When Yampa resident Mike Ross learned a position was open on the Yampa Town Board, he thought about applying.
After he attended a board meeting in August, he said his decision was made.
"They had voted on something that was going to appear on the Yampa ballot and I thought, you know, my being on the board really does affect what goes on in town," Ross said. "I hadn't realized what kind of power the board had in the decisions that are made in Yampa."
As a new resident to Yampa, Ross said he quickly realized that all of the board's decisions affect him and his neighbors. That motivated him to send a letter of interest to the town clerk.
It was the only letter of interest the town had received since the position became open in October 2002 when former trustee John Anarella moved.
Ross was appointed as a trustee at the board's Sept. 3 meeting and will serve until the regular election in April.
Ross and his wife, Veronica, and their 1 1/2-year-old son, David, have lived in Yampa since 2001. Both grew up in Colorado.
Ross, 35, works as a civil engineer in Steamboat Springs; his wife works in the Vail Valley, so both face long commutes each day.
With his background, Ross said he feels he represents the working, commuting class of Yampa residents. He also feels his work in engineering would help him understand and help with the town's issues, budgets and projects.
The fact that he is a new resident and will have to learn the basics could be beneficial to the board, Ross said.
" Maybe my lack of experience is a good thing because asking the fundamental questions tends to really get to the heart of the issues," he said.
Although the job initially seems overwhelming, Ross said he's excited to be involved. A range of important issues, such as likely increases in water and sewer rates, are set to come up this year, he said.
"The spotlight is going to be on the board pretty intensely in the next couple of months," Ross said. "I take it very seriously."
Ross said he'll know when he's doing a good job through his conversations with people.
"If somebody were to ask me, 'Why did you vote this in,' and then I can look them in the eye and give them an answer," he said.
The Yampa Board of Trustees meets the first Wednesday of every month.
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