Oak Creek Town Board candidate Bernard Gagne was appointed to a vacancy on the board earlier this year and is one of five candidates running for the trustee positions in the election Tuesday.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Oak Creek Town Board candidate Bernard Gagne was appointed to a vacancy on the board earlier this year and is one of five candidates running for the trustee positions in the election Tuesday.

Oak Creek Town Board candidate: Experience is key

Oak Creek candidate touts time spent in project management

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Candidate questionnaire

To read Bernard Gagne's responses to a candidate questionnaire, click here.

— After visiting Routt County for several years, enjoying the Flat Tops and the streams, Oak Creek Town Board candidate Bernard Gagne, then living on the Front Range, decided he was done with city living.

Six years ago, Gagne moved to Routt County, and he hasn’t looked back. He decided that instead of focusing on work — Gagne worked on technological systems for high-rise buildings on the Front Range — he would focus on his quality of life.

He said he wasn’t looking for the trappings of Steamboat Springs, with condos, townhomes and streetlights, and wanted instead to live in South Routt.

Gagne was appointed to a vacancy on the Oak Creek Town Board in January to replace Gerry Greenwood, who retired, and Gagne has since waded into the medical marijuana debate and all of the other work of the board. Gagne is one of five candidates running for four open Town Board seats, to be decided in an election Tuesday. The other candidates are Dawn Smith, Lawrence Jaconetta, Linda Price and Joh­rene Meyers-Story.

Nikki Knoebel is running for the open mayoral seat.

Gagne said one of the biggest issues that the town has struggled with for years — the police force — is at a stable place, and he’s happy with the decisions the board has made in hiring Lance Dunaway as the town’s sole police officer.

“I think the town has the direction of police force that we’re looking for,” Gagne said during an interview at the Catamount Ranch & Club, where he works as buildings manager. “Lance is a good guy. He’s a good fit personality-wise for the town; he’s a real professional in his business, and that’s great.”

Gagne said he’s also pleased with the outcome of the medical marijuana discussion and the ensuing policies the town adopted, including an approval for dispensaries and a moratorium on building changes to allow medical marijuana cultivation.

“I believe both were appropriate actions,” Gagne wrote in response to a questionnaire sent out to all candidates. “Having researched this topic vigorously, I am convinced the appropriate actions were taken by the board as well as the Planning Commission, which voted to recommend approval of the dispensary license.”

On infrastructure improvements, another major topic of town concern, Gagne said his experience working on multimillion-dollar, multiyear projects on the Front Range has prepared him to guide the town through water, sewer and road upgrades.

“What I hope is that if I’m elected, that I would be assigned to the Public Works Commission, be­­cause I have exten­­sive background in plumbing as well as electrical and project management — lots of project management experience,” he said.

The mayor assigns each Town Board member as a public works, police or administrative commissioner.

“I think that with the town’s upcoming public works projects that I would be a good fit. I would be a benefit to the town in managing those projects from the contract standpoint as well as the hands-on physical progress,” Gagne said.

— To reach Zach Fridell, call 871-4208 or e-mail zfridell@steamboatpilot.com

Comments

greenwash 4 years, 4 months ago

Anyone been to OC lately? Virtually every building on Main street is either For Sale Or Vacant. Its a very depressing place right now.

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flotilla 4 years, 4 months ago

Actually, Greenwash, Oak Creek is doing just fine. There have been multiple home sales since the "downward spiral" began, at least one new home built, multiple remodels and lots of people still participating in the community through CNCC, the OC community garden, dance and yoga programs, and I have seen people doing their best to support the restaurants in town. Futhermore, younger people are participating by running for the town board and the planning commission hasn't been completely dead either.

I get really tired of your stupid comments. You have no idea. For sale is one thing, "depressing" is quite another. Most of the businesses "for sale" have been that way most of the decade. No, we aren't thriving, but name a place in the US that is right now. You also fail to mention that the mall just sold downtown. Always the negative, Greenwash, always. Thanks for your insight, yet again.

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 4 months ago

OC is not just fine right now. Selling the Town Mall at less than $30 per sq is not good. Downtown SB rents for that. Nearly new condo cannot sell for what was foreclosure pricing ($149,900) and is certainly less than cost of construction.

Streets in Pbrug and Stagecoach are in better condition than in OC. So, those not paying taxes to a town government have better transportation infrastructure than those that do.

Sales tax revenues are down. Property tax revenues benefited from optimistic assessments. Next round of assessments going to be much lower and balancing the Town budget is going to be a serious challenge for the next several years.

It has been said in Town Board meetings by Town Board members that OC lacks the population base and commercial base to be a viable town. Those issues have only gotten worse recently.

I think next Town Board is going to have to make some very tough decisions. I think over the next few years the town is going to have to decide if the electricity service would be better if part of YVEA, if water/sewer should form own district and the Town return to county and become like Pburg and Stagecoach. Not too hard to argue that utilities and town government is just too small to gain any efficiencies of scale and thus have an unsustainable cost structure.

The sense of community is not gone, but economically things are really bad.

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Duke_bets 4 years, 4 months ago

flotilla - Have you been to Oak Creek lately? Greenwash stated it correctly. Scott backed it up with proof.

Sales at $30 per square foot are not good. If you check out the deeds on the other sales, you'll notice that most have been bank owned properties.

Every street in that town is a mess. The waterplant is having issues. I think the gas station is closed.

I need not go further because it is truly depressing..........

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flotilla 4 years, 4 months ago

Ah, sorry a couple outsiders making their opinions known. Yes, I live here in Oak Creek, I know many of the residents, and I follow town politics and decisions. A vast majority of the people I know here are still paying their mortgages, participating in the community and doing fine. It is relative. You did not speak to the other things that I mentioned. The things that make up a community. The gas station certainly isn't the economic gage for the community, considering it is a rental. In case you haven't noticed, as I mentioned, there are few places thriving anywhere. I would hardly call Steamboat one of them. Talk about everything is for sale... gee... I guess a flooded second home market is a better sign? Drive down Steamboat Blvd. Scott, you have been an anti-oc since you have posted on here. You own a half-assed rental and a broken down car wash. Sell them. Scott. Scott, scott scott. sigh... maybe spend some time on your properties instead of armchair posting.
And Sierra View condos are ALSO not the economic gage for this town. It was a bad idea to begin with. No one moves to OC to live in a condo. As I said several homes have sold here in Oak Creek and the people that bought them are happy to be here.

Depressing is not the word for this town. Sorry that you all are so negative. It is most likely because you have no clue what the word "community" means and how amazing that community is in Oak Creek is.
And Duke-bets... yes, we have our issues, but we continue to work them out. "Every street in town is a mess". Mud season is mud season.

That's all, I won't continue to defend a good town against the misers that post here. Best to you and yours and here's hoping we all get out of this rut soon.

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 4 months ago

Looks like people are talking about different two different topics.

1) Economically OC is in rough shape, both in terms of Main St commercial and town finances. While several homes have sold, the prices are way down and there have also been a number of foreclosures. Driving Main St with all of the vacancies and for sale signs and accumulated dirt on Main St is depressing.

2) The community is okay. People are helping each other and so on. Some of the most divisive people have left.

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greenwash 4 years, 4 months ago

AHHHH Flotilla if you only knew.

Scott W. you are 100% correct.Depressing and very vacant.

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kathy foos 4 years, 4 months ago

And part of the problem Scot,Where is the darn carwash you took out of the community?The cars are dirty now thanks to you,you let that car wash die out when times were good,you set a poor example of a business owner in south routt, dare say if you could part with it and sell to a real business person,it would be one good and usefull business,if well run, it would have lots of of potential,you have taken that away.Please consider doing something,anything with it,do you think that the people in that area cannot afford a car wash tab?Wrong,dont ruin a business in that town and then complain that it is becomming a ghost town.

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 4 months ago

Sun, I have asked real business people if they would like to operate the car wash at zero rent. They have declined. I have turned down no offers to operate it or buy it so it is simply wrong to say I refuse to part with it. (I purchased it for the value of the lots.)

The reason other "real business" people are not interested in running the car wash is that the revenue from it is limited due to 131 being a relatively lightly traveled highway and some potential customers do not want to wash their car in order to drive on a muddy dirt street. Then the expenses are relatively high with high water/sewer rates and the Town refuses to read the water meter and charge by usage or consider reclassifying it's rate category based upon factual usage.

If having the car wash open was considered a community resource then it would have been nice if you had spoke up any of the numerous times that I tried to get the Town to charge a fair amount for water and sewer. Car wash has a water meter and I can show that when operating it would use about .1% of town's water while being charged about .5% of the water/sewer budget.

Yeah, OC becoming a ghost town is all my fault. Maybe you should consider whether you are the problem with the sort of attitude of not caring when the Town government is being tough on business owners and then blaming the business owner when the business is closed. Yeah, create a business environment in which the seller of Main St property is quoting as being glad to being out of OC and then blame me. Yeah, that will convince people to invest in OC.

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Duke_bets 4 years, 4 months ago

Sun,

Did you notice that Scott has spotless grammar and English skills? You should check into that.

Scott possibly pays more taxes in the Town of Oak Creek than any other individual. Scott offers affordable housing. He also has a legitimate gripe about the water rates. He has proven facts.

Did I mention that Scott most likely pays all of his taxes and town utility bills on time? Did I mention that Scott has helped out numerous unfortunate individuals in your lovely town?

I don't even know Scott, but I do know he has done a lot more good to Oak Creek than most.

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max huppert 4 years, 4 months ago

I know Scott :) ha ha Hey Scott I heard you might have a idea for a pawn shop, would like to link it with my strip club idea along with medical MJ and we could be rich. Let me know.. Why does OC need a carwash, we can use as much water as we want. To bad OC isnt a party town like i heard it used to be.

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 4 months ago

Hey, Duke_Bets, I thought we were sworn enemies. Quit saying nice things about me or civility might break out on these blogs.

Max, I do not know why you say some of things you say. Strip clubs are ethically wrong and, even worse, would make no business sense in OC.

All I said about a pawn shop is that commercial rent is so cheap in OC, a pawn shop needs room to keep items on pawn that could be redeemed and room for retail sales, and people will travel from SB to get a better price at a pawn shop, so maybe someone could profitably operate a pawn shop in OC.

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max huppert 4 years, 4 months ago

ethically wrong?? thats just silly ... :) maybe we could put in a grayhound dog race track.. I come up with better ideas then anyone else you must admit :) how come we never see you around anymore, thought you left town like dave fisher?

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flotilla 4 years, 4 months ago

Bernie! I forgot to mention what an outstanding guy you are and how essential you are to this board. Way to go!

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Duke_bets 4 years, 4 months ago

Scott,

I've actually backed many of your arguments on these posts. We've only had a couple of spats.

On these points, I agree with you 100%.

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max huppert 4 years, 4 months ago

I agree with Scott sometimes also, but dont think a pawn shop would make any money.

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