Why are the Mesa County Commissioners sending taxpayer money out of town?

The Commissioners used a roofing company in Keenesburg, Colorado to replace the roof on the Old County Courthouse on Rood Ave., instead of a company located in Mesa County

The Mesa County Commissioners recently had the roof replaced on the Old Courthouse at 544 Rood Ave.

They gave the job to Better Line Roofing, LLC in Keenesburg, Colorado, 279 miles from here, instead of a local roofing company.

The job cost taxpayers $179,000 (pdf).

Plenty of highly-rated local roofers do commercial roofing and certainly many of them could have done this job. Some of them have been in business here for a very long time. If the commissioners had chosen a local company instead of one on the front range, that $179,000 in taxpayer funds could have stayed in Mesa County, supporting local jobs and getting circulated over and over again here, boosting the local economy.

Maybe the Keenesburg company had the lowest bid, but the Commissioners don’t have to take the lowest bid if they think it would be more beneficial to keep the taxpayer money local. Under the County’s bidding policy, they can accept the quote that they think is most advantageous to Mesa County as a whole:

A legal notice from the Daily Sentinel indicates that county commissioners can choose the bid that is most advantageous to the local community. They don’t have to take the lowest bid.

Mesa County’s three Republican county commissioners surely must be aware that keeping the taxpayer money they spent on this job local would have been a great benefit to the local economy.

A 2018 survey by American Express and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) found 67 cents of every dollar spent at a local business stays in the community. Fifty cents of every dollar spent at a local businesses generates another 50 cents in local business activity because of employee spending and businesses purchasing goods and services locally, according to the Small Business Economic Impact Study from American Express.

Commissioner Bobbie Daniel serves on the board of the Grand Junction Economic Partnership (GJEP), the Mesa County Workforce Development Board and the Business Incubator, all of which exist to boost the local economy and local businesses.

The Board of Mesa County Commissioners, 2023 (L-R: Bobbie Daniel, Cody Davis and Janet Rowland). Photo: Mesa County

Commissioner Cody Davis is himself a local business owner, and should understand the benefits of keeping taxpayer dollars local.

Janet Rowland’s biosketch on the County’s website says she “She continues to advocate for … hard-working families … and economic growth.”

But Rowland has actually displayed a punitive attitude towards local businesses before, in 2017, when she called for the county to decline to fund improvements to a steep, windy section of 38 Road in Palisade, part of the Fruit and Wine byway frequented by tourists that has a higher accident rate than other county roads. Rowland opposed the county funding the improvements even though it’s the County’s job to maintain infrastructure, including roads. She wanted the people who established the Fruit and Wine Byway to pay for the improvements, not the County.

The commissioners could say the bid from Keenesburg was the only one they received, but if they really cared about boosting the local economy, they could have made more of an effort to let local roofers know this job was up for bid. They could have done some quick outreach to local companies, put out a press release, or let local media know the project was up for grabs.

Another other reason the commissioners might have used the Keenesburg roofer for this job is that local roofers for some reason are unwilling to work with the County sot hey didn’t bid on it. There’s no indication that’s the case here, but if it is, the county should find out why and address it.

In any case, that $179,000 in Mesa County taxpayer funds just went towards boosting the local economy of Keenesburg instead of our own.

So far, Commissioner Cody Davis has not answered an email sent November 15 asking why the County used a roofing company in Keenesburg to replace the roof on the Old Courthouse instead of a company here in Mesa County.


UPDATE — 1121/2023 @10:04 a.m.

I got a response from Cody Davis this morning.

He wrote:


Thanks for reachign [sic] out. Per Mesa County procurement policy, this roof replacement project was competitively bid on Bid Net. The award was given to the lowest price with a technically acceptable proposal. We had four bidders; one was local, and they were 30% higher than the winning bid, a savings of roughly $54k. Whereas I prefer local contractors, we can’t subsidize local contractors at $54k per job. That’s not being fiscally responsible with taxpayer dollars.

Cody Davis  |  Mesa County Commissioner ” 


  7 comments for “Why are the Mesa County Commissioners sending taxpayer money out of town?

  1. When I first moved here I noticed the county was hiring people from miles away and I questioned the same thing. Why don’t they hire locals? Perhaps the hotel industry and restaurants would benefit, whereas I looked at the mileage and same question lingers. Why didn’t they hire locals? What I have learned about locals, with one example now, roofing materials sit with no communications for two weeks, as an example of the lack of professionalism in this town. I agree they needed to hire locals no matter how un professional! many of those kind of companies have proven to be. If they hire a company from out of town those people would be concentrated on getting a job completed in record time. It’s not the first time I have seen this county hire from hundreds of miles away bidders. What results is that the lowest bid often leaves with ‘that worth’ left, cheap is cheap, you get what you pay for.

    • Hiring an out -of -town company just complicates the streamlining and guarantees of any project.
      Poor workmanship contributes to or simple failures happen, post installations. So this company will schlep back the long 279 miles to GJ in a reasonable time to repair/evaluate the issues?
      Sounds like a short sighted contract.

      Free range commissioners prevail in MC.

  2. There are a lot of holes in this. For one, you don’t know what the other bids were. If this low bid was half the price it would be pretty hard to justify not accepting that bid. If they gave the contract to a local company for $300k you would likely be writing an article about how they are favoring their supporters’ business at great expense to tax payers.

    You don’t know if there even were other bids. These type of contractors can get very booked up and perhaps the timeline for the work was such that they didn’t feel they could perform the work in the required time. Also you don’t know what the criteria were. They have to be set (and weighted) ahead of time before bids are open to avoid just the kind of picking of winners and losers you are suggesting.

    Lastly, do you think the commissioners are making phone calls all day to find a roofer for a $170k project? This kind of work is done by staff, in departments that have budgets that they need to stretch to carry out their different roles. The commissioners create policy and staff executes. I’m sure if the commissioners said “only use local” then the departments would conform, but I have heard of no such mandate, and to have one would be wildly irresponsible.

    Honestly this is discouraging to read from you. You’ve made a lot of very tenuous connections in this piece, and you sound a bit like a conspiracist. You’ve done so much good work to hold elected officials to account. I think this one is a stretch and beneath you.

  3. Kuhr was chastised and fired for contracting a singular “unique” accessor of public health grants and other gov’t monies available to the MCPHD. That “uniqueness” never changed for the period of time the contract existed.
    There is NOTHING unique about a roofing job for the old Courthouse. SO when they accepted this one and possibly the only bid, by their own regs they should have called for more bids. This is what Rowland actually stated she expected Kuhr have done. Another case of “do as I say not as I do.” Reminder: ROWLAND is up for re-election. She has made a career of taxpayer money. What have we got for that?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *