$8.5 million in bonds approved to build ski lift plant near airport

The Mesa County Commission gave the ailing economy an $8.5 million shot in the arm Monday.

The commission approved the issuance of up to $8.5 million of adjustable rate revenue bonds,
backed by Wells Fargo Bank. The bonds are for the construction of the Leitner-Poma of America project, west of the Grand Junction Regional Airport.

The bonds will be used for “the purpose of financing the acquisition, development, construction, improving and equipping of an approximately 90,000 square-foot ski lift manufacturing facility,” according to the commission’s agenda packet.

The bonds are rated AA-plus, said Mike Mast, Wells Fargo vice president.

The commissioners said they had concerns about county responsibility if the Leitner-Poma operation failed.

“The bonds are secured by a Wells Fargo letter of credit,” Mast said. 

The letter obligates Wells Fargo if Leitner-Poma were to default, said Jon Peacock, county administrator.

Mesa County was able to issue the bonds because it received some assistance from Delta County and the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority.

“It’s a good partnership between the three,” Peacock said. “It is beneficial to the region.”

The commission also approved the purchase of 40 replacement laptops for the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department. The purchase had been approved in the 2009 budget, but County Commissioner Craig Meis questioned the price two weeks ago when the information technology department asked for 60.

Sheriff Stan Hilkey met with Meis to discuss the issue. Hilkey’s original order was for 48, but he compromised and received approval to purchase 40. 

The old laptops, Hilkey said, would often crash when deputies needed them most: while checking criminal histories during patrols.

Some of the old laptops will be given to the Animal Services Department for use in their cars.

The commission approved spending $165,195. The money will purchase 40 Panasonic CF-30 Toughbook laptops at $3,333 each. It also will purchase 37 Ledco docking stations, costing $714 each. The docks will be used in 37 sheriff’s cars and in four animal services’ cars. The money also will buy three Panasonic Y7 laptop computers, at $1,819 each, for use by fleet maintenance, according to the county commissioners’ meeting agenda.

The commission also rejected a revision to the “Mesa County Noxious Weed Plan.”

The plan was dismissed primarily because it targeted the energy industry as a potential spreader of noxious weeds. Two representatives from the industry argued against it.

“I’m a little bit concerned about singling out the energy industry,” said Dave Cesark, environmental health and safety manager for Delta Petroleum.

Jude Sirota, county pest and weed inspector, said she could make the changes to the plan and have it back to the commission for approval by mid-April.


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