OURAY COUNTY BOCC gives staff go-ahead on Ridgway Fire proposal

By Bill Tiedje

After a lengthy discussion on Tuesday, the Board of Ouray County Commissioners directed County Attorney Marti Whitmore to begin drafting a potential intergovernmental agreement with the Ridgway Fire District regarding shared use of the fire district's new facility.


Commissioner Don Batchelder told the board the fire district had asked for a decision from the county by May 19.
He suggested the board could agree that the primary facility the county is considering to house the county's Emergency Medical Services (EMS) is the fire district's soon-to-be-built facility.
BOCC Chair Lynn Padgett and Commissioner Mike Fedel agreed to this suggestion.
"I'm pretty torn," said Chief Paramedic Kim Mitchell in response to Batchelder's question as to her thoughts on shared use of the new building. "I'm a little worried about money and the cost of being in that building."
Mitchell explained that volunteer staffing for EMS was "way down" and the new building's potential maintenance cost, estimated to be as high as $1000 to $2000 per month, could use up monies needed for personnel costs.
"We don't have people who can work during the days," Mitchell explained. "In the summer, (sometimes) we have all ambulances out."
Padgett interpreted Mitchell's comments as describing a need for resiliency, noting other EMS overhead needs that were not related to a new facility.
Padgett suggested monies in the EMS fund could be spent on a separate new facility for EMS, possibly using grant support or a lease/purchase scenario.
Batchelder questioned what other options Padgett felt existed for the county.
Padgett responded that use of the land use facility, vacant buildings in Trail Town, a new building in Ridgway USA or a condominium could be used to house EMS adequately.
Padgett also expressed frustration with the proposed building's unknown operating and maintenance costs.
Batchlder explained that it would not be possible to purchase or determine utility costs after the building was completed because of the fire district's funding needs.
"It would be nice if it ever felt like a two-way street," commented Padgett. "It feels like buying a used car, it shouldn't feel that way."
"It’s an emergency facility and it fulfills our needs," Fedel stated, noting that the county could not afford a multi-use facility.
In other business, the BOCC approved the low bid for purchase of a 2014 Chevy Tahoe from Dellenbach Motors in Fort Collins for $31,395 as a sheriff's vehicle.
Also, an intergovernmental agreement for noxious weed program management was approved with San Miguel County and a 36-hour per week deputy clerk position, created by resignation, was approved.