Hayden Town Council race crowded

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— It’s a bit of an unusual election year for Hayden Town Council.

Hayden will host its first November municipal election after local voters approved the town becoming a home-rule municipality in July 2009, which shifted elections from April, Town Clerk Susan Irvine said.

The Town Council has five seats up for election — four council seats and mayor —instead of the usual four. Coun­­cil member Tim Redmond was appointed in February 2009 to fill the seat vacated by Trace Mus­­grave, whose four-year term began in April 2008.

Irvine said Hayden’s charter requires that any vacated seat filled by appointment or special election come up for vote during the next regular election. She said it would be up for election again in November 2012, restoring the four-year term.

It’s also the first time since 2006 that Town Council seats are contested. That year, four vied for three council seats, and the mayoral race was uncontested. Irvine said the election in 2008 was canceled because only four candidates ran for the open seats and mayor.

Next month, Hayden voters will consider seven candidates for four Town Council seats. Incum­­bents are Red­­mond, Mayor Lorraine Johnson, and council members Jim Has­­kins and Tom Rog­­alski. Challenging them are residents Pam Gann, Dallas Robin­­son and Bryan Strickland.

Town Council member Chuck Grobe is running unopposed for mayor, a two-year term.

Irvine said in her 11 years with Hayden, she can’t recall an election when as many candidates ran for the Town Council.

“This is probably the most interest since I’ve been here,” she said.

Irvine said the four candidates who get the most votes would join Grobe, Richard “Festus” Hagins and Bill Hayden on the Town Council. She said the candidate who receives the fewest votes of the four would serve two years, to complete the term vacated by Musgrave.

The Steamboat Today asked the candidates to complete a short questionnaire.

Candidate responses:

Pam Gann

Occupation: Napa Auto Parts

Family: Husband, Kevin, and son, Trevor

Years in Hayden: 28

Years on Town Council: Eight, 1992 to 2000

Why do you want to continue serving on or become a member of the Hayden Town Council?

I have been concerned for the past four years. Now it is time to become involved.

How would you as a Town Council member work to address current and future budget issues as a result of less revenue during the recession?

It is going to be tough. It is going to take teamwork, from the council to the employees.

In addition to the budget, what is the biggest issue facing Hayden?

Our infrastructure.

As a member of the Town Council, how will you work to address that issue?

No easy answer, but I will do my best.

What could the Town Council have done better in the past four years?

No answer.

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Courtesy photo

Chuck Grobe

Chuck Grobe

Occupation: Substation supervisor for Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association Inc.

Family: In Hayden, wife, Julie

Years in Hayden: 32

Years on Town Council: 10 1/2 years, 20 years on the Planning Commission

Why do you want to continue serving on the Hayden Town Council?

I have some things that I want to get accomplished yet, and I feel, as mayor, I could do a better job of it.

How would you as a Town Council member work to address current and future budget issues as a result of less revenue during the recession?

We just have to be smarter in the way we do business. Everybody wants their chunk of the pie. We have to be smarter and more creative in the way we do things and cut back until things turn around.

In addition to the budget, what is the biggest issue facing Hayden?

The biggest problem we’ve got is we need to get more businesses in town. We’ve been working at that forever, it seems like.

As a member of the Town Council, how will you work to address that issue?

In a small town, we’re going to have to get more creative in areas there, too, to see what we can do and where we can do it. Especially with the airport in town, we should be able to lure businesses to town. With more businesses, it should help us increase our tax base quicker than more homes and more people.

What could the Town Council have done better in the past four years?

With the way the economy was going, I think we were proactive in cutting back and doing things. In retrospect, we’re in fair shape compared to a lot of communities around us. I don’t know if there’s much we could have done better, to be honest, and I’m not trying to pat myself on the back. These past two years have been real rough.

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Jim Haskins

James Haskins

Occupation: Area wildlife manager for the Colorado Division of Wildlife

Family: Wife and three children

Years in Hayden: 31

Years on Town Council: Most recently four, previously served for eight years

Why do you want to continue serving on or become a member of the Hayden Town Council?

This is a difficult time for the town financially. The current board has had to make some difficult decisions in regard to the current economic situation. We have also just recently changed how we govern ourselves in Hayden (home rule). Finally the town will be bringing on a new town manager. With all these recent changes and challenges, I believe maintaining consistency on the board is important. Maybe even more importantly, however, is that I have been encouraged by many town residents to continue on the board.

How would you as a Town Council member work to address current and future budget issues as a result of less revenue during the recession?

Under current conditions the town needs to be very conservative in its spending. The staff has successfully and admirably demonstrated that they can maintain an adequate level of service with fewer financial and staffing resources. We need to develop a long-term vision for the generation of increased sales tax revenue at the airport. Rebuild reserves so that we can take advantage of grant opportunities when they become available.

In addition to the budget, what is the biggest issue facing Hayden?

Return to long-term financial stability. Maintenance of infrastructure, particularly at the water and sewer treatment plants with an emphasis on making those enterprises self-sustaining. We need to position the town to jump out of the starting gate when the current economic crisis subsides.

As a member of the Town Council, how will you work to address that issue?

Improving the long-term economic health of the community is intricately linked to the economic development opportunity presented by the airport. In regard to making the town’s water and sewage treatment facilities self-sustaining, some type of increase in fee structures will almost certainly be required.

What could the Town Council have done better in the past four years?

We rushed into a huge financial burden, in the face of an impending national economic crisis, with the construction of the new Hayden Police Department building. There is no doubt that they needed something more than they had, however, there were other cheaper, adequate alternatives. Had we dedicated those same funds to water storage and delivery needs at the airport, we could have put ourselves in a position to be ahead of the curve for economic development at the airport when the current economic crisis subsides.

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Courtesy photo

Lorraine Johnson

Lorraine Johnson

Occupation: Yampa Valley Regional Airport

Family: Daughter, Crystal, and son, George

Years in Hayden: Moved to the valley in 1971, 1976 Hayden High School graduate

Years on Town Council: 10, mayor since 2008

Why do you want to continue serving on the Hayden Town Council?

I have really enjoyed being on the board and working, as well as watching the town of Hayden grow during the past 10 years. The town in 2009 became governed by home rule and has accomplished projects in and around town, including soft-surface trails, Hayden Police Department station, Parks and Recreation building in Dry Creek Park, and most recently the realignment of Poplar Street and the new sidewalks, with limited tax dollars and outside grant funding.

How would you as a Town Council member work to address current and future budget issues as a result of less revenue during the recession?

With the economic shortfalls, I would like to stay on the board and look after these projects as well as continue to find ways that could keep the pace of improvements to continue. As well as monitor the finances of Hayden to ensure that the services the town provides will not drop off or be eliminated altogether.

In addition to the budget, what is the biggest issue facing Hayden?

The town has some minor issues with the water and sewer plants, and I would like to follow these projects, so that they are done with the most efficient and economic resources.

As a member of the Town Council, how will you work to address that issue?

As the recession continues the Town Council will need to work more closely with the new town manager to ensure that the town is working within a very basic budget as well as keeping in touch with the infrastructure of the town so that its doesn't become problematic. Also to ensure the public's health and safety is not compromised.

What could the Town Council have done better in the past four years?

No answer.

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Dallas Robinson

Dallas Robinson

Occupation: Business Owner, R.N. Robinson & Son Inc.

Family: Wife, Angela Robinson; father, Bob Robinson; mother, Suellen Morgan; sister, Alena Velasquez

Years in Hayden: 38 years

Years on Town Council: N/A

Why do you want to become a member of the Hayden Town Council?

■ Help direct new town manager

■ Restore fiscal responsibility to city finances

■ To demand compliance with city codes and project specifications when projects are performed within or for the town of Hayden

■ Help ensure that the will of the town’s people is reflected in Town Council decisions.

How would you as a Town Council member work to address current and future budget issues as a result of less revenue during the recession?

■ At this point so much damage has been done that we will have to adopt a method of triage

■ Explore ways to cut the cost of doing business as the town of Hayden

■ Pursue grant monies

■ Reduce the cost of maintenance and repairs to newly installed infrastructure by enforcing warranties and demanding compliance with city codes and project specifications when work is performed by outside entities

■ Work more closely with the schools, residents, local businesses and the Hayden Chamber of Commerce to find ways to promote the town and encourage people to come here, which would increase our tax base

In addition to the budget, what is the biggest issue facing Hayden?

■ Aging infrastructure

■ The cost of maintenance and repairs to all of the recent city expansion and “improvements”

■ Community involvement

As a member of the Town Council, how will you work to address that issue?

■ Identify areas of greatest concern, prioritize by analyzing financial impact, pursue grant monies, proceed with caution and stay within budgets

■ Consider the future cost impact of maintenance and repair costs when approving city improvements and new projects

■ Work hard to promote the town of Hayden now that we have so much inventory (residential and commercial space) available

What could the Town Council have done better in the past four years?

■ Our council and its manager have been far too eager to facilitate and expedite the plans, agendas and projects by outside developers to expand our city, and in that, extend the responsibility of our public works employees without consideration to the cost of ongoing maintenance and repairs to those new facilities or the return on those investments

■ Should have kept a better eye on the code compliance, project specifications and the cost of upkeep when projects where being approved

■ They should have considered the historic and realistic consumption rates of lots and buildings in Hayden before approving large development projects

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Tim Redmond

Joseph Timothy Redmond

Occupation: Plumbing and heating mechanical contractor

Family: Wife, Julie Carey Redmond, and son, Jack Carey Redmond

Years in Hayden: 16

Years on Town Council: 1 year, 8 months

Why do you want to continue serving on the Hayden Town Council?

I enjoy Hayden. It has a special character. I want to preserve and improve the quality of life.

How would you as a Town Council member work to address current and future budget issues as a result of less revenue during the recession?

Let’s face the facts. It is not going to improve in the near future. I feel the council’s job is to maintain basic services. Police and public works are top priority.

In addition to the budget, what is the biggest issue facing Hayden?

The fact that capital improvement projects are on hold. We need to do some work on our infrastructure.

As a member of the Town Council, how will you work to address that issue?

I don't have a ready answer. I feel we have to look at all opportunities (capital improvement grants).

What could the Town Council have done better in the past four years?

I am only comfortable talking about the last year, the time I spent on the council. I came to the council just before the financial meltdown. No one saw this coming, but I thought town staff and council worked together (and are still in the process) to make some tough decisions. If only we could have foreseen and prepared.

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Tom Rogalski

Tom Rogalski

Occupation: Salesman for Guier Fence

Family: Wife, Tracey, son, Adam

Years in Hayden: 20 years

Years on Town Council: Four

Why do you want to continue serving on or become a member of the Hayden Town Council?

I find it interesting and a way to give back to the community. We have accomplished a lot in the past four years, but there is still much to do.

How would you as a Town Council member work to address current and future budget issues as a result of less revenue during the recession?

There is only so much belt-tightening that can be done without lowering the level of service, and staff has worked hard to maintain that loss of service. We continue to look for ways to increase revenue and collaborate with others to get the most out of what we have.

In addition to the budget, what is the biggest issue facing Hayden?

Attracting and retaining businesses and the jobs and services they provide. It's something we've been working on and are committed to.

As a member of the Town Council, how will you work to address that issue?

I feel our biggest challenge is getting people to seriously look at Hayden as a place to locate their business. Promoting the many assets of our community to the right folks in the proper way will help, as will continuing to improve our image as an attractive place to live and work.

What could the Town Council have done better in the past four years?

In hindsight we could have made cuts in the budget sooner had we known the depth and breadth of this recession but of course, we couldn't. I think we need to find ways to keep the community connected and engaged with its government and vice versa. The same goes for council, management and employees.

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Bryan Strickland

Bryan Strickland

Occupation: Painting contractor

Family: Wife, Joni Strickland

Years in Hayden: Eight

Years on Town Council: N/A

Why do you want to continue serving on or become a member of the Hayden Town Council?

I have the time. I want to represent my network of friends and neighbors, as I’ve lived in Routt County for 26 years.

How would you as a Town Council member work to address current and future budget issues as a result of less revenue during the recession?

Find new sources of revenue that the residents are not responsible for. Two examples (that I've voted for) were a lodging tax and a rental car tax.

In addition to the budget, what is the biggest issue facing Hayden?

Our school system and the outdated facilities.

As a member of the Town Council, how will you work to address that issue?

I was elected to the Home Rule Charter Committee, and would work hard to find other revenue sources that would not affect residents. However, I will certainly support a tax increase for our schools if it goes to a vote.

What could the Town Council have done better in the past four years?

To recognize that they were elected to represent the people of the town of Hayden, and that the town manager is an employee of the town of Hayden.

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