Weld County settlement payments to road contractors nearing $500,000 | MyWindsorNow.com
Tyler Silvy
tsilvy@greeleytribune.com

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Weld County settlement payments to road contractors nearing $500,000

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Greeley VA Clinic — Responding to concerns from a resident and veteran, Weld County Commissioners Chairwoman Julie Cozad said commissioners should consider a letter to federal officials objecting to the plan to move the Greeley VA clinic to The Promenade Shops at Centerra in Loveland, specifically 5200 Hahns Peak Drive.

“I think there needs to be a clinic in Weld County,” Cozad said. “Maybe it’s time to take it to the next step, to send a letter to federal legislators.”

Cozad said she and commissioner Steve Moreno talked with Colorado’s national legislators in person at one point, but have heard nothing back.

The VA plans to double the size of the Greeley VA clinic in moving it to Loveland, but local veterans, of which there are more than 20,000 in Weld County, have expressed concern about transportation to the new clinic, which is scheduled to open in February 2018.

Oil and cash — Good work if you can get it. Weld County earned $8.25 million during the course of 30 minutes during Weld County Commissioners’ regular meeting Wednesday. The county put out more than 2,000 mineral acres for lease, and those acres were bought up for prices ranging from $5,300 per mineral acre to $625 per mineral acre. The biggest buyers were Broadwing Energy and Alpha, with Alpha making the biggest offer — $1.7 million for 326 mineral acres.

The bids are treated as one-time bonuses, and leases run for three years at $2.50 per acre. If production begins within the three years, the energy company holds the lease as long as there is production, Weld County Finance Director Don Warden said in an email.

Weld has nearly 2.6 million acres of land and owns 40,000 mineral acres, the result of county acquisitions during the Dust Bowl. When the land was re-sold, the county kept the mineral rights, county officials said.

Legal settlements related to the construction of the Weld County Parkway have reached nearly $500,000, as Weld County commissioners on Wednesday agreed to pay a subcontractor $214,594.

Weld County will pay Scott Contracting, Inc., the sum as part of a settlement related to flooding that led to downtime and a loss of income for the subcontractor.

This settlement agreement marks the second such payoff by Weld County to a contractor that worked on the Weld County Parkway, a 3.5-mile section of Weld County Road 49, extending the road north from U.S. 34 to Weld County Road 60 ½ (Greeley's 8th Street). The construction cost the county $29 million, with a little more than half of that going toward the construction of bridges over the South Platte and Cache la Poudre rivers.

The first settlement came in February, when Weld commissioners agreed to pay Flatiron Constructors $247,436 as part of a settlement agreement that arose when high water prevented work on two bridges for more than a month.

Wednesday's agreement likewise focuses on acts of nature that kept the subcontractor from doing necessary earthwork for the same time period, and brings Weld County's total payments to more than $450,000.

Still, Weld officials say it could have been worse, with both contractors originally seeking more than $2 million combined from the county. There are no other pending settlements or payments related to the Weld County Parkway project.

The Weld County Parkway opened Nov. 10, 2015, a couple of months later than planned.

Weld County paid cash for the project, and received help from a $3.1 million Department of Local Affairs grant. The settlement payments come out of the county's public works fund.

Late snowstorms ballooned runoff in the two rivers to more than double the typical peak, rendering county-installed cofferdams impotent and preventing Flatiron Constructors from doing any work on the bridges between May 27, 2015, and July 7, 2015.

Runoff during that window was higher than normal but much lower than runoffs during the historic September 2013 flooding.

Flatiron Constructors filed a claim with the county, saying the company incurred $440,000 in expenses, including salaries, because of the downtime. It said Weld County should foot the bill.

After initially balking, Weld County officials eventually agreed to cover half of the company's expenses, plus $26,700 to resolve some original bid items.

Wednesday's settlement with SCI followed the same pattern, with Weld County agreeing to pay a portion of the subcontractor's expenses related to down time from the high water.

Tyler Silvy covers government and politics for The Greeley Tribune. Reach him at tsilvy@greeleytribune.com. Connect with him at Facebook.com/TylerSilvy or @TylerSilvy on Twitter.