County says annexation was done incorrectly

Mesa County is asking the town of De Beque to reconsider the recent annexation of the future home of Schlumberger, an international energy services company.

The town annexed the 300-plus-acre Schlumberger property, south of town on
45 1/2 Road, Aug. 26. The Mesa County Commission signed off on a letter this week from the county attorney’s office asking the town to reconsider the annexation.

Dale Rickstrew, mayor of De Beque, said it’s too late.

“That was done under an emergency ordinance. The time to challenge is way gone,” Rickstrew said.

“The Schlumberger annexation was the cleanest one we have ever done. There is absolutely no reason they should ask us to reconsider that, none whatsoever. ...

“For them to file a letter of reconsideration puts

De Beque in a real awkward position. Schlumberger is moving top soil and everything, and there is no way we can reconsider that annexation because Schlumberger would probably sue our pants off.”

Mesa County Commissioner Steve Acquafresca said the letter was a positive.

“The good thing about this letter is ... we articulated a variety of options in lieu of another court filing,” Acquafresca said. “I think the county is trying to bend over backward to encourage De Beque to make annexations that are in line with state statute, and we are willing to spend time and money to assist with that.”

The letter lists five points of contention with the annexation. It also poses three possible solutions.

The letter asserts an industrial use has been applied to a rural area, the town’s annexation plan does not satisfy state requirements and is more a statement of policy than a plan, and the decision of the board of trustees to annex Schlumberger was “not supported by competent evidence.”

By way of solution, the county attorney’s letter says the county is willing to lend the services of its planning staff, expresses the willingness of the county to work cooperatively on several annexation-related issues and asks the town to participate in mediation to resolve matters without litigation.

“We certainly want De Beque to achieve its goals, and we want to assist them in doing that,” Acquafresca said. “We have successful relationships with all the other municipalities in Mesa County. .... De Beque seems to be the exception.”

Rickstrew said the town is trying to work with the county and has three companies bidding to update its comprehensive plan.

But he says has not seen evidence of the county cooperating with the town.

“They surely haven’t shown me that they want to help us at all,” Rickstrew said. “We are spending a lot of money of the taxpayers over things that are ridiculous. They really are.”


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