The Work Session on Tuesday began with an update from the Transportation Department’s Coordinator, Kevin Bruce. The latest on the new Transit Facility was presented noting that the request for proposal had been completed and the department is now waiting for NEPA approval through the Federal Transit Administration. (Note: as of the evening of 5/2/23, approval was received from the FTA and an invitation to bid will be put out on May 18, 2023.) The Transportation Department was recently awarded $114,000 in grant funds to design and engineer a Park & Ride location in Aspen Springs. The property for the Park & Ride location is currently owned by CDOT and will be deeded to Archuleta County in the next one to two months. Davis Engineering has been approached to begin concept drawings. CDOT does have concerns with the distance between Hwy 160 and the bridge across Stollsteimer which is only 150 feet as opposed to the suggested distance of 250 feet. Bruce is looking at partnering with local agencies like the School District to relocate a bus stop and PAWSD for a possible water filling station. The process has begun to apply for grant funding to get the parking lot paved and there could be possibilities for electric vehicle (EV) charging stations and extending the Bustang route beyond Bayfield to include Aspen Springs.
To increase ridership, Bruce has been conducting outreach to local groups like Vets4Vets, the Chamber of Commerce, Department of Human Services and the Rotary Club. From June to August Mountain Express Transit (MET) will participate in the Zero Fare for Better Air initiative, during Colorado’s high ozone season.
The Transportation Department is expected to receive a new bus anticipating delivery in May with a second bus in the pipeline to be delivered in the 4th quarter of 2023 or the 1st quarter of 2024. With the second bus, a spare will be available for unexpected breakdowns. Regular route buses rack up about 3,000 miles per month which require regular maintenance and costly repairs as they age. Commissioner Maez requested a current cost analysis of bus repairs over their lifetime. A competitive funding opportunity (FY 23 5339B) through the FTA has been applied for to support state and local efforts to buy or modernize buses, improve bus facilities, and support workforce development. Lease options for ADA accessible buses are under review.
The MET services to Durango through Arboles continue on a weekly basis and the bus drivers really stepped up during the closure of CO 151 due to flooding. Currently the route from Arboles to Pagosa is full on a regular basis.
The Transportation Department is working with the town to identify new and safer locations for bus stops. Mostly to relocate them from busy parking lots providing safety and ADA access. These stops are currently in the Town rights-of-way and talks related to installation and maintenance are in the works. The Town Council has approved purchasing new shelters and will take around 30 weeks to receive once ordered. Consideration for a cluster stop at the new Pagosa Springs Apartments is under review.
Next year the National RTAP will require location stops for all bus routes be added to their General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) system for stop locations to be visible universally on all mapping sites like Google and Apple maps. A social media push is working to increase ridership along with streamlining the website to find routes and fees more easily.
County Manager Woodman gave an update on the Public Health Department Transition to include that interviews for Public Health Director have been scheduled for May 12, 2023, and that two Public Health Directors in the surrounding area will be part of the interview process. Woodman presented on the status of the Nurse Family Partnership program and noted that the program must maintain 50-60 clients to receiving state funding. This is currently a 3 County program shared with La Plata and San Juan. A verbal memorandum of understanding (MOU) has been established with La Plata County for Archuleta County to receive its portion of the funding and discussion on WIC has been postponed due to budget.
Woodman’s Admin Report updated the BoCC on an upcoming meeting between the County Public Works Department and the Town of Pagosa Springs to come to an agreement on the responsibility for maintenance of a certain section on Light Plant Road. Back in the 90’s the Town received funding from CDOT to pave a portion of Light Plant Road paved on the basis that the Town would be responsible for maintaining the road to include patching asphalt. The Town believes that this section of road is the responsibility of the County, but based on this agreement with CDOT the County believes otherwise.
The River Access Lease Agreement with PAWSD is in the drafting process for visitors and residents to have access through a gate on Dry Creek. Access would be available from May – September.
Heavy equipment repair quotes were reported and to bring the landfill bulldozer to operable condition comes with a cost of $180,000 compared to purchasing new for over one million dollars. Commissioner Maez commented that with such a low tax rate the County budget for repairs cannot keep up with inflation and that most of the heavy equipment used in the County is from the 80’s. Woodman commented that the Fleet department would be over budget by $400,000 from the unexpected repairs and increase in the price of fuel but is hopeful that any leftover budget money from other departments will offset the overage.
Items of mutual interest were brought up next with Commissioner Brown informing the BoCC that there is an opening on the San Juan Basin Public Health Board. The term would only be filled until December 31, 2023, and it would be helpful to fill the position with someone who has the experience and expertise to be appointed. Brown instructed staff to advertise the position and follow policy in the recruitment process. The SJBPH board prefers not to add additional services during the Public Health Department transition.
Commissioner Medina updated the BoCC on the Durango Wine Experience event which helped raise funds for Archuleta Seniors and informed everyone that there are still tickets available for the 1st annual Kentucky Derby party to raise funds for Archuleta Seniors Inc. The event will be held at the Tennyson Event Center on Saturday May 6, 2023, from 3pm to 6pm.
At a recent Rotary Club meeting RISE presented and would like to recruit Short Term Rental Owners to provide temporary housing for those in need experiencing domestic violence and sexual assault. Medina asked if the County could possibly offset costs to include taxes, fees, etc.
The Los Pinos Fire Station had its grand opening recently in Arboles which includes two fire trucks, one brush fire truck and an ambulance. Medina commented that the facility is “very nice”.
Commissioner Medina asked for a status update on restroom facilities at Cloman Park which County Manager Woodman responded that they have been ordered. Medina would like to push for further use of the park to include an event center and see utilities brought in as soon as possible with the option to use Parks & Rec funds to pursue. Woodman also noted that the disc golf improvement construction will be pushed out to the weekend of May 13, 2023, and are waiting on the snow to melt for installation of the approved concrete tee boxes.
Medina recently toured Seeds of Learning where she was informed on the included health screening services provided to the children by San Juan Basic Health Department and would like to see those services incorporated into the new County Health Department.
For more information visit the agenda and minutes web page to sign up for notifications and view recordings of work sessions and regular meetings of the BoCC.