New actions taken by the Carbon County Commission on Aug. 19 will lower the minimum dollar amount it takes for the county to put its jobs out to bid. Up until this week, $12,000 was the minimum amount a job needed to cost in order for it to go to bid, but in light of a more dire economic situation, this minimum was lowered to $1,000.
According to Commissioner John Jones, up until about two years ago it was actually difficult to find contractors who were willing to take on such small jobs, let alone go to the trouble of bidding on them. However, now that work is becoming increasingly scarce contractors have demanded an equal playing field.
Many smaller jobs the county encounters involve emergency work, or jobs that need be done in a timely manner and on a flexible schedule. Therefore the county will be compiling a list of qualified contractors who wish to be on call for emergencies at all times.
Since the county encourages local contractors to bid, and since they typically are more available should something go wrong post construction, locals are given a 10 percent buffer on bidding, pending they have the capacity to do the work.
Difficult economic times have hit other industries around the county as well, which in turn has cost the county in tax revenues.
Hidden Splendor Resources approached commissioners with a request to lower its taxes rates for 2008 because they believe their tax evaluation for the year was overly optimistic.
In 2007 the company paid $8 million in taxes to the county, but because they planned to upgrade their Horizon Mine facilities, increasing output substantially, taxes for 2008 came to around $42 million. However, over 2008 and 2009 coal prices fell and the mine was not able to produce as much as planned. To date the company has paid around $25 million of its 2008 taxes. By comparison Splendor's taxes for 2009 were down to around $10 million.
Commissioners informed the Splendor Resources representative that legally they cannot lower their tax rates for previous years, or provide a refund, but they can accept the $25 million as paid in full for the year in question. The company agreed, and pending legal statement, the county will accept $25 million for 2008 from Splendor Resources.
In conclusion, the Pet Point animal tracking system was also approved on the grounds that it will cost about half as much as the county's current tacking system. The tracking system uses microchips to track and identify lost animals.