After some deliberations, the Recreation Transportation Special Services District (RTSSD) has decided to send a letter requesting easement approvals to the U. S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The request is an effort to help move forward the cross county trail system that has been in the planning stages for some time.
Easements are important to the trail's plan, because they provide legal access to cross the planned areas. Originally, the BLM applied for easements in Aug. 2008, but then the agency lost the paper work. They reapplied in Oct. 2008. At least one easement has been granted, in the Wildcat area. According to County Planning Director Dave Lavanger, a major goal of the trail is to connect every major town in the county, excluding Scofield. Currently, the plan is 95 to 98 percent complete and includes a variety of routes and "comfort stations."
The trail system will encompass around 120 miles and include multiple comfort stations along the way, which will require maintenance. Such maintenance is an issue that the board is now considering, with the help of local recreation groups.
In another budget-related discussion, the board decided to lift its moratorium on money for future projects. The board will now accept applications, due to an unexpected increase in mineral lease revenues. The extra money, according to member Bill Krompel, is a result of a variety of factors.
"With natural gas, demand has risen over the past couple of months, because we've had a cold winter, but Bill Barrett Corporation has also helped because 60 to 70 percent of their income was hedged. So if the market goes up or down, we were able to get a stable income," he said.
One such application will likely come from Sunnyside City so that it can fix its bathrooms near Petersen Elementary School (estimated $200,000) which have been vandalized. However, with the money being opened for expenditure, there were some concerns as to how it should be distributed.
"I like to think that we've spent our money evenly through the county and will continue to do so," said Krompel, during the meeting.
Finally, long time board member Sam Quigley informed the board that he will resign his position after nearly 16 years of service.
"I've really appreciated the association with this board; it's very professional and I will miss it," he said, concluding the meeting.