Mike Weber of the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District, along with Ken Wagner and Roy Davis of the Las Animas Public Works Department, spoke at the March 7 meeting of the Bent County Board of Commissioners about the amount of selenium that is being discharged into the Arkansas River.

Selenium is a naturally occurring element present in sedimentary rocks, shales, coal and phosphate deposits and soils, the Environmental Protection Agency says on its website. There are around 40 known selenium-containing minerals, but all are rare and generally occur together with sulfides of metals, such as copper, zinc and lead.

Selenium can be released into water resources by natural sources via weathering and by anthropogenic sources, such as surface mining, coal-fired power plants and irrigated agriculture, the EPA says.

Discussion took place at the commissioners meeting regarding grant money available from the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment for water quality restoration and water quality protection.

Weber, Wagner and Davis spoke to how the City of Las Animas, Bent County and Fort Lyon, if awarded one of the CDPHE's Nonpoint Source Program grants, could achieve compliance with the Clean Water Act over a four-year period.

Weber asked that Bent County become the lead sponsor in providing oversight of projects that could benefit the area, if the grant is approved.

County Administrator Calvin Feik was tasked with completing the grant application and submitting it to CDPHE by the March 11 deadline.

In other news:

Thomas Martin requested help in clearing a title to property he owns in Hasty. It appears that part of the property had never been mapped. Martin wanted the board to combine schedule numbers to clear the title. After much discussion, Chairperson Jean Sykes said it was not a county commissioners’ problem. Commissioner Kim MacDonnell concurred, and they suggested Martin hire an attorney to obtain a corrected title.
Commissioners approved and signed a quarterly maintenance agreement with Morning Star Elevator for the Memorial Building, to be billed at a yearly cost of $1,090.
Sage Food Service was allocated $9,250. The amount had been included in the county’s 2019 budget.
The commissioners decided to replace all three garage doors on the county building across from the courthouse, as the north garage door has not been functioning properly for the past year or so and last week the middle door stopped working. Chad LaBarge, county maintenance supervisor, will obtain three or four bids for the project.
Sykes and MacDonnell (Chuck Netherton was absent) signed agreements for the disability lift with architect Tom Duke, HCDA Engineering and McShea Consulting for an increased total amount of $14,200, which will be paid from capital funds.
Sykes announced a new feature at the meetings will be reports from each commissioner regarding activities of the committees and boards on which each serve.
Teale Hemphill of McClave was appointed to the Community Center board, to provide representation from the eastern part of the county.
Cassy Westmoreland, the Colorado Department of Local Affairs' Fort Lyon Program Manager, has been meeting with various groups in the county to address the issues that were raised recently about the security and safety of the facility.
A maintenance supervisor will be hired for the baseball fields. The Las Animas School District will host a baseball tournament the latter part of April.
Resolution 20-19-9 was adopted. The county will contribute $1,724 from the sales tax fund to the Lower Arkansas Valley Area Agency on Aging.
A bridge that goes only to private ranch land where a gravel pit is located needs to be upgraded, according to the state. The county will upgrade the bridge in order to access the gravel pit.
A multi-year agreement with Garrett and Jennifer Godfrey was approved for county use of their gravel pit at $1 a yard (3,800 pounds). Feik will start the permitting process. The eastern part of the county has access to scales for purchase of gravel by the ton (.65-.75 cents a ton), but the western side does not have scales, so gravel purchases are by the yard.
Sykes brought up several maintenance issues at the fairgrounds that need to be addressed before the Little Britches Rodeo is held the end of April.

The next meeting of the Board of County Commissioners is scheduled for 9 a.m. today in the basement of the County Courthouse. The meetings are open to the public.