Oak Creek Town Board asks for 1 percent sales tax increase | SteamboatToday.com

Oak Creek Town Board asks for 1 percent sales tax increase

Voters to decide on Ordinance 613 in November

Nicole Inglis

— Voters in Oak Creek will decide on a 1 percent sales tax increase this November to support the town's police department.

At its Thursday meeting, the Oak Creek Town Board approved, 4-0, the language of Ordinance 613, which would raise the town sales tax rate from 3 to 4 percent. The funds from the potential tax, which the ordinance estimates will generate about $39,000 in its first full fiscal year, will be used to fund the Oak Creek Police Department.

Trustee Wendy Gustafson said the extra funding was "imperative" for the department, but she thinks it has only a 50/50 chance of passing.

Trustee Bernie Gagne agreed.

"It's very important," he said. "We're looking at declining revenues across the board, and we've got an increased burden on law enforcement. We need additional code enforcement."

The board said the funds likely would be used to pay for a new officer. The department currently consists of officers Lance Dunaway and Eileen Rossi. Rossi is part time.

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"I'm hopeful," said Trustee Chuck Wisecup, who also is chief of the Oak Creek Fire Protection District. "I think it's our best bet at getting our police department the funding they need."

During the meeting the board also voted, 4-0, to approve the wording of Ordinance 614, a citizen-led initiative to ban medical marijuana centers and grow operations in the town. That ordinance will be on the November ballot, as well.

Woodford appointed

After a nearly two-month process, the Town Board appointed a new member, Wesley Woodford, in a 3-1 vote. Mayor Nikki Knoebel opposed the appointment.

Woodford has retired from a career in construction, public works and design.

The vote came after the board first voted on Dave Maris, who was the first applicant for the seat. His vote had been tabled for two meeting because of a tie vote on June 23 and then because he was absent July 14.

Woodford's letter of interest was submitted July 22.

After a brief discussion on whether the board should vote between the two candidates or first vote on Maris, as the previous tabled vote dictated, Trustee Bernie Gagne asked the board to address the tabled vote.

"I believe Dave was here first and it is proper order to conduct old business first," he said. "Due to the fact this has been on the table for quite a while, I respectfully make a motion we appoint Dave Maris to the vacancy on the board."

The board voted, 3-1, to reject his appointment to the board, with Gagne voting for Maris and Wendy Gustafson, Chuck Wisecup and Knoebel opposing. Johrene Myers-Story and Dawn Smith were absent.

The board seat that Woodford was appointed to minutes later will expire next April. It will then head to the voters during the town's municipal election.

Maris said he likely wouldn't run for the seat because he felt the board "made up their own rules" by not reopening the seat to applications once more after he was not appointed.

"I'm somewhat disenchanted with the board right now," he said. "It's a job that doesn't pay … and with a lack of rules, maybe it's not for me."

In other action, the Oak Creek Town Board:

■ Approved, 4-0, a donation of $350 to the Oak Creek Labor Day Committee for the town’s annual celebration. Representing the committee, Judy Deming appeared before the board asking for any help with costs. Although she asked for $1,000, the board approved the amount they had previously budgeted, which was $350.

■ Approved, 4-0, the application of senior water rates to residents living outside of town. The resolution will take effect in October.

■ Approved, 4-0, a resolution for an inter-governmental agreement with Routt County to hold a coordinated November election with two Oak Creek ballot questions regarding a medical marijuana ban and a sales tax increase.

■ Approved, 4-0, placing Ordinance 614, a ban of medical marijuana centers and grow operations, on the November ballot. The ordinance was a citizen-led initiative.

■ Approved, 4-0, a policy that would charge people hauling water $50 for 2,700 gallons.

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