Oak Creek seeks direction

Town Board meeting to address struggling funds, police department

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Past Event

Oak Creek Town Board meeting

  • Thursday, June 14, 2007, 7 p.m.
  • Oak Creek Town Hall, 129 Nancy Crawford Boulevard, Oak Creek, CO
  • All ages / Free

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Downtown Oak Creek is one of several locations in South Routt that stands to benefit from a proposed regional shuttle service in the future. The level of interest in such a system has yet to be studied.

— Oak Creek resident Andy Benjamin is confident the town's historic "fierce independence" will keep it alive, though he's concerned about how the town is addressing several issues, including a struggling general fund.

"In my humble opinion, Oak Creek is at a unique crossroads," he said. "It's going to take something revolutionary or some thinking outside the box to manage what we're facing."

Oak Creek officials are facing a general fund that is severely underfunded, a 10-year-old comprehensive plan that needs to be updated and a police force with one member whose last day is today.

Oak Creek Mayor J. Elliott, who in recent months has public-ly supported a mill levy increase to support the town, is hoping residents will attend tonight's Town Board meeting to ask questions of the town's Denver-based auditor, Tim Mayberry.

"This is the time that we all can ask (Mayberry) the questions on our minds," he said. "He's our expert, he's the one to give us a well-qualified second opinion because he's been the one poring over our books for years."

Elliott suggested the town look at putting a mill levy proposal before the voters in November to support the general fund. The general fund is currently supported through sales and property taxes and by the town's enterprise funds - water, trash, sewer and electric.

"What I'm looking at is finding out where we are financially because we can't keep taking from the enterprise funds," he said. "We need to figure out what direction we're going in."

However, not all board members are convinced that a mill levy is the way to go.

Board member Chuck Wise-cup said during a June 7 work session that not only has the town always survived by transferring enterprise funds to the general fund, but that the town would have to implement a hefty mill levy.

"I don't see it happening," he said. "You're not going to get a mill levy large enough to pay for the general fund."

Elliott said he is hopeful Mayberry can shed light on how many mills the town would need to offset the general fund during his presentation of the town's 2006 audit.

"I was hired to do a job the best I can do, and I think the mill levy is what needs to be done," Elliott said.

Despite receiving support from six people, Elliott is not sure how the town will respond to a proposed mill levy increase.

Benjamin agreed a mill levy could be the answer, but that it would be a hard sell to Oak Creek's "hard-working citizens."

"Until Oak Creek gets its act together, a mill levy is the only option the town has," he said. "(The town) can't keep robbing the (enterprise) funds to shore up the general fund."

Oak Creek Mayor Pro-Tem Angie KenCairn said she recognizes the town is "stretched" when it comes to tackling the biggest pieces of pie on its plate.

With the resignation of the town's only police officer, Chief Linda Koile, KenCairn is adamant about reminding residents the town will continue to work through its budgetary constraints while providing law enforcement.

"There are rumors out there, and I think it's important people know that we're committed to figuring out the town's law enforcement needs," she said. "There is not going to be a total lapse in law enforcement here - we'll get it covered."

In other business, the Town Board is scheduled to:

- Hear a re-plat request from Andrew and Emily Schmidt.

- Hear from Brian Benner of Earl McFarland Insurance regarding the town's liability insurance.

- Hear from Susan Colfer of Pet Kare Clinic regarding bringing pet clinic services to Oak Creek.

- Approve its May 24 minutes and special meeting minutes from June 7.

- Approve its May accounts payable.

- Receive an application from Gerry Greenwood for an open Oak Creek Planning Commis-sion vacancy.

- Hear from Routt County Undersheriff David Bustos.

- Appoint a Town Board member to the Routt County Communications Board.

- Adopt a resolution denying the Darling Annexation conceptual plan.

- Adopt an ordinance to establish a wastewater enterprise.

- Hear reports or items of concern from Town Board members.

- To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234 or e-mail adelacruz@steamboatpilo.com

Comments

Slapper 6 years, 10 months ago

good ol andy b. the one who asked the council to waive sales tax for his business. the one who blamed residents for not supporting for what at the time was an inferior product. kinda like the jailhouse interview this paper did a while back about issues concerning this town.

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livesouthdiehappy 6 years, 10 months ago

Well, what an interesting conundrum! While it gives many of us Oak Creekers great satisfaction to see someone come crawling back to us after running their mouth about how they're community failed them, there is some logic to approving an allocation of funds. Personally, I feel a certain sense of pride in that we are NOT Steamboat but progress is inevitable. In a working class community such as ours it's sad to see homes creep over the $450k price. Have you noticed that commercial real estate has remained comparatively low? Let's face it, we live in a beautiful area and that attracts people to us. In fact, think about what brought you here? Probably the people, community and affordability of living here. Unfortunately we fail to support our own. How do you like driving to Yampa for gas? Wouldn't it be nice to have a hardware and paint store locally? Heck maybe even a place for office supplies, shipping and such.
Something has to be done to spur local business and commercial interest in our town. How can we let probably the only person whose temperament befits their position in town just slip away(we'll miss you Linda)? How about a graduated levy, or taxing some of the local slumlords on the property they own but never maintain? Maybe it's time to raise tap fees on new homes or even organize some sort of fundraising events. I'll donate a weekend if you will. Our town needs help and though it may be painful to have to finally give back, it is wellwithin our power and ability to do so.

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JQPUBLIC 6 years, 10 months ago

This is a joke isn't it? OC NEEDED TO SEEK DIRECTION A FEW YEARS AGO WHEN: 1. Someone with an extensive drug/alcohol police record was elected mayor and allowed to dismantle the police dept. 2. The board decided paying an inexperienced, unskilled mayor to manage the town was more advantageous than an experienced educated town manager.
3. They ignored the facts given them by other mayoral candidates warning of financial problems that the mayor was covering up and put her back in office (with a raise). 4. Allowed a mayor (that told a reported she made her living playing the lottery) to have complete control over the town's finances and operation, without question. 5. NO ONE bothered to find out the true financial position of the town, they all took the mayor's word for it and let her keep spending.

I could go on, but you get the picture: I think it would be stupid to give the town more tax money until after the next town election. Hopefully, the citizens have come to their senses and will replace the last of the ex-mayors "yes" men with people that can think for themselves; elect trustees that will restore OC's reputation as a family place that will not tolerate drugs, dui's, etc., and can show a little fiscal responsibility.

Congratulations to the trustees that came on board, took your position seriously, and held her accountable; what a mess OC could be in if you hadn't!!

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whyquestion 6 years, 10 months ago

the finances of the town were moving along nicely with a town manager. money was being saved for the sewer and water projects, and electical system!!!!!!! along came DEFICIT CARGO and her board jae ,paxton ,stordal ,etc. cargos'own little treasurer jodee stordal and jodee' financial advisors J & B what a great job they did in spending the $$$$$$$$$'s that were being frugally put aside, what do they have to show for it????? half finished projects???? an uderdisgned water plant that broke, and more work needs to be done there????unfinished hockey facility??? unfinished trail around the town????? sold off town property, in what fund did that go????? or didn't the purchasers not pay until they resold and made their profit??????and now DEFICIT CARGOS' FORMER AND CURRENT BOARD MEMBERS ARE ASKING THE LANDOWNERS TO PROVIDE THEM WITH MORE $$$$$$$$s TO SQUANDER ????????? LET cargo and her boards do the fund raising????? or how about the towns insurace looking into where the $$$$$$$s went??????or the district attorney?????

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whyquestion 6 years, 10 months ago

ps your right about B he plays both sides for his profit.how about the bars providing their own bouncers, and again doing tips training ?????? maybe all the honorable business people in OC can pay the sales tax on time????? after all the customer paid it to them in good faith!!!!!!!!!all the citizens with electric bills could pay on time instead of weasling out!!!!!!!!!!OC could start taxing any illegal drug sales?????they sure are not paying for all the medical services that are provided,or police time!!!!!!!!!!!maybe the elected officials should change back the ordinances that were changed by the previous boards??????

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Scott Wedel 6 years, 10 months ago

So many personal attacks, so little substance, and even less logic.

Why hate Andy so much? Somebody wants to improve things and gets so much hatred and personally attacked. And he wasn't claiming to have the answers, just the need to think about what should be done now.

That Town manager was a disaster. He failed to get grants and created personnel problems. Or do you forget that Nancy Crawford resigned because she was being treated so poorly?

The fundamental problem with Oak Creek's budget is that bedroom communities typically have weak sakes tax revenues because the residents have more shopping choices in the city which they work.

Thus, Oak Creek can decide to either to continue taking money from the enterprise funds or use property taxes to directly fund the general fund.

It is ridiculous for water/sewer rates to pay the balance of the general fund. Currently, mobile home residents are paying the same as owners of $450K homes to make up the shortage in the general fund. The right thing to do is fund via a property tax and change the Town charter so that Town Boards can never take money from the enterprise funds.

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Camo181 6 years, 10 months ago

Crawford never resigned, Scott. Where do you get your information? The former town manager made the employees accountable for their time...some employees didn't like that because in the past they were their own bosses...and the revolt began...Rodeman was elected...the Town almost went bankrupt under the reign of former Mayor Rodeman and her grants...again, no accountability, no planning, just grandoise ideas that have since been curtailed because of the financial strain of these grants on the Town and paying former Mayor Rodeman's wages.

Scott, why don't you run for Mayor and straighten things out here in Oak Creek? Oops! I forgot you live in Steamboat!

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