of Trustees meeting packet.


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Erosion at northeast corner of deck



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"Spall" (crumbling concrete) in east curb



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Asphalt crack 


Maps of USFS Rd 422 and bridge previously published at:
4 Rico infrastructure projects grant applications planned
- Ore Cart - January 16, 2023



6. Rico Land Use Code fee schedule amendments approved

The proposed fee schedule change was discussed during the November 16, 2022 Board of Trustees meeting. Trustees conducted a public hearing at its December 21, 2022 meeting and approved the first reading of Ordinance No. 2022-12 with no requested amendments.

Town Manager McCarthy described the purpose of the Ordinance: “It changes our fee structure from a square foot driven one to an evaluation driven one.”

Rico Trustees voted unanimously in favor of a proposed Ordinance amending the Rico Land Use Code Fee Schedule, and adopting Uniform Building Code 97 table No. 1-a –Building Permit Fees.



7. Town-owned commercial property sale Ordinance passes first reading

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Ore Cart photo
February 2, 2023


Trustees voted to approve the first reading of proposed Ordinance No 2023-01. If approved at the second reading on the February Monthly Trustees meeting agenda, the Ordinance will authorize sale of Town-owned property at 13 South Glasgow Avenue. The ordinance is re-published in the Appendix of this report.

Ordinance approval and property sale process is described in the Trustees January 2023 Meeting packet:

If the town sales any property an ordinance is required approving the sales per the Town’s charter. This ordinance must go through two readings and is not effective until 30 days after the second reading.

Sale of the bike shop property was first proposed at the April 20, 2022 Rico Board of Trustees meeting. Minutes of the meeting's Discussion Items section includes a Town Shop Improvements update in which Town Manager McCarthy suggested that sale of Bike Shop property may partially fund new Town Shop construction:

Consideration should be made to potentially fund the new shop by selling the bike shop.

Rico Board of Trustees agreed with the the bike shop sale concept:

The board directed staff to look into the proper method to sell this town property. The board is on board with selling it for fair market value or higher if it will fund the new shop.

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June and December 2022 Trustees Meetings agendas included executive sessions to discuss the proposed bike shop sale. A November 2022 executive session agenda item does not describe a property location: 

June 15th, 2022

Executive Session: Town owned fire station parcel and bike shop building parcel §24-6-402(4)(e), C.R.S. Determination of positions relative to matters that may be subject to negotiations, development of strategy for negotiations and instruction of negotiators.

November 16th, 2022

Executive Session: Town owned commercial space §24-6-402(4)(e), C.R.S. Determination of positions relative to matters that may be subject to negotiations, development of strategy for negotiations and instruction of negotiators.

December 21st, 2022

Executive Session: Bike shop contract, Town owned commercial space §24-6-402(4)(e), C.R.S. Determination of positions relative to matters that may be subject to negotiations, development of strategy for negotiations and instruction of negotiators.

. . .

A history of actions In December 2022 to complete the Contract to Buy and Sell Real Estate is included in the January 2023 Trustees Meeting packet:

December 22, 2022

2:29 PM document created by Nicole Pieterse
2:31 PM document emailed to buyer
5:42 PM document viewed by buyer
5:44 PM document e-signed by buyer

Rico Trustees executive session agenda items listed above reference Colorado Revised Statutes which define purposes for local public body closed-door meetings:


(4) The members of a local public body subject to this part 4, upon the announcement by the local public body to the public of the topic for discussion in the executive session, including specific citation to this subsection (4) authorizing the body to meet in an executive session and identification of the particular matter to be discussed in as much detail as possible without compromising the purpose for which the executive session is authorized, and the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the quorum present, after such announcement, may hold an executive session only at a regular or special meeting and for the sole purpose of considering any of the following matters; except that no adoption of any proposed policy, position, resolution, rule, regulation, or formal action, except the review, approval, and amendment of the minutes of an executive session recorded pursuant to subsection (2)(d.5)(II) of this section, shall occur at any executive session that is not open to the public:

(a) The purchase, acquisition, lease, transfer, or sale of any real, personal, or other property interest; except that no executive session shall be held for the purpose of concealing the fact that a member of the local public body has a personal interest in such purchase, acquisition, lease, transfer, or sale; . . .

(c) Matters required to be kept confidential by federal or state law or rules and regulations. The local public body shall announce the specific citation of the statutes or rules that are the basis for such confidentiality before holding the executive session. . . .

(e) (I) Determining positions relative to matters that may be subject to negotiations; developing strategy for negotiations; and instructing negotiators.

- emphasis added by Ore Cart



8. New snow utility vehicle 

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Snowcat parked at Rico Courthouse/Town Hall

Ore Cart photo
February 2, 2023


Town of Rico purchased a snowcat recently. Purchase price was $40,680, and a $36,000 Rico Center grant reduced Town's expense, according to Rico Town Clerk Anna Wolf.

The vehicle provides more stable human transport to Town water tanks in deep snow compared to a single-track snowmobile, and will be used to pull the ski trail groomer, added Anna. Tracks may be removed and replaced with wheels for non-winter seasons use.



9. Appendix




WHEREAS, the Town of Rico, Colorado (the “Town”) is a Colorado home rule municipality organized pursuant to Article XX of the Colorado Constitution and with the authority of the Rico Home Rule Charter (the “Charter”); and

WHEREAS, the Board of Trustees (the “Board”) has the power pursuant to C.R.S. §§ 31- 15-101(d) and 31-15-713(1)(b) to sell and dispose of, by ordinance, real property owned by the Town and not used or held for any governmental purpose; and

WHEREAS, pursuant to the Charter Article XIV § 14.1, the Board is authorized to sell or dispose of, by ordinance, the Town’s interest in real property; and

WHEREAS, the Town owns that real property described as Lot 7, Block 1, Town of Rico, according to the official plat of said Town, recorded in the office of the Clerk and Recorder, Dolores County, State of Colorado, also known as 13 South Glasgow Avenue, Rico, Colorado 81332 (the “Property”); and

WHEREAS,the Board has determined that it is in the best interest of the Town to sell the Property; and

WHEREAS, the Town has negotiated a Contract to Buy and Sell Real Estate for the Property (the “Contract”) with the Buyer, Rico Loco Bicycles LLC, a Colorado limited liability company, dated December 22, 2022. Such Contract is attached hereto as Exhibit 1, and incorporated herein by reference; and

WHEREAS, the Contract is contingent on the Board’s approval of the Contract; and

WHEREAS, the Board has reviewed the Contract and desires to approve it; and

WHEREAS, the Board has determined that the adoption of this ordinance is necessary and proper to provide for the safety, health, prosperity and order of the Town.


Section 1. The recitals above are hereby adopted as findings and incorporated herein. Section 2. The Board hereby approves the sale of the Property pursuant to the terms of the Contract attached as Exhibit 1.

Section 2. The Board hereby approves the sale of the Property pursuant to the terms of the Contract attached as Exhibit 1.

Section 3. Ordinances authorizing the acquisition or disposal of real estate interests shall take effect thirty days after final approval and shall be subject to citizen referendum according to the procedures in the Charter, Article XII.

Section 4. All ordinances heretofore passed and adopted by the Board are hereby repealed to the extent that said ordinances, or parts thereof, are in conflict with this Ordinance.

Section 5. If any section, subsection, clause, phrase or provision of this Ordinance, or the application thereof to any person or circumstance, shall to any extent, be held by a court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, void or unconstitutional, the remaining sections, subsections thereof to any person or circumstance, shall remain in full force and shall in no way be affected, impaired or invalidated.



Nicole Pieterse, Mayor


Anna Wolf, Town Clerk



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