Years in Process, Work Begins on Electric to Hill 71
With signed contract in hand, Hinsdale County and Gunnison County Electric have at long last begun work installing sub-surface electric cable to the remote Hill 71 communications site. Wisely predicting that potentially inclement fall and winter weather will first impact highest elevations along the installation route, initial trenching and cable work began on Tuesday, September 4, on Hill 71 and will incrementally work downhill through Rambouillet and Sawmill Parks.
Pictures from Tuesday’s start of work are included on page 9 of this week’s issue.
Following is Sally Moore’s report on the commissioners’ contract signing on August 23:
In a fast-paced meeting opening at an unusual 7:45 a.m. opening time on Thursday, August 23, Hinsdale County Commissioners Susan Thompson, Stan Whinnery, and Cindy Dozier met to discuss and sign the long-awaited Gunnison County Electric Assoc. contract and approve several collateral issues associated with electric line in conduit from near Lake San Cristobal up the mountain to the Hill 71 communications site.
Commission Chair Susan Thompson opened the meeting, explaining that the GCEA contract had finally been received and a compromise had been reached with the Hinsdale County Citizens for Broadband group.
“We are putting conduit through the Colorado Department of Transportation right-of-way and installing five poll boxes. If the citizens group has the dollars to take that on up, then we, Hinsdale County, would try to help with the labor. We are paying time and labor, so we don’t have an exact number and that has been a big sticking point with them,” she said, in reference to the citizens group.
Commissioner Whinnery referenced rough terrain on portions of the Sawmill and Rambouillet Park terrain to be covered by the electric installation, noting, “I’m not sure they [the Citizens’ group] actually drove up and looked at it.”
Thompson diplomatically inserted, “Well, we are happy to and will work with the Citizens’ group when they get their financing together.”
The Hill 71 contract with Gunnison County Electric Association was announced to be for $398,255 with the expectation that the work would all be completed within six months. A $1,000 downpayment was made by the county, identified as the “Developer,” to Gunnison County Electric Assoc., the “Association,” with the remainder of the cost paid by invoice on a quarterly basis.
Commissioner Whinnery made motion to approve the contract and Cindy Dozier seconded the motion.
Formally identified as an “intermediate service plan line extension,” with Gunnison County Electric Assoc. (GCEA), the “Association,” as contractor, the $398,255 contract calls for a single-phase electric line extension to service the Hill 71 communications site.
The project is to be completed in cooperation with the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, and Colorado Dept. of Transportation, Hinsdale County taking care of applicable permitting and easements.
As Developer for the project, Hinsdale County is responsible for right-of-way clearing and providing a minimum 36’-deep trench for the electric conduit installation. .
Also within the trench, located roughly 12” from the surface will be a warning tape which will serve as a warning to future contractors diggings in the area. Under terms of the contract, the county is advised that additional costs will be incurred in areas of the installation where a minimum burial depth of at least 30” may not reasonably be achieved.
The contract addresses co-installation of empty internet fiber conduit along an estimated 3,100’ length of the installation along the Highway 149 right-of-way, and stated that the internet fiber conduit installation is purely the responsibility of Hinsdale County. The county, it is stated, will be responsible for any additional costs which are incurred in the fiber conduit installation, including costs for underground boring costs and any hourly costs which the Association incurs as a result of the fiber conduit installation.
A verbatim copy of the “Agreement with Developer for Indeterminate Service Plan Extension” between Hinsdale County and Gunnison County Electric is included on the SILVER WORLD’s website, lakecitysilverworld.com, together with an up-to-date map of the electric line installation route by Patrice Palmer.
Following lengthy planning and receipt of necessary installation machinery and equipment, Hinsdale County and GCEA began preliminary trenching and line installation on Tuesday this week. As accompanying pictures attest, work on the project began at the route’s highest point — 12,294’-elevation Hill 71 — and will incrementally work toward as the late summer and early fall progresses through Rambouillet Park and then Sawmill Park, followed by the steep descent down to Highway 149 on Slumgullion Pass.
At the commissioners’ special meeting August 23, Commissioner Thompson reviewed the highlights of the GCEA contract with Kristie Borchers who arrived several minutes late to the meeting, explaining that the cost for the internet fiber conduit to the county would be $5,800 for the 3,100’ of work and the five poll boxes.
Additional Hill 71-related approval was made by the commissioners to Colorado Dept. of Transportation for utility permitting and permitting associated with storm water discharge. Commissioner Whinnery noted that the storm water discharge permit is a state requirement due to the fact there is more than one acre of disturbance, Whinnery noting, “We will have 20 acres of disturbance.”
In a final agenda topic unrelated to Hill 71, County Tax Assessor Luke de la Parra was called on to answer questions on the certification of county abstract. De la Parra explained that the total assessed value of Hinsdale County properties is $69,690,750. According to the assessor, $8,518,110 of the total is exempt from taxation, leaving $61,172,640 from which to glean taxes. “We have found about $3-million of omitted values,” de la Parra told the commissioners, “which relates to about $15,000 in county taxes.”
AGREEMENT WITH DEVELOPER FOR INDETERMINATE SERVICE PLAN LINE EXTENSION – This Agreement is made by and between Gunnison County Electric Association. Inc., a Colorado non-profit corporation (“Association”) and the Board of County Commissioners of the County of Hinsdale, State of Colorado (“Developer”).
Whereas, the Developer desires to secure an extension of the electrical distribution system heretofore constructed by the Association to serve lands described on paragraph 2 hereof, for the purpose of erving facilities at the Hill 71 communications site located in unincorporated Hinsdale County(“Site”); and
Whereas, the Association is willing to provide said facilities in accordance with this Agreement and in its Service Connection and Line Extension policies for “Indeterminate Service Plan” on file with the Public Utilities Commission of the State of Colorado.
Now therefore, for and in consideration of the mutual covenants and agreements heretofore contained, the parties hereby agree as follows:
1. Rules of Service. Except as otherwise provided herein, the Association shall install, own, operate, and maintain a Single Phase Distribution Line for the Site. The system will be suitable for providing Single Phase Power to the Site in the future per the Association’s then applicable Rules & Regulations. The Developer, or future Site owners or users, requesting specific usable electric service within the Site will be required to provide for metering in accordance with the Association’s Rules and Regulations. These consumers will also need to provide service conductors from the lot line to the metering point.
Title to all said equipment and facilities shall remain with the Association.
The Developer, if a consumer, and all additional consumers who are served by such lines shall be guided by the following criteria:
a. The initial billing period shall start when the Developer/consumer begins using electric power and energy, or upon the Association’s notifying the Developer/consumer, in writing, that service is available hereunder, whichever shall occur first.
b) The Developer/consumer shall comply with the requirements of the Association’s application for membership and agreement for service document.
2, Area of Service. This Agreement shall apply to the Site along with the electric line that runs to the Site. The Site is shown on the map attached hereto and made apart hereof as Exhibit A.
3. Duty of Service. The Association shall use reasonable diligence to provide a constant and uninterrupted supply of electric power and energy to the Developer and other consumers on said extension. If the supply of electric power and energy shall fail or be interrupted, or become defective through act of God, or any other cause beyond the reasonable control of the Association, the Association shall not be liable therefor or for any damages caused thereby.
4. Easements. The Developer hereby grants to the Association the right to enter upon the Developer’s facilities at the Site described herein to construct, operate, and maintain the electric distribution facilities. The Developer shall cooperate with the Association, the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”), the Colorado Department of Transportation (“CDOT”) and the U.S. Forest Service (“USFS”), as applicable and necessary, to deliver to the Association such written easements and rights-of-way for its lines and facilities as are required to entitle it to install, service and maintain the above described service in accordance with the Association’s rules, regulations and policies. In the event the Association cannot obtain such written easements or rights of way for its lines and facilities, then this Agreement shall terminate; the Developer shall pay the Association for all expenses or liabilities which were incurred by the Association for engineering, materials and equipment purchased or ordered, and labor and service prior to the date of termination to the extent the Association cannot use said materials and equipment for another project. In the event the Association may use said materials and equipment for another project, the Developer shall only be responsible for paying a reasonable storage fee to the Association for said materials and equipment, and the parties shall have no further obligations under this Agreement.
5. Construction of Facilities. The electric distribution facilities described herein will be required by the Developer within six (6) calendar months after the start of construction. The Association shall use reasonable diligence to provide said facilities within that period of time or as soon as possible thereafter, If said facilities cannot be installed because of an act of God, or any cause beyond the reasonable control of the Association, the Association shall not be liable therefor or for damages caused thereby.
6. Clearing. The Developer shall perform all right-of-way clearing required for the construction of the facilities described herein in accordance with the Association’s specifications.
7. Trench. The Developer will provide an open trench for installation of a power line subject to the following minimum Association requirements:
a. The Association must agree to the installation.
b. The trench shall be a minimum of 36 inches deep. The bottom of the trench must be smooth and parallel to the general grade slopes with ni pumps, ripples, or protrusions larger than 2 inches. 6 inches of select bedding may be required by the Association prior to the installation of the Association’s cable. If bedding is required, the trench must be a minimum of 42 inches deep.
c. 1 inches of select backfill will be placed over the Association’s cable. The select material must be approved by the Association. The select material will not contain any construction, organic, or foreign debris. It will not contain any rocks larger than 4 inches in diameter. It will not contain any sharp rocks or objects that in the Association’s opinion may damage the cable. The remaining backfill will not contain any large rocks or objects that would damage the cable or hinder future Association maintenance and construction activities.
d. The Association will install the power cab;e and associated devices except that the Developer will install the Association’s warning tape 12 inches below the final grade.
e. The Developer will be responsible for all the compaction requirements.
f. The Developer will provide reasonable notice to the Association so that sections of the open trench can be inspected prior to the dispatching of Association crews for cable installation.
g. The Association may, at its option, provide an inspector during all excavation and backfill activities at the Developer’s expense.
h. The Developer will be responsible for mitigating problems with the open trench, including but not limited to water, any required shoring, or removal of debris.
i The developer understands that additional costs above the estimated costs may be incurred if the installation of conduit and a protective covering in areas where a minimum of 30 inches of burial depth cannot reasonably be obtained.
8. Location of Facilities. The Association, in consultation with the Developer, USFS, CDOT and BLM, shall establish and stake all easements for installation and maintenance of the Association’s facilities, which shall be in accordance with the route map, attached hereto as Exhibit B and incorporated herein by this reference (the “Route”). The Developer shall reimburse the Association for any expenses due to subsequent changes in the Route agreed upon by the Developer and for all claims against the Association that pertain to the Route, including full reimbursement for damages established and costs, expenses, and fees incurred in regard thereto.
9. Installation of Facilities. With the exception of internet fiber conduit and five poll boxes addressed in Section 29 and to be installed by the Developer, the Association shall install the facilities described herein in accordance with good engineering practices. The Developer shall be responsible for any road cleanup or compaction requirements that exceed the Association’s normal practices, unless specifically agreed to by written agreement between the Developer and the Association. The Developer shall reimburse the Association for any expenses due to subsequent changes by the Developer. The Developer will be liable for any damage to Association equipment caused by road subsidence for one year upon completion of the construction project.
10. Coordination of Construction. The Developer shall be responsible for coordinating all construction activities within the Site, including but not limited to, th installation of utilities. The Developer shall reimburse the Association for any expenses incurred by the Association to repair damages to its facilities caused by the Developer or other persons or entities during the construction period or thereafter, unless the Association is reimbursed for such damages through the Association’s insurance coverage. In the event a person or entity unaffiliated with the Developer causes damage to the Association’s facilities during construction, the Association shall submit a claim to its insurer, an such claim must be specifically denied by the Association’s insurer prior to the Developer having reimbursement obligations for said damages.
11. Compensation and Payments. As consideration for the completion of the work contemplated herein, Developer shall pay the Association the sum of $398,255.00. The Association is aware and acknowledges that the Developer is paying for the bulk of the project by and through the Grant Contract identified as Exhibit C in Section 11(b) immediately below. The compensation shall be payable as follows:
a. Within 30 days of mutual execution of this Agreement, Developer shall provide a down payment to the Association in the amount of $1,000,00, which shall be applied against the total cost of the project;
b. For all other payments, the Association shall provide a detailed invoice to the Developer once a quarter (i.e. once every three months), for work completed during said quarter, and Developer shall pay said invoice within 30 days of receipt; however, in the event Developer does not receive funds pursuant to the Grant Agreement Between State of Colorado Department of Local Affairs and Hinsdale County (EIAF #8206 – Hinsdale County Emergency Communications Site Power Supply) (“Grant Contract”), a copy of which is attached hereto as Exhibit C and incorporated herein by this reference, the Developer may terminate this Agreement, and the Developer shall pay the Association for all expenses or liabilities which were incurred by the Association for engineering, labor and service, materials and equipment purchased or ordered prior to the date of termination, to the extent the Association cannot use said materials and equipment for another project. In the event the Association may use said materials and equipment for another project, the Developer shall only be responsible for paying a reasonable storage fee to the Association for said materials and equipment, and the parties shall have no further obligations under this Agreement.
c) The Association shall comply with applicable provisions of the Grant Contract.
d. Upon completion of the construction of said electric facilities, and final documentation of the project, the total compensation due to th Association shall be adjusted to reflect the actual cost of said facilities as entered into the books of the Association. If the actual cost is less than the total compensation contemplated in Section 11, the Association shall not charge any amounts to Developer above and beyond the actual costs incurred by the Association to complete the project. If the actual cost is greater than the compensation amount contemplated by this Section 11, the Developer shall pay the difference to the Association in accordance with the payment provisions in this Section 11.
12. Termination of Agreement. The Developer may terminate this Agreement at any time, prior to or during, the actual construction of electric facilities described herein by the Association. In such an event, Developer shall pay the Association for all expenses or liabilities which were incurred by the Association for Engineering, for materials and equipment purchased or ordered, and labor and service, prior to the date of termination and nothing more, but only to the extent the Association cannot use said materials and equipment for another project. In the event the Association may use said materials and equipment for another project, the Developer shall only be responsible for paying a reasonable storage fee to the Association for said materials and equipment.
13. Rates. Electric service will be provided to customers located within the Site at the Association’s applicable rates and upon the terms and conditions now in effect, or as may hereafter be adopted by the Association and reviewed by the Public Utilities Commission of the State of Colorado.
14. Assignments. This Agreement shall be binding upon and inure to the benefit of the successors, personal representatives and assigns of the respective parties hereto; however, Developer’s interest can be assigned only upon written approval by the Association. If any additional area to be served is developed by the Developer, service thereto shall be in a separate contract.
15. Developer Duties. Pre-rip and clean-up will be provided for the Association by the Developer. The Association shall obtain right-of-way easements from the BLM, CDOT and/or the U.S. Forest Service, as applicable, in consultation and on behalf of the Developer. In the event the Association cannot obtain such written easements or rights of way for its lines and facilities, then this Agreement shall terminate; the Developer shall pay the Association for all expenses or liabilities which were incurred by the Association for engineering, materials and equipment purchased or ordered, and labor and service prior to the date of termination to the extent the Association cannot use said materials and equipment for another project. In the event the Association may use said materials and equipment for another project, the Developer shall only be responsible for paying a reasonable storage fee to the Association for said materials and equipment. The parties shall then have no further obligations under this Agreement.
16. Severability. If any terms or provision of this Agreement shall be invalid or unenforceable, the remainder of this Agreement and terms and provisions thereof shall not be affected thereby and all other terms and provisions of this Agreement shall be valid and enforceable to the full extent permitted by law.
17. Entire Agreement. This written Agreement is the entire and only agreement between the Association and the Developer, and no oral statements or representations not contained in this Agreement shall be of any force and effect between the parties. This Agreement shall not be modified or amended in any manner except by written instrument executed by the parties.
18. Governing Law; Enforcement. This Agreement shall be interpreted, construed, and enforced in accordance with the substantive laws of the State of Colorado, Any action or proceeding to construe or enforce this Agreement or to recover damages for its breach or to obtain specific performance hereof shall be brought in a court of competent jurisdiction in Gunnison County, Colorado. The Developer or Association may commence any action in a court of competent jurisdiction to enforce any provision of this Agreement including an action for specific performance, or to obtain injunctive relief to prevent the breach thereof.
19. Attorney Fees. In the event either party commences an action in a court of competent jurisdiction to enforce this Agreement or to obtain damages for the breach thereof, the prevailing party shall be entitled to recover reasonable attorney’s fees and costs incurred in such action.
20. Governmental Immunity. Nothing in this Agreement is, or shall be construed to be, a waiver, in whole or part, by either party of the governmental immunity provided by the Colorado Governmental Immunity Act or otherwise.
21. Records. This Agreement may be unilaterally cancelled by the Developer for refusal by the Association to provide Developer with all non-confidential plans, documents, papers, letters, or other materials relating to this Agreement and the construction. The Association hereby recognizes an acknowledges that the Developer, as a public entity, is subject to the Colorado Open Records Act and Sunshine laws and that the records and other documents pertaining to this project may be subject to public disclosure under said laws.
22. Fund Availability. Pursuant to CRS 24-30-202 (3.5) and any other applicable law, financial obligations of the Developer payable after the current fiscal year are contingent upon funds for that purpose being appointed, budgeted, or otherwise made available.
23. Indemnification. Each party agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the other party from and against any and all claims, damages, losses, and expenses, including reasonable attorney’s fees, arising out of performance of the project, that is for bodily injury, illness, or death, or for property damage, including loss of use, caused in whole or in part by the indemnifying party’s negligent or intentional act(s) or omission(s), or that of any subcontractor, or that of anyone employed by them or for whose acts the indemnifying party’s breach of any of its obligations under this Agreement.
24. Notices. Any notices required under this Agreement shall be in writing and shall be directed to the following and shall be deemed received when hand-delivered or three days after being sent by certified mail, return receipt requested:
If to the Association: GCEA c/o Roger Grogg, P.O. Box 180, Gunnison, CO 81230-0180; If to the Developer: Hinsdale County c/o Stan Whinnery & Jami Scroggins, P.O. Box 277, Lake City, CO 81235.
25. Independent Contractor. The Association shall perform its duties hereinunder as an independent contractor and not as an employee of the Developer. Neither the Association, nor any agent or employee of the Association, shall be deemed to be an agent or employee of the Developer, and neither the Developer, nor any agent or employee of the Developer, shall be deemed to be an agent or employees of the Association. The Association and its employees and agents are not entitled to unemployment insurance or workers’ compensation benefits through the Developer, and the Developer shall not pay for or otherwise provide such coverage for the Association or any of its agents or employees. Unemployment insurance benefits will be available to the Association and its employees only if such coverage is made available by the Association or a third party. The Developer and its employees and agents are not entitled to unemployment insurance or workers compensation benefits through the Association, and the Association shall not pay for or otherwise provide such coverage for the Developer or any of its agents or employees, Unemployment insurance benefits will be available to the Developer and its employees only if such coverage is made available by the Developer or a third party. The parties shall pay when due all applicable employment taxes and income taxes and local head taxes incurred pursuant to this Agreement and owed by the respective party, if any. A party shall not have authorization, express or implied, to bind the other party to any agreement, liability or understanding, except as expressly set forth herein. The parties shall (a) provide and keep in force workers’ compensation and unemployment compensation insurance for their respective employees in the amounts required by law, (b) provide proof thereof to the other when requested by the other party, and (c) be solely responsible for their respective acts and those of their employees and agents.
26. Compliance with Laws. The parties shall strictly comply with all applicable local, federal and state laws, rules, and regulations in effect or hereafter established, including, without limitation, laws applicable to discrimination and unfair employment practices.
27. Counterparts; Facsimile Signatures. This Agreement may be executed in counterparts, all of which taken together shall constitute one agreement, and either party may execute this Agreement by signing any such counterpart. Facsimile and/or e-signatures shall be deemed acceptable for purposes of implementation and enforcement of this Agreement.
28.Warranties of Authority. Each of the parties expressly warrants and represents to the other party that it has the full right, title, and authority to enter into this Agreement as provided herein, to bind the party or entity for which it signs, an that no approvals or consents of any other persons, entities, or agencies are necessary to effect the same.
29. Installation of Fiber Conduit. The Developer shall install conduit for internet fiber within the same trench used for installation of the power line conduit and power line in the portion of the Route within the CDOT right-of-way, which portion is about 3,100 feet, and shall also install five (5) poll boxes associated with the conduit for internet fiber. The Developer shall have sole responsibility for obtaining necessary easements, rights-of-way or permits for the conduit for internet fiber, the internet fiber and five (5) poll boxes along the Route except the Association shall obtain the permit from CDOT for the installation of the fiber conduit in the CDOT right-of-way. The Association shall have no responsibility for the installation of the conduit for internet fiber, the internet fiber or the five (5) poll boxes or for obtaining necessary easements, rights-of-way or permits for the conduit for internet fiber, internet fiber or five (5) poll boxes along the Route except for the CDOT permit. The Developer shall pay the Association all costs to the Association resulting from the Developer’s installation of conduit for internet fiber and the installation of five (5) poll boxes associated with the conduit for internet fiber including, without limitation, increased directional underground boring costs and increased hourly costs to the Association.
30. Extension of Service, Lines and Facilities. In the event a person or entity, other than the Developer, desires to connect to the electric service line and facilities contemplated by this Agreement, such new consumers shall be subject to pay a pro-rated portion of the total costs to construct the electric service line and facilities as provided by this Agreement and the Association’s Extension Policy, a copy of which is attached hereto as Exhibit D and is incorporated herein by this reference. The payments due from any new consumers of the electric service line and facilities shall be paid to the Developer, as provided in the Extension Policy.
Gunnison County Electric Association, Inc.
Signed by Roger Grogg, Chief Operations Officer, August 21, 2018
Board of County Commissioners of the County of Hinsdale, State of Colorado
Signed by Susan Thompson, Board Chair,
August 22, 2018
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