If you go
What: Oak Creek Town Board
When: 7 p.m. today
Where: Oak Creek Town Hall
Steamboat Springs After weeks of back-and-forth discussion about the Oak Creek Police Department, the town's mayor is proposing dissolving the local department and contracting with the Routt County Sheriff's Office.
Mayor J. Elliott instructed town attorney Bob Weiss to draft the ordinance, which will be up for discussion at tonight's Town Board meeting, Town Clerk Karen Halterman said.
Elliott, who is running for re-election, could not be reached for comment Wednesday. Elliott has been on the hot seat with other Town Board members in the ongoing discussions about police issues in Oak Creek - trustees have publicly accused him of mishandling police complaints and having a conflict of interest. Elliott co-owns the Colorado Bar with his wife Becky, who began circulating a letter of concern last month enumerating complaints from Oak Creek business owners and residents.
Approval of the ordinance up for discussion would dissolve the Oak Creek Police Department, but the Town Board would have to take additional action to contract with the Sheriff's Office for law enforcement services, Halterman said.
Oak Creek Police Chief Russ Caterinicchio declined to comment because he had not seen the ordinance.
Before Oak Creek had its own police department, the Sheriff's Office provided emergency services without a paid contract. The office currently has a contract with Yampa. The Routt County Board of Commissioners would have to be involved in determining any financial arrangement with Oak Creek, Routt County Sheriff Gary Wall said.
Wall noted that providing services in Oak Creek would be an additional burden for the Sheriff's Office, likely requiring additional personnel and funding, but he declined to take a position on Oak Creek enforcement.
"We are going to do statutorily what we need to do to provide law enforcement to the county," Wall said. "But the issue of dissolving the police department belongs to Oak Creek."
At last week's public police forum, local residents packed Town Hall to share their praise and complaints for OCPD. However, a common thread among many attendees, even those disgruntled with local enforcement, was that Oak Creek needs a local police force.
Keeping law enforcement local, rather than countywide, is the only way the people will continue to have input on how the police force operates, Oak Creek resident Chuck Gustafson said last week.
In other business, the Town Board will discuss Oak Creek's contact with the Britina Group for the upcoming revision of its Comprehensive Plan, consider a resolution opposing Yampa River diversion projects and hear a presentation about the town's wastewater treatment plant collection line project.
Trustee candidate Ed Paxton announced Wednesday he is withdrawing from the heavily contested Oak Creek Town Board race.
Though Friday was the last day to withdraw from the race, statute allows for Paxton to withdraw with consent of the Town Clerk, Halterman said.
Ten candidates remain for the four trustee seats up for grabs in the April 1 election. The top three vote-getters will serve four-year terms. The fourth-place finisher will serve for two years.
Incumbents Chuck Wisecup, John Crawford and Steve "Spike" Beven all are seeking another term. Wendy Gustafson, Josh Voorhis, Richard Wisecup, Cal Martindale, Dave Ege and Larry "L.A." Anderson are challengers.
The candidates will announce their platforms and discuss town issues at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the South Routt Community Center, in a forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters.