Routt County commissioner candidates speak at Oak Creek Town Board meeting | SteamboatToday.com

Routt County commissioner candidates speak at Oak Creek Town Board meeting

Michael Schrantz

Jim "Moose" Barrows

— All four candidates for the Routt County Board of Commissioners spoke at the Oak Creek Town Board meeting Thursday night.

Jim "Moose" Barrows, Tim Corrigan, Tina Kyprios and Doug Monger got a chance to introduce themselves to Town Board members and South Routt residents attending the meeting.

Extra chairs were brought into the modestly sized room in town offices to accommodate those who came to hear the candidates and those who were interested in seeing the town's newest police officer, Ed Corriveau, be sworn in by Mayor Nikki Knoebel.

Barrows led off for the candidates and emphasized his connections to the ski industry in saying he would work to make sure the benefits of the ski area are spread out and that the interests of rural Routt County are accounted for.

Kyprios said she was running because the county needs a fresh perspective and vitality. She noted her experience as an accountant, auditor and as the owner of a location-neutral small business.

"The most important part of this job is to reach out and listen," Kyprios said.

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Incumbent Monger said the county has made a lot of headway in the 11 years he's been on the board. One of the main jobs of the commissioners, he said, is trying to understand the delivery of services, even during the recent downturn and the one in 2001, during both of which he was on the board.

After giving a short rundown of his history in South Routt, Corrigan elected to go straight to questions.

The first question was asked by Town Board member Josh Voorhis to all of the candidates: What is your opinion on oil and gas development within a town's watershed like that which is possible in Oak Creek with Quicksilver Resources owning leases in the area?

Barrows said it was sort of a moving question.

"Yes, we need to protect the watershed," he said. "We also need to protect personal property rights."

Barrows said some of the conditions the current commissioners have sought for well permitting are redundant with state conditions.

Corrigan said he supports all the conditions and the actions of the commissioners.

He said it looks like the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission is heading in the same direction as Routt County.

"The good news, from my view, is that most of that argument has been settled," Corrigan said. "We are close to having a template for that process. I think we need it. I think we can promote oil and gas development in a way that protects the health of Routt County."

Kyprios said that she doesn't know the specifics of where potential wells in Oak Creek's watershed could be located but that she has researched fracking in general. She said, in her research, when groundwater contamination was reported, it was from conventional vertical drilling. She said the failure rate for casings is between 0.01 percent and 0.03 percent.

Monger defended the work of the commissioners. The failure rate doesn't matter if it's your watershed that's affected, he said.

"I believe the best government is the one closest to you," Monger said, adding that duplicated conditions of approval were intentional to have a mechanism to enforce what the state may not.

In other Town Board action:

■ The Town Board approved a revocable permit for former Town Board member Dawn Smith’s half-finished fence that encroaches on a town right of way. Trustees Chuck Wisecup and Josh Voorhis voted against the permit, citing the long struggle against encroachments onto town property.

■ The supplemental budget with additional funds for police was passed unanimously.

■ Town Administrator Mary Alice Page-Allen presented the 2013 draft budget. Page-Allen said the town has received a petition from Scott Wedel and Kathy “Cargo” Rodeman to limit the management fees to be paid from the utility funds to the general fund in the draft budget to measurable expenses only or to send the matter before voters. The estimated cost of a special election is $3,000.

To reach Michael Schrantz, call 970-871-4206 or email mschrantz@SteamboatToday.com

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