Scott Wedel: No way to govern

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The longest standing Oak Creek Town Board member, Chuck Wisecup, says it is acceptable to be a police commissioner and not to have talked to the town’s police officer for many months. The rest of the Town Board avoids the issue.

Lawrence Jaconetta failed to conduct himself as should be expected by a Town Board member.

The Town Board passed an ordinance making property owners liable for their tenant’s electricity bills without seeking input from property owners and thus was surprised by the strong opposition of property owners including two of the town’s most prominent property owners that submitted letters threatening to sue if the ordinance was not repealed.

The town is considering redoing billing for the electricity department without explaining why the old system that typically required a deposit had such a higher rate of billing write-offs than Yampa Valley Electric Association, which typically does not require a deposit. YVEA billed $56 million last year and had billing write-offs of $81,000, which is a 0.14 percent write-off rate. Oak Creek billed about $667,000 and is owed $10,385.26 for accounts with a final bill in 2010 for a loss rate of 1.56 percent. That is a loss rate 1,076 percent higher than YVEA. The town should explain why even after taking deposits that their balances-owed rate is so much higher than YVEA. At the Town Board work session meeting a couple weeks ago, there were attempts to ask why the town’s billing loss rate is so high, but the Town Board declined to address that subject.

To get those above numbers from YVEA took a phone call, which was returned that afternoon. To get those numbers from Oak Creek required a four-week process of filing an open records request; being charged and paying for town staff research time; being given a report for 2010 that did not include balances owed; being assured twice by Town Board member Johrene Story that I had received what I requested and promises to show me where balances was in the report that were not kept; and finally upon threat of myself pursuing this as a noncompliance of the Colorado open records law, Oak Creek Treasurer Sandy Jacobs took my request and emailed the requested data later that evening.

That the Town Board acted and passed Ordinance 609 without first gathering this information and understanding the problem before addressing the problem was inept. How accounts with a deposit of $250 were allowed to run up balances $1,318, $481, $824 and $1,692 has never been explained. It makes no sense to believe a Town Hall unable to competently administer the current billing policy would be able to competently administer any new electricity billing policy.

The Town Board with three board members not present considered significantly different proposals for a new water tank, a very important decision with long-term consequences. The question of how much extra to pay now for expected reduce maintenance costs in the future should require a financial analysis based upon opportunity costs, but was made after an impromptu guess of what seemed best.

This is no way for a town to be governed.

Scott Wedel

Steamboat Springs

Comments

lawrence jaconetta 2 years, 11 months ago

i'm still trying to understand why the pilot post anything of yours Scott. Conflict is good bizz for media I guess. Your the biggest waste of tax dollars in this town with the amount of recourses you consume. Too bad you don't live in the oc, you could run for town board, ohhh I forgot,no one really likes you.

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 11 months ago

Yeah,, perfect description of what is wrong with the Town Board. In the opinion of a Town Board member it is perfectly fine to personally attack critics of the Town Board and a waste of resources to ask how much money is uncollected for electricity accounts terminated in 2010 and a waste of resources to actually expect an answer. The Town Board did not consume Town resources asking for that sort of information prior to PASSING ordinance 609 fundamentally redoing how Town billed for electricity.

Town Board under pressure from property owners repealed Ordinance 609, held a worksession and yet still never asked for actual specific information regarding accounts and the amount of billing losses.

That I consume Town resources is exactly what is wrong with the Town Board since they fail to get relevant information from Town Hall prior to making decisions.

So you have answers as to how accounts with a deposits of $250 were allowed to run up balances $1,318, $481, $824 and $1,692?

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jerry carlton 2 years, 11 months ago

Scott W. I usually agree with about 50% of what you have to say but Lawrence has a point. You are intelligent, have business interests in Oak Creek, and seem to have extra time since you do massive amounts of research. Maybe you could run for Lawrence's seat if he resigns as he should. Threatening a 80 year old man is not a very good example for any type of leader. I am only 66 and in pretty good shape so I feel that I could defend myself as necessary.

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 11 months ago

Jerry, I don't live in Oak Creek and thus am not eligible to run for Town Board.

Doing research does not actually take much time if you are curious and have an idea of where to look. Getting the comparable info from YVEA just took leaving a message and talking for 10 minutes when he called back. And it did take 4 weeks to get the information from Oak Creek, but it probably took only a few hours of my time. The great majority of the 4 weeks was waiting for a reply. It took only a few minutes to then ask where is the balance owed and what is the meaning of these column headers. Just about every response said I had the information I requested so presumably I just needed to know how to calculate balances owed from what I was given.

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lawrence jaconetta 2 years, 11 months ago

first off, never was a leader but thanks for the comment, a unpaid civil servant might be a more appropriated definition.2nd the threats were not that but a effort to debunk the opinions previously stated by non community members that infuriated me and my free unpaid efforts and time Don't believe everything you read, search for the facts be fore you make a informed decision.3rd the information you seek scott is stated under o.c.'s policy's, dig a litle harder big guy. lastly, there are tons of owners that supported the measure regarding utility's that you have chosen to over look. perhaps Scott you can make a primary residents out of one of your apartments and be able to run for my former seat. i still think no one would vote for you. whats your take on that?

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beentheredonethat 2 years, 11 months ago

lj, your words give you away as a bitter, uneducated man. for your own sake, please stop posting!

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 11 months ago

Actually, part II of my original open records request was for the payment and billing information of the final few months prior to disconnecting the account in order to learn how accounts were allowed to run up such large amounts. After it taking so long to simply get the list of accounts and it apparently being so much work for Town Hall to generate, I do not need to see the billing history of accounts terminated in 2010 to know that Town Hall has got real problems with billing.

BTW, today in Oak Creek, it felt more like a local hero being commended for telling the truth than someone with no friends.

If placing property liens for electrical service is such a popular idea then the Town could have made it an option, allowing property owners to not be disconnected if owner allows Town to be sure it will eventually be paid via property lien to be paid as part of property taxes. But no, Ordinance 609 made it mandatory. So Creico that owns the trailers parks with the most electrical accounts in town wrote a letter threatening to sue. Chan who owns the largest warehouse in town with presumably the largest electricity bill was vehemently opposed and threatened to sue. If you all had taken the time to ask and get feedback prior to passing Ordinance 609 then you all might have learned of their concerns prior to passing it and then being pressured to repeal it.

BTW, no one I talk with believes that you were an actual threat to Maynard and it was ridiculous for him to call the police. But everyone also said that it was ridiculous for you to call him when you were drinking and angry.

As for unpaid civil servant, maybe true but that is indicative of yet more problems with Town Hall. Elsewhere staff is expected to do research and present lots of information, not just staff's opinion of what should be done. It is absolutely bizarre the way planning discussions spend so much time determining the current use of a property instead of having the last approved land use in their packet. Likewise, the amount of actual billing information in the member's packet prior to approving Ordinance 609 was disgraceful.

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Eric J. Bowman 2 years, 11 months ago

"The Town Board passed an ordinance making property owners liable for their tenant’s electricity bills..."

Funny thing is, many folks around here who would have opposed that measure, support it now that they see so many rentals (like Scott's) pumping out tens of thousands of watts of light, and assume that if Scott isn't held to account, then when his tenants harvest their crops and skip town the rest of us will be. So yeah, let the property owners be on the hook, it only amounts to serious money if the tenants are pot growers (thus explaining Scott's, and Chan's, position).

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Eric J. Bowman 2 years, 11 months ago

"BTW, today in Oak Creek, it felt more like a local hero being commended for telling the truth than someone with no friends."

Well, no friends is a bit harsh, but "local hero" is even more ludicrous. Scott, surrounding property owners and tenants are very angry with you, not worshipping you for standing up to the board out of naked self-interest.

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 11 months ago

So Town lost $10362 in 2010 from inept billing and the problem is that properties owned by Chan and myself that are current on their electric bills?

With thinking like that no wonder the town governance is so screwed up.

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upstream 2 years, 11 months ago

Eric you make an interesting link between Scott and Chan and what goes on in their buildings. Of course only one of the operations is legal and on the up and up. Please Scott, a hero??

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honestabe 2 years, 11 months ago

How very small/negative of all these posters. Scott brings up very legitimate issues and only gets personal attacks, with no discussion of the issues in his letter. If the issue is weed or griping about your neighbor, there will be 100 comments, names called, tiresome repetitions, and little or nothing positive. Most seem to be very interested in what goes on in the privacy of their neighbors homes, but have very little interest in the actual goings on of Oak Creek (ie infrastructure, police, fire depts, town council decisions, etc).

Upstream, i thought you moved out of oak creek? still have the grudge though...

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 11 months ago

So the first thing I would do if on the Town Board would be to start the process of selling the electricity to YVEA. YVEA's rates are about the same as OC's (slightly more for low usage customers and slightly less for high usage customers) and they do not have potential massive outlays due to deferred maintenance. YVEA is a customer owned electricity and is thus very similar to being a town owned utility because any profits are returned to the customers and not distance shareholders. Thus, switching to YVEA is not selling out local residents.

There would be many benefits in switching to YVEA. The great advantage of switching to YVEA would be that YVEA is big enough to have efficiencies of scale of operating an electricity utility. They know how to bill. They know how to maintain an electricity grid. They have electricians on staff and do not need to hire a crew from 50 miles away to work on the grid.

It would also be a huge benefit to the Town to no longer be responsible for an electricity system which there is little local expertise. Electricity system issues frequently come before the Town Board and they are almost always difficult because they are new topics for the Town. But such issues are trivial for YVEA because they operate a far larger electricity system.

There is really no good reason for the Town to work so hard at operating the electricity utility when YVEA can do it better and the electricity customers would still be owners in their electricity provider.

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 11 months ago

According to the Town's budgets, the Town does not make any money from the electricity utility. It is just performing the public service of operating the electricity for the benefit of the residents. So switching to YVEA would not hurt the Town's other budgets.

And now if the Town were to raise rates any more then electricity rates being higher than YVEA would be another nail in the coffin for local businesses and even residents. Which puts the Town in the difficult position of not having a backup generator able to handle peak loads and lacking the money to do anything about it. And so on.

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dogking09 2 years, 11 months ago

I dunno.Lawerence your lucky that Maynard called the Police...your attitude that night just might have landed you at his doorstep. And considering you called him out, if he would have obliged- sorry brotha...me thinks youd be a mess..Maynard has a right to say or state his opinion in any forum he chooses...you reacted like a drunk retard. Its a good thing your all about da weed....cuz you need to stop drinkin and just smoke...maybe take a zanax once in awhile...sheesh...calling out an 80 year old man....and he wouldda and couldda just demolished your not so pretty mug...dude!. embarassing right?!

As far as you go Scott..sheesh i can only imagine you in high school...smart but arrogantly not so ....(listen i am no einstein obviously) its just man you bitch alot. and well you live in such a glass house and you just dont get it dude. BTW clean up the car wash..sheesh..and another question is it legal when you knowingly allow illegal activities in your rental building to exist? just wonderin. and my vote is for anything OC~ yeah we screw some chit up ...but its ours to screw up...get it?

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