Focus on economic development, broadband, water rights

PRESS RELEASE
December 14, 2018

GARFIELD COUNTY, CO – The Garfield County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) has announced its policy directives, strategies, and priorities for 2019. The county’s action plan includes a focus on improving local broadband infrastructure, increasing service at the landfill, maximizing natural resource opportunities in the Piceance Basin, protecting West Slope water rights, and much more.

As part of the county’s ongoing investment in local infrastructure, communications towers at Sunlight and Lookout mountains are being replaced. A wireless broadband improvement project is aimed at improving service for residents in rural areas of Garfield County who have little to no access to broadband. At the Garfield County Landfill, a relocation of the scale house, increased septage capacity, and a wastewater treatment facility feasibility study are on track for 2019.

The policies for the coming year are determined over many months, and are brought before the BOCC for review and approval, before being included in the county budget.

“It’s a process that brings to the top what’s important to accomplish in 2019,” said County Manager Kevin Batchelder. “It’s important to myself, our staff, and our management team that we have clear direction, in terms of policy directives and an action plan.”

Many of the BOCC’s priorities for the upcoming year revolve around supporting citizens and the local economy. The county is working with federal, state and county governments to lower health insurance costs on the Western Slope. It is promoting the Garfield County Fair and Rodeo as the preeminent western heritage event in western Colorado. The county is also participating in community discussions on affordable housing; supporting energy production at the Jordan Cove project in Coos Bay, Ore.; and backing local agricultural- and tourism-based businesses.

On the federal and state levels, Garfield County continually supports historic access to public lands on county roads and rights-of-way, or RS 2477. The county is also working with the U.S. Department of the Interior and Bureau of Land Management on greater sage-grouse management plans and pushing for greater accuracy with habitat maps. Western Slope issues and priorities are a focus through BOCC support in work with the governor’s office and the state Legislature.

Promotion of senior services and community health programs are paramount in 2019, along with continued air-quality monitoring, and support of local nonprofits through the Human Services Commission and Garfield County Healthy Communities Coalition.

“It really does touch on major actions and projects we have going on in 2019,” said Commissioner Tom Jankovsky. “Every one of those points under infrastructure and investment have an action plan tied to them.”

The BOCC approved the 2019 policy directives and action plan unanimously, 3-0. These priorities and more indicated in detail in the 2019 budget section of the Garfield County website at www.garfield-county.com.

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