Our View: Oak Creek's activism healthy

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Editorial Board, May 2008 to August 2008

  • Bryna Larsen, publisher
  • Brent Boyer, editor
  • Mike Lawrence, city editor
  • Tom Ross, reporter
  • Eric Morris, community representative
  • Paul Draper, community representative

Contact the editorial board at (970) 871-4221 or editor@steamboatpilot.com. Would you like to be a member of the board? Fill out a letter of interest now.

— Oak Creek residents have plenty of reasons to head to the voting booths Tuesday, among them the impressive number of candidates seeking a role in town governance. Oak Creek's municipal election features three candidates for mayor and 10 candidates vying for four Town Board seats.

We're thrilled to see so much interest in town politics, and Oak Creek residents should feel likewise. Contested elections promote a discussion of the issues important to residents and the overall health and growth of the town.

For that very reason, we're disappointed such election discussions aren't taking place in Hayden, where the April 1 vote was canceled because of a lack of contested races.

Contested races and strong voter turnout have been commonplace in Oak Creek in recent years. In 2006, 244 of the town's 550 registered voters (44 percent) turned out for a mayoral and Town Board election. About the same percentage (45 percent) cast ballots in the town's 2004 election. The town now has 594 registered voters, according to the Routt County Clerk and Recorder's office, although not all of them are considered active voters.

Given the strong interest in town issues and recent related controversies, we hope to see even better turnout at the polls Tuesday (registered voters can cast a ballot from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Town Hall, 129 Nancy Crawford Blvd.).

Like other Routt County municipalities, Oak Creek is undergoing change. Population and the corresponding demand for services are increasing. The town is working toward an update of its Comprehensive Plan, which will define future areas of growth and review building codes and annexation policies. The Oak Creek Police Department continues to be the subject of debate. Infrastructure projects and improvements loom, including work on water and sewer services, utilities, sidewalks and street paving.

Most concerning is the state of the town's budget. For years, town officials have borrowed from their enterprise funds to balance the general fund.

A recent candidates forum featured productive discussions about these and other town-related issues. That same spirit of working for the common good should continue well after Tuesday's election results are posted.

As we've previously mentioned, Tuesday's ballot will be loaded with names.

Incumbent Mayor J. Elliott faces challengers Gerry Greenwood and Bill Paxton. Greenwood is on the Oak Creek Planning Commission and is a former Town Board trustee and Oak Creek Fire Protection District board member. Paxton served on the Town Board from 2000 to 2006.

Town trustees Steve "Spike" Beven, John Crawford and Chuck Wisecup are seeking re-election. They are challenged by Larry "L.A." Anderson, David Ege, Bernard Gagne, Wendy Gustafson, Cal Martindale, Josh Voorhis and Richard Wisecup. Trustee Tom Bleuer is not seeking re-election.

The four Town Board candidates with the highest vote total will be awarded those seats.

Voting is the best way to make your voice heard, and Oak Creekers get that chance Tuesday. We urge them to take it.

Comments

wz4now 6 years, 8 months ago

If Oak Creek has any left over candidates after Tuesday would you please send them to the county. It sure doesn't speak well for this county when OC can get 10 candidates and the county can't come up with anything better than the two unopposed commissioners!

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