Election Guide 2012: Jim 'Moose' Barrows



Jim "Moose" Barrows

Election 2012

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Jim “Moose” Barrows

Age: 68

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.


George Krawzoff 2 years, 8 months ago

Moose is a great guy. When I first met Moose I performed the ski bum's ritual bow of obeisance to a ski great and got a laugh out of him. I got to know him better while managing the airport where Moose is fixture. He is accessible and cares about the people of this valley. I recommend him to you.

I wouldn't however, wait for an additional share of gas tax revenues. State and federal gas taxes, combined, have been pegged at 40 cents per gallon since 1992 and, since that's not a percentage but a fixed amount, inflation and rising gas prices have done nothing except exacerbate the problem. Cars that get more mpg are good but have allowed vehicle miles traveled (VMT) to increase without commensurate gas tax revenue increases. The state and federal highway system is in desperate trouble. When I left CDOT, the commissioners were grappling with the unfunded replacement of the I-70 viaduct through Denver. It's a challenge to just keep the same amount of revenue flowing to the rural areas, which have more lane-miles, versus the metro area where VMT is much higher. I felt lucky to have CDOT complete their improvements to Lincoln Avenue during my term.

I'm also puzzled with "develop operations that are competitive with other resort systems." Routt County doesn't fund SST, other than contributing to the regional bus. Given the approximately 1/2 cent of sales tax spent on SST, by annual appropriation, it's a fine system compared to something like Aspen where 1.5 cents of sales tax come from a larger economic engine to fund the RFTA system, not to mention a huge grant for Bus Rapid Transit recently. SST is far better now than it was in the mid-90's when the average SST bus had been in service for 20 years, double the usual service life.

Those are small points in the scope of a commissioner's duties. I'd have Moose as my commissioner 10 times over outgoing Ms. Mitsch-Bush.


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