Rico gets updated on VCUP settlement

At the regular Town Board meeting on Jan. 16, under old business, Town Attorney gave an update on the draft VCUP settlement and funding agreement. Ms. Baker pointed out the VCUP team is still working on the changes being made in the agreement. The team continues to discuss various pending issues related to finalizing the VCUP this year. This is very large project with numerous moving parts and is sometimes difficult to move forward. Town Manager Michael England believes the town needs to continue working on these issues for the benefit of the town.

Under new business, Richard Lanning asked if the town could be the fiscal agent for the Digital Speed Devices for the Rico Center Grant that he and the Dolores County Sheriff are working on. Mr. Lanning stated the cost for the device is approximately $4,400 and will operate by solar, 20 perecent from the Rico Center Grant and 80 percent from the county. Town Manager Michael England said that he talked to Dolores County Sheriff Jerry Martin and Mr. Martin stated right now there is no grant available. Contingent upon the 80 percent from somewhere else the Town Board was in favor and will have the Town Manager write a support letter.

An update regarding the Southwest Colorado Access Network (SCAN) Project was held with Rick Smith and Doug Pace. Mr. Smith explained the project to the Town Board. Southwest Colorado has a long history of working to improve telecommunication infrastructure and broadband services due to its fundamental basis for economic development in today's world. Many of the key IT staff for some of the governments and other individuals had worked together on the Beanpole project circa 2000. This prior work assisted the SCAN project in that many of the region's telecommunication issues and problems were known and there had already been extensive effort towards improving the situation such as what had been done in Cortez and Durango/La Plata County. There was also a history of community involvement in the issues and efforts for improvement.

While the process of forming a Southwest Council of Government (SWCCOG) had been in discussion for several years, it was the prospect of submitting this regional application to DOLA that was the final impetus leading to the formation of the SWCCOG. So in addition to the challenges of getting a newly formed COG up and going just for general purposes, there were the challenges of administering a large telecom grant that was breaking new territory about every step of the way.

Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) among COG members to participate in the project was required for participation in the Telecommunications Project. Currently all but two IGAs have been returned. The two communities that have not yet returned a signed IGA are Dolores County and the Town of Rico.

In addition to the COG member governments, other public institutions like schools, libraries, fire districts, etc.., are possible customers of the network. The intent of this memorandum of understanding was to introduce the concept to those potential customers and ask if they would like to participate. This was a valuable tool to introduce the project although it was difficult to explain what services the network would offer and at what costs because it was so early in the process. The MOU really doesn't commit them to anything, just that they are interested.

The Town Board and staff thanked the gentlemen.

The 2013 dog tags are now available at the Rico Town Hall. Please come and register your dog. All dogs are required to be registered with the Town of Rico, contact Town Clerk Linda Yellowman at 970-967-2861 or stop by the Town Hall with a copy of your dog's rabies certificate.