New Oak Creek Town Board officials take seats

Board finishes old business, swears in members

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The Oak Creek Town Board did a bit of seat swapping Thursday night as the old Town Board held a final meeting for old business and a new board took its vows.

In one of her first acts as mayor, Nikki Knoebel appointed the Town Board members to one of three commissions. Knoebel appointed Trustee Chuck Wisecup mayor pro-tem. She also appointed Wisecup and Dawn Smith to the Police Commission, Johrene Meyers-Story and Wendy Gustafson to the Administrative Commission, and Bernie Gagne and Lawrence Jaconetta to the Public Works Commission.

The new board approved a request by outgoing Trustee Josh Voorhis to allow him to continue working on the retaining wall engineering project behind the Oak Creek ice rink. Voorhis said he would keep the board informed as water samples are completed to test the slope behind the wall.

The new Town Board also heard a report that the town soon might buy a used police SUV from the Routt County Sheriff’s Office. Wisecup said that in discussions with Sheriff Gary Wall and Undersheriff Dave Bustos, he found that the Routt County Board of Commissioners has approved the sale of an older SUV — likely Wall’s own vehicle — to the town of Oak Creek before the extras such as lights and police radio are removed.

Wisecup said they hope the SUV will replace an older vehicle in the town’s small fleet.

Old business finished

Before the new board was seated, the previous board finished a meeting to conclude old business, including approving a letter to the U.S. Forest Service.

As the Forest Service prepares to install a fish barrier to protect cutthroat trout from disease and non-native species, the Town Board is considering ways that the upcoming project could help it put a water-monitoring device in Sheriff Reservoir. The town expressed concerns that the construction could lower town reserve water levels.

“The town is entirely dependent upon water from Trout and Sand Creek which flow into the reservoir for storage,” outgoing Mayor J Elliott wrote in a letter.

The town has 200,000 gallons of water storage, enough for 10 hours of typical usage in a day. The proposal for the Forest Service project — designed to allow fish to travel downstream but not upstream — did not mention how the water level would be affected during construction, and the town’s letter requests more information.

Voorhis, who recused himself from the discussion because he works for the forestry service but answered questions about the project, said the construction also could cost the town money later if the town ever decided to install a water flume at that outlet.

The Town Board voted unanimously to approve the letter.

Town Board members also voted unanimously to allow Rachel Green, of Rachel’s Smokin’ BBQ sauce, to open a restaurant in downtown Oak Creek, provided that she takes care of several sewer problems and clarifies parking and snow removal space before the restaurant opens.

A neighbor reported to the Town Board that the building, at 201 Bell Ave., has a broken sewer pipe that encroaches on another property. The increased use from a restaurant could cause that broken pipe to overflow.

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