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City council invited to weigh in on Thompson Divide lease exchange

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Members of the Delta City Council were invited to ask questions about the proposed Thompson Divide lease exchange at their May 3 meeting. Brian Rinehart, a staff member from Rep. Scott Tipton's office, provided information about the proposal and invited comments.

"Given that Delta County could potentially receive new oil and gas leases in an exchange, we're very keen to hear what the City of Delta and the other communities have to say," Tipton's office explained in a memo accompanying a discussion draft.

Two oil/gas companies have proposed to voluntarily relinquish their existing leases in Thompson Divide in exchange for new leases of equal value elsewhere. One company is looking at Rio Blanco County; the other -- SG Interests -- proposes an area that lies within Delta County, with a significant portion in Mesa County and a small fraction in Gunnison County.

Council members asked several questions, which Rinehart answered, then were asked to "chew" on the proposal and submit comments either individually or as a corporate body.

Council also heard a presentation from Lea Hart, district director for Delta County Libraries. As examples of how the library is serving the residents of Delta, Hart offered a number of statistics. For example, in 2015, the Delta Library saw 94,000 people come through the door. She mentioned downloadable resources, computer access and programs for tots, teens and adults. While the library district is doing more with less, it remains active in the community. "Libraries don't die, they evolve," she said.

In other business, council set a hearing for annexation of the Neils Addition at 2125 and 2127 Pioneer Road. The city currently serves water, sewer and electricity to the property.

Robert Jurca was appointed to the Delta Housing Authority board. Jurca, a former city council member, was the city liaison to the DHA board.

The city council recently contracted with Fedler Spraying to assist the parks department with weed abatement. The two-year contract is in the amount of $26,500 per year.

Parks director Wilma Erven said that in 2015 the parks department struggled to control the weeds in a timely manner, particularly because the weather was rainier than usual. In addition, weed control was a top concern among community members surveyed last summer. During the budgeting process, the decision was made to put out a request for bids. The parks department will continue to spray and mow weeds along the highways.

Also at a recent meeting, approval was given for two lots in the West Winds Planned Unit Development to be rezoned from B-2 to B-3.

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