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401 Meeker St Delta CO 81416 970.874.4421

County accused of reneging on contract

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Dear Editor:

Trust is a funny thing. It can take years to build it, but only seconds for it to disappear. Many years ago, the county entered into an agreement with local gravel pits that established limitations to its services. One of the agreed upon limitations clearly states that the county could only donate up to $3,000 worth of materials to any projects taking place within the county. This stipulation was designed to promote free enterprise and protect taxpayers. Unfortunately, Delta County is not living up to its end of the agreement.

A road project is currently underway near Cedaredge High School and Delta County is donating the materials to make it happen. The county has already provided over 200 truckloads of material for this road project. Based on fair market value estimates, it is safe to say that Delta County has donated over $45,000-$47,000 of materials and trucking to this project -- far exceeding its contractual limitation of $3,000. When confronted with this violation of our contract, the county commissioners in Delta simply shrug their shoulders. They don't seem interested in honoring the deal. This was a contract negotiated before their time, they argue, so the current board doesn't feel as obligated to honor this agreement. But such logic doesn't pass muster. The Constitution was ratified before the BOCC's time as well, so does that nullify the document? Hardly! All contracts must be honored regardless of their convenience. If not, then a process of renegotiation must take place.

Our county government is engaging in a classic case of "Do as I say, not as I do." I encourage all of those who believe that the county must honor its agreements to contact their representatives right now. In the meantime, if you're interested in reading the contract, I'd be happy to share it. In fact, I may have to share it with a lawyer.

Hans Benson
Benson Brothers Truck & Equipment

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