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Jim “Moose” Barrows
Occupation: Self-employed — ski promotions and real estate sales
Prior political experience: None
Hometown: Steamboat Springs
Years in Routt County: 64
Family: None (wife and son deceased)
Civic involvement: Steamboat Home Rule Commission (1973), Yampa Valley Regional Airport president (1998)
Q. Improving the local economy is often cited as your top priority, if elected. Identify three specific actions you would take as county commissioner that would directly impact Routt County’s economy.
A. 1) County utilizes local businesses at every opportunity
2) Streamline and expedite decisions for county processes
3) Identify and compete for potential business and consumer prospects operating in comparable resort locations
Q. Declining local property valuations could have a significant impact on the county budget in the next couple of years. What areas of the county budget are best suited for cuts? And what is your position on using reserves to pay for operating expenses?
A. The declining property valuations should not have an immediate impact on property tax revenues. Every element of the budget is open to review to make sure the operations are getting efficient and best utilization of county assets.
Q. Oil and gas exploration is a hot-button issue for many residents. Do you support the actions taken by the current Board of Commissioners as they relate to energy development within Routt County? If so, why? If not, what measures do you oppose, and why?
A. I tactfully approve with several reservations. The development of the supplemental guidelines and process took too long and the procedure provided a conceptional deterrent to potential future development value of personal property assets.
Q. Do you believe the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and state regulations are sufficient for protecting the health, safety and environment in Routt County?
A. Yes. Responsible implementation and oversight and allocation of the associated costs are the issue.
Q. Name your top three priorities if elected to the Board of Commissioners and how you would accomplish them.
A. 1) Road and Bridge: Renew with new faces and perspectives to get the funds and concepts to make our roads safe.
2) Transportation: Develop operations that are competitive in the destination resort marketplace.
3) Cooperation with county municipalities ensure our rural residents with municipal interests get representation.
Q. What is the biggest difference between you and your opponent?
A. The extent of my historical experience and the accumulated assets of 50 years of ski resort, aviation and agricultural business.
Q. Would you make it a priority to restore employee pay to pre-recession levels and to provide annual pay increases? If so, how would you pay for it?
A. My first priority is to operate within the financial constraints of the present economic environment. Our employees are key to success and future pay can be determined as we proceed within financial parameters.
Q. Routt County was scheduled to spend up to $767,840 this summer to put asphalt patches on a county road system that is deteriorating. However, with little help coming from the state, and the assessed valuation of the county declining, projections show the Road and Bridge Department fund balance will continue to decline. What, if anything, can be done to shore up funding and do more to improve Routt County’s roads?
A. We have to make a better case to obtain state funds from fuel tax collections.
Q. Someday, the national and local economy will recover and Routt County’s population will grow, as will the need for workforce housing. Do you think county planning initiatives have adequately prepared us to manage that growth in the best interests of existing residents and communities across the county? What steps would you take?
A. Routt County will grow because it is a great place to live. The planning initiatives must reflect the personal property rights of the existing residents. The national health and economic trends will change and the county planning operations need to be flexible to react to these changes.