Election Guide 2016: Bob Dapper Q&A
October 16, 2016
Bio: Bob Dapper has been a Routt County resident for 45 years. He and his wife, Leslie, have two adults children, two dogs and one horse. He is owner of Routt County Landscaping and director of mountain operations for Christy Sports, LLC. Dapper is also co-founder and vice president of the Steamboat Mountain Village Partnership and has served as president of Crime Stoppers from 2006 to 2016. He is also co-founder of the Steamboat Nordic Council and served as president of Humble Ranch Riding and Therapy Center for 17 years.
Q. Is a shared law enforcement facility in the best interests of all the citizens of Routt County. If it isn't, why not? If it is, how can we get there?
A. Yes. I believe a shared law enforcement facility is in the best interest of all parties involved. A shared facility is fiscally the right move and will help to keep the cost down as we move forward. The opportunity to work together with the police department will provide better service and better communication to all. How to get it done seems like basic business principles to me. First, agree philosophically on what we are trying to achieve. Agree on architectural guidelines and costs to both parties. Set strategic timelines for how, when and then make them happen. Accountability on this project is paramount and the citizens need to know what that looks like and how the flow of responsibility flows.
Q. Does Routt County have a role to play in meeting demand for workforce or attainable housing? If so, what are some of the measures the county should be taking?
A. Yes. The county's role in work force housing in my opinion, is to be a facilitator and a listener during the process. The Affordable Housing Work Group represents and is led by a citizens group with the support of the county and the city. This group has asked to be allowed to submit all their recommendations before the county or city weigh in on it. At that point the necessary discussions would take place.
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Q. As a commissioner, what would you do to support economic development in Routt County?
A. I support economic growth in Routt County. First, I would ensure we are taking care of the assets we already have and look for continued growth within expectations in those areas. The airport is one of our most valued assets, and we need to continue to look for opportunities to utilize it. Right now broadband is a solid opportunity. Enhancing what we have and bringing it more up to date and investing in this technology is a key to our future. It allows the citizens and location-neutral home owners to operate successfully here in the Valley. It's important to remember location neutral brings significant tax revenue to our coffers while having a somewhat limited impact on our infrastructure.
Q. Can Routt County government strike a balance between the goal of protecting existing energy jobs in Northwest Colorado and at the same time preparing for a future that relies more and more on alternative sources of energy? What specific strategies would you pursue?
A. No. Because it's difficult to say that "Routt County government" can strike this balance. So much of our energy challenges come from a state and federal level as well as reduced energy demand, which we have no control over. We can work diligently with the state as some of our commissioners are, to continue coal mining while investigating alternative environmentally responsible energy resources. My strategies or direction would be to preserve what we can of our current energy resources and lobby with the state to help with the retooling and options for what will turn the lights on if coal is gone. It's easy to say coal is dirty. We all want the cleanest environment we can get but what is going to replace it? We do not have abundant gas reserves nor do we have pipelines coming into Northwest Colorado. I believe if the government is going to impose new regulations after we have met all their requests they need to help get us to the next step.
Q. Would you support lifting the moratorium on marijuana grow operations and/or retail marijuana businesses in unincorporated Routt County? Why or why not?
A. Yes. I would consider dropping the moratorium on grow operations as stated because I think it may be a redundant exercise. If dropped, we would still have regulations and oversight on how those grow operations work. As far as retail goes, I like our current set-up with growing in the county and retailing in the metro areas as voted on by the citizens. They have expressed that it should be treated like alcohol with similar oversight.
Q. Residents of luxury ranch subdivision in Colorado have been successful in retaining agricultural property valuations, even for building lots under multi-million dollar home. Do you approve or disapprove and do the ag operations on these luxury ranch developments fit the original intent of keeping property taxes on working farms and ranches low?
A. Yes. I think when it comes to land use it is always good to see what the rest of the state is doing and learn from it. With that said, remember the regulations on ag status are determined by the county assessor with the state statues having to be followed. I would say that if a property owner is meeting the stated qualifications they are in compliance — small house or big house. As with many topics, the original intent is a matter of interpretation and therefore the state and the assessor will need to review. The state is also working on getting clarity on this topic.
Q. Despite the willingness of Peabody Energy to pay the taxes it owes to Routt County, Treasurer Brita Horn has maintained she is not legally able to accept the taxes without also collecting the payment of interest and fess owed by Peabody. How do you view this impasse and how would you propose to resolve it?
A. Whether or not our treasury can or cannot accept partial payment is a legal question our attorneys will need to sort out. I think the whole process has been a great example of bad communication across the board. I think the commissioners and counsel with our treasurer need to sit in a room and not leave until we have a viable solution. I respect the treasure's job description, but when things come to an impasse, it's time to sit down with the stakeholders and get this done. Once again, accountability to the citizen's is paramount.
Q. As the population of Routt County becomes more and more Steamboat-centric, how do you propose to strike the proper balance between the needs of the county's outlying areas with the population density surrounding Steamboat?
A. Steamboat based land use plan has been designated to be a growth area while the county has been designated through the master plan to be more open space and promote agriculture. The needs of the county are not always in harmony with the needs of Steamboat. We need to work together, but independently, to assure the best for both entities. Something I am going to do when elected is to have a monthly friendly breakfast meeting with the City Council to generally discuss what both parties are doing and what's on everyone's mind. I think this will bring us closer together and provide a casual setting to share thoughts of how we look ahead to solve potential issues while developing a stronger relationship with the City Council.
Q. In your opinion, what's the most important unfunded road project in Routt County? And why?
A. Janet Hruby, director of road and bridge, has done a good job of using quantifiable information to rank our roads and to show usages. This information is key in helping the commissioners to then make the appropriate decisions. It is clearly not a subjective call.
Q. Why are you seeking public office and what qualifies you to serve as Routt County commissioner?
A. I am seeking public office because I care and I want to be a part of the decisions effecting our future generations. I bring a strong 35-year business acumen as a director of mountain operations from Christy Sports, where a small team of us took a business of 10 stores and grew it to 46. I have lived here for 45 years and have been a community leader and understand the desires and needs of the community. I have been soccer commissioner, co-founder of the Mountain Village Partnership, president of Humble Ranch Riding and Therapy Center, president of Crime Stoppers as well as Holy Name Parish Council and co-founder of Steamboat Nordic Council. I am a leader, a decision maker and a strong consensus builder while holding myself and those around me accountable. I also bring a lack of bias, a preconceived agenda, ideology or my own opinion imposed on others. When I find that I have an opinion, I work my hardest to look at the other side to be sure I'm being objective. I bring a strong characteristic of ethics and judgment to this important position in Routt County.