It will be District 3’s turn to be chair for the Board of County Commissioners. You will be named chair next week on January 3, 2017. What leadership style do you have?
What changes will we see with you at the helm of the board? I only anticipate one change; the removal of the time limit for public comment. As a public servant, I strongly believe that if an individual takes time to attend a Commissioner meeting and wishes to make comments, they should be allowed to speak without a time limit – as long as everyone who attends receives the same amount of time. With that said, there are specific agenda times for such things as public hearings which should be respected. If a constituent has something that will cause a lengthy dialogue, I would respectfully request they schedule time on a future agenda.
What do you feel is some of the major accomplishments for you so far as a county commissioner? What do you find the most challenging?
The 2017 budget is balanced, with a small surplus and we have hired an excellent County Manager. In addition, we continue reviewing and amending County policies and procedures.
You were the Planning Director for the county. How long were you the Planning Director and has that influenced how you research and see issues brought before the board?
I was Planning Director from September 2007 until taking my seat as commissioner in January of 2015. I do believe my role in the Planning and Zoning Department positively influenced my ability to research issues. Commissioners need to have a working understanding about a lot of things, and my previous role definitely shortened that learning curve. The experience in dealing with the public as Planner has also transferred positively to my role as a commissioner.
You served our country in theAir Force. How long were you enlisted and what did you do?
I enlisted on December 12, 1980. My job was a Morse Code Operator, which required a top secret SCI security clearance. In 1981, shortly after being stationed at San Vito Air Force Base, Italy, I was selected for additional internal training, becoming a Radio Direction Finding Operator. I was promoted to the rank of E-5 (Staff Sargent) and performed in that capacity until receiving an honorable discharge in November 1986.
Our county leadership now has several who were in the military including our county manager Lee Staab who was in the Army, and our newest County Commissioner, Rich Cimino who was in the Air Force. Is this an asset for the county?
What strengths do you feel that each of the commissioners bring to the board as you enter into 2017? Do you feel the board is balanced right now?
I do believe the Board will be very balanced and diverse in January. One of the positives is that all three commissioners are current small business owners in the county, which gives us a unique common interest.
Diversity also becomes apparent between us with my past enlisted military experience, several years of work in the financial industry, and involvement in the county at different levels over the years. This combined with my small business capabilities provides experience and knowledge that is beneficial in my role as Grand County commissioner.
Commissioner Linke is a former teacher. He also operates a long time generational ranch and brings a very necessary view of the agricultural community, as well as his extensive business skills to the commissioner job.
Being a former Air Force Lt. Colonel, Commissioner Elect Cimino has an extensive leadership background. His ownership in a local broadband company, and financial planning knowledge will bring valuable perspective to the board.
All three of us are very different; with that, I truly believe that every decision will be based on mutual respect for each other, and always made taking into consideration the best interests of all Grand County residents.
What are some of the biggest issues facing the county as a whole right now?
Grand County has several large issues we are currently dealing with; Infrastructure, business growth and regulations that affect this growth, affordable housing, large events in the Fraser Valley and Short Term Rentals are just a few.
A main concern of mine is the fact that Grand County has spent millions of dollars paving county roads over many years, and these roads are deteriorating. It is critical that we do not lose this huge capital investment and we maintain our existing pavement.
US Highway 40 is a vital transportation route that needs widened in some areas and shoulders in others. Byers Canyon needs safety work. I am Grand County’s representative on the Regional Transportation Planning Group, and am working to keep US Highway 40 improvements on the funding horizon. There is little money and many projects, but I will continue to push for the necessary finances to do the work.
We must continue to support our existing businesses, and avoid overregulation that makes it difficult or expensive for businesses to operate or move to Grand County.
Short Term Rentals is a major issue facing our county. It is estimated that we have between 5,000 and 10,000 units countywide. We are currently working on a solution that will continue to allow this economic benefit to the county, while ensuring the neighbors are protected from the negative impacts.
Is it hard to balance the needs of District 3 with the needs of the entire county?
Not really. With all three commissioners being elected by all voters within Grand County, I have found that there is a common understanding of countywide needs. Although it is my responsibility to bring forth issues from District 3, we act as a Board to discuss, evaluate and eventually decide if any action is to be taken. I believe this unites us as Grand County Commissioners, and creates a collective goal to accomplish what is needed countywide, not just in individual districts.
Going forward into 2017, do you have plans to renew the weekly Commissioner article or to do more on social media? How do you plan to keep your constituents involved and informed of the issues?
This has been discussed by us and the manager recently, and I do support some form of additional communication. There will be further conversation on what that should be, if anything, in January. We encourage ideas on this. If you have thoughts on how you think we can improve communication, please send them to our common email address which is: [email protected]