Candidate questionnaire for Nikki Knoebel

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Nikki Knoebel

Age: 38

Occupation: Special events manager, Catamount Ranch & Club

Prior political experience: Oak Creek town trustee, October 2009 to present

Hometown: Fort Smith, Ark.

Years in Oak Creek: Eight

Family: Tim Knoebel, husband

Civic involvement: Some of my civic involvements include: 2008 to present, Steamboat Ice Rink Advisory Committee; 2008 to present, Oak Creek Hockey Association; Chix with Stix board member. Through Catamount I have hosted a variety of charitable events: Hospice, Advocates, Penguin Plunge, youth hockey, Yampatika and the Figure Skating Club.

1. The town is in the midst of several major infrastructure upgrades, with a wastewater treatment plant, pipes and water tower all being replaced or repaired. Where do you think resources in the town are most needed? The town has struggled to provide water meters and to pave more streets; do you think these items should be a high priority?

I think paving the streets in Oak Creek is important but very costly. Our first priority is to replace a majority of the water distribution lines before we can pave. Both of those items come at a cost of approximately $2 million.

2. Supporting the town’s businesses and general economy are more important now than before the recession hit. How do you propose the Oak Creek Town Board develop the town’s economy?

As a board, we are trying to come up with ways to help the local economy. The creation of a downtown business association would help the businesses communicate and advertise weekly promotions, discounts and special events. The town of Oak Creek can add events such as a running or bike race, “Oak Creek Days” or expand on the Labor Day festivities to help bring more people to the town. Community involvement is a priority, and making Main Street user-friendly will help promote the great local restaurants, grocery store and liquor store. Our monthly newsletter helps promote the businesses and keep the community informed of ongoing events, specials, live entertainment and discounts.

3. Several candidates have mentioned a need to increase services for children in town. Do you believe this issue is a high priority? Why or why not, and what would you do?

One of our goals is to have a high “quality of life” in Oak Creek. We want to attract young families who cannot afford to live in Steamboat to choose Oak Creek over other surrounding towns. We want to be a family-oriented town with a focus on kid-friendly activities. The local ice rink has been a huge asset to the town, bringing family and friends together in a positive atmosphere. The ice rink draws people from the surrounding areas for adult hockey tournaments, youth hockey games and skating exhibitions. We hope to incorporate the rink for summer activities, either as a venue for roller blading or hosting a farmers or flea market.

4. The Oak Creek Town Board has recently passed regulations for medical marijuana dispensaries, and a moratorium on approving building changes to allow medical marijuana cultivation. Were these appropriate actions? How would you have handled the situation? And what are the next steps?

Yes, I think medical marijuana was dealt with appropriately. Even though the state of Colorado made it legal, they left the local municipality to govern and regulate the new law, which has proven to be more difficult than anticipated. One positive result is the town of Oak Creek will benefit from the sales tax. In the future, the state of Colorado will need to put into place statewide regulations similar to those pertaining to liquor.

5. The town's police department, after many troubles in the past, now has one officer. The community service officer was let go during the probationary period and there is no talk of rehiring for that position. Are you happy with the current police force? Why or why not, and what would you like to see in the future?

I am very pleased with our new police force in Oak Creek. I think Lance is the perfect person for the job. Yes, I think a community service officer is important to have, especially during the summer months. We need to take a close look at the budget and evaluate if the position is cost-effective before making the decision.

Open-ended:

We originally moved to Oak Creek eight years ago after getting married because it was affordable, but we stayed because we felt welcomed by the town, people and local businesses. Oak Creek has a diverse group of people that make our town special. Being mayor, I feel that I can bring new energy and ideas to help stimulate the local economy. I have no special interests or agendas; I just want to see our town thrive. Even though I do not have kids, I see the importance of improving and developing kid programs and promoting community unity and taking pride in our town. Through my job at Catamount, I have extensive knowledge of budgets, finances, fundraising and special events. All qualities that I feel can help me lead and make great decisions for Oak Creek.

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