EDITOR'S NOTE: Nancy Stahoviak is in her fourth term as a Routt County commissioner. Prior to joining the Board of Commissioners, she served on the Oak Creek Town Board, including a stint as mayor. She chatted Friday with steamboatpilot.com. Below is a portion of that chat transcript:
The new Routt County Justice Center and new terminal at Yampa Valley Regional Airport in Hayden are both projected for completion in 2007. Looking down the road, what are Routt County's next, large-scale facility needs?
Stahoviak: We are currently planning for the remodel of the third floor of the historic courthouse to house the County Commissioners offices and County Attorney's offices. We will also be doing some remodeling of the courthouse annex to provide more room for some of our departments and bring the departments that are currently "off campus" into the courthouse annex. Within the next five years, we will probably be looking at having to expand the Detention Center, with the possible relocation of the Routt County Emergency Communications Center.
Steamboat Springs City Council President Ken Brenner recently asked Routt County to pay "30 to 40 percent" of the $2 million the city is putting towards its new, $2.9 million community center west of downtown. What is your response to this request as a county commissioner? What are examples of projects for which the city and county both provide funding?
Stahoviak: The commissioners have responded to the city's request with another $15,000 in funding for the Community Center project, making our total contribution $25,000. We feel that is an adequate amount given our current capital construction needs and donations we have given to similar projects. The county made a contribution to the Centennial Hall project and the city has contributed to Yampa Valley Airport terminal construction project.
How would you describe the county's working relationship with the city?
Stahoviak: Recently, the commissioners have felt that we haven't been able to have meaningful discussions regarding current issues at our joint city/county meetings because City Council has not been prepared to discuss some of the agenda items. It is my understanding that we have now resolved that issue and we will not put items on the joint agendas that council is not prepared to discuss. There is an inherent difference between city government and county government that will always cause some friction, but as long as we continue to communicate we can work together for the good of our citizens. Disagreements will occur and as long as we have an open dialogue and understand each other's viewpoints, there's nothing wrong with that.
In January, you will become the only Republican county commissioner - Doug Monger and commissioner-elect Diane Mitsch Bush are both outspoken, politically active Democrats. How much does party politics impact a commissioner's job? Will politics impact your job differently come January?
Stahoviak: As far as I am concerned, I will be working with two very qualified individuals who care as much about Routt County as I do. I know that we will work together well as a team. I continue to feel that, at the municipal and county level, party politics do not impact the decisions that we make.
You, along with others on Oak Creek's Town Board, have been accused by the former mayor of many things and in your case as a county commissioner of being unethical and unprofessional because of your assistance given to the town sorting out the town's finances. Would you care to comment on those accusations against you and also what your research determined in respect to the status of the grants and your opinion of what position the town is in presently?
Stahoviak: I have provided some assistance to the town of Oak Creek at the town's request in order to help them move forward in an informed and positive direction. My behavior has been neither unethical nor unprofessional. I have reviewed the current grant/project files for the town and provided the Town Board with memos regarding each project. This information is available at the Oak Creek Town Hall if anyone is interested in reading it. I would encourage the citizens of Oak Creek to attend Town Board meetings and work sessions to learn for themselves the status of their town's government and finances.
You have been through a lot with your health in recent years. How are you doing these days? Have you given any thought to whether or not you will seek re-election in 2008?
Stahoviak: Having to live my life and serve my community in a different way, physically, than I used to, has been both a challenge and an eye-opening experience. I have learned to plan ahead to make sure I have everything I need when I attend meetings outside of the courthouse annex. I cannot give enough praise and thanks to the city of Steamboat Springs transit department. Without the para-transit service offered by the city, I would not be able to be a productive citizen in this community. As for my health, it is good and being able to be back in the office serving the citizens of Routt County is a true blessing for me. I appreciate the way everyone supports and helps me, especially my husband, Ron, who has the distinct honor of being my primary caregiver and constant chauffeur. I have two more years in my current term as commissioner, so I don't have to make a decision about reelection for another year. I will only say that I think I have the best the job in the world and I work for the best people in the world and am glad that the citizens of Routt County chose to reelect me in the midst of my medical challenges in 2004.