Town Candidate Introduction – Week 2

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This is a 3-part series. The Grand Gazette is profiling Town Council candidates on March 5, 12 and 19. Mail-in ballots will be mailed on March 16 and will also ask town residents whether or not they wish to lift the ban on marijuana-related business.

Questions this week are –
1. How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process in the Town?

2. Last week, at least one of you mentioned affordable housing as something Kremmling needs to address in upcoming years. What are steps the Town could do to encourage new housing and/or development in Kremmling?

3. Many have asked about the future viability of the Kremmling Police Department. Would you consider dissolving it and contracting with the Grand County Sheriff’s Office to patrol full-time? What other options are there? Please explain.

4. If Kremmling’s residents decide to lift the ban on marijuana retail sales, what would you recommend to the Board for licensing and regulation?

Jason Wikberg
My plan to involve residents in the decision making in the Town, is to support what we basically have in place. Whether we speak with residents on a personal basis, or people come and address the Board with concerns or ideas, we take all that into account, and have open discussions before decisions are made.

Affordable housing is a tough issue, as housing in general is an issue. There is limited land available in and around Kremmling, and as the saying goes “They are not making any more land.” Being in the construction business all my life, I have seen the cost of building substantially rise over the past 15 years. Ideas from people for the Town to assist with affordable housing have been anything from forgoing water/and sewer tap fees, the Town purchasing land and essentially giving it to a developer, some type of tax incentives, and simple promotions as Kremmling being a more affordable place to live. In my opinion, the first main hurdle that needs to be addressed is the long, cumbersome, and expensive process of developing or annexing property in and around Kremmling. Our current regulations in our code book, I believe, were once just basically copied from other municipalities.

I believe we could simplify and streamline the process to make it more affordable and enticing for someone to develop and build. Size matters, as in the cost of land, and another possibility could include smaller lot size requirements for affordable housing.

We have had a great police department for as long as I have lived here. Yes, we are experiencing some issues at this time, but I am confident we will get through the current issues and continue forward.

If the ban on marijuana in Kremmling is voted to be removed, there will certainly be numerous things that will have to be addressed. If this were to happen, we have discussed as a board, we would plan on having several open meetings for input from residents. I don’t have any specific recommendations on licensing or regulations at this time. I am in a wait-and-see mode, for the outcome.

Peter Moschonas

  1. By posting the Town of Kremmling board meeting agenda in the Grand Gazette newspaper, town website, social media, meet and greets, and having a coffee twice a month at Big Shooters with town residents. We need more “eye to eye” inner reactions with people. We want to encourage residents to attend the Town of Kremmling board meetings, and the best way to do that is to engage with the community offsite.
  2. First, we need to address what is affordable housing. Buying a house that is in the 300’s and 400’s is not affordable in a community that is unable to find good pay at work to purchase high-priced homes. In the past, the Town of Kremmling turned down the opportunity to work with a development project but denied the concessions for sidewalks and road development; there are more alternatives to help with the Kremmling drainage issue by utilizing methods like “curb and gutter”. My background in construction management brings tools to help develop alternatives to costs and simultaneously bring more housing opportunities to the community. Eventually, our neighboring towns will start moving to Kremmling as they will have a population “squeezing” issue. The steps the Town can make to encourage new housing to accommodate current and future residents is to be open-minded to new or alternative methods, accountability to Town promises and policies, networking and building better relationships with builders and property owners, and have Kremmling’s town borders expand – which can lead to more jobs, businesses, and opportunity for all.
  3. The Town of Kremmling looked into having the Grand County Sheriffs Department take over patroling Kremmling, and the revenue cost would be greater than funding our own police department. The Sheriffs Department has had major problems for years and if we move to have our police force come only from the Sheriffs Department we’d be losing the one-on-one presence that helps the community (as well as our police force) to be more connected and attentive. Separating our community and our police force will create greater divides.

    No. We need our own Police Department with our Chief of Police, Jamie Lucas reinstated. The Town of Kremmling Board, Town Manager, and residents need to stand by him. Jamie Lucas moved across the county for Kremmling and was handed a mess, we owe him the opportunity
    to do what we (Kremmling) hired him to do. His heart his here.
  4. My vote is not to lift the ban on marijuana. However, if it were lifted there are State laws and regulations
    in place we can rely on; but, as I stand on not lifting the ban I would propose making it more difficult to sell marijuana in the Town of Kremmling to help prevent cannabis commerce to lay claim in our community.

Jim Miller

1.Town board meets at 6pm every third Wednesday of the month at the Town Hall meeting room (which used to be an auto repair garage). Town board meetings need a change of venue to the conference room at the Town Square, where the original Kremmling Town Hall once stood. It’s more comfortable, welcoming, technology friendly, and has better parking. Plus if there is call for an executive session, the citizens have a warm place to wait. The Town Board needs to be more considerate of the citizens of Kremmling and reconsider a better day or time for a town board meeting, a time that will see more citizen input. I also propose to the town board that we roll back to having two meetings a month, and consider one meeting to be a public discussion meeting or work session meeting. Finally, Town board meetings need to be streamed live and recorded for future viewing or listening, and monitored for citizen comments during live sessions. The best step in transparency and getting residents involved with town issues is to stop holding meetings in hiding.

2. Encouraging housing development in Kremmling requires more industry or businesses to afford the public services required for new housing development. The concept of “Curb and Gutter” is not a fair building guideline considering many existing residences don’t have curbs and gutters. Every development deserves the same equal review, and compromise needs to be the rule. Kremmling isn’t going to shrink, its going to grow. More residents mean more products sold, more services used, and more Sales Tax revenue for the town to use on improvements and upgrades. Kremmling has a housing issue now. There are residents living in the hotels and RV Parks in and around town. Town code (9.16.120) makes it a violation to be homeless in Kremmling, so it’s visibly unknown how Kremmling is with housing. By Town Code (2.40.120) any officer (Town Manager, Clerk, Chief of Police, Mayor, and Trustees) must reside in the town limits of Kremmling. The current board has made exceptions to this code due to a lack of housing in town for new officers. The town board (with Planning and Zoning) need to consider the housing shortage for employees of the Town, and set an example. I also believe the “Mobile Home” ordinance needs reviewed and modified, considering Mobile Homes are the original model of affordable housing. My fear in the town board not being proactive about housing in the near future are the properties just outside of the fences of Kremmling are going to develop into a second home development and not serve the citizens of the Kremmling area.

3. When contracting to the Grand County Sheriff’s office was last presented to the Town Board of Kremmling in early 2018, they offered one patrol officer from the summit of Rabbit Ears Pass to Byers Canyon for patrolling coverage of Kremmling. During this discussion period, residents of Grand Lake (who had a Police Department at one time) and the Chief of Police of Granby at the time expressed their opinion that Kremmling keep its Police Department. From people I have talked to, the confidence level of the the Grand County Sheriff’s department is not at a level that warrants this change. Such a contract would also need approval from the County Commissioners, and recently concern was expressed that Grand County Sheriff’s department needs
to spend more time focusing on the more populated centers of the county.

For the sovereignty of Kremmling, I think it would be an incredible injustice to dissolve the Police Department of Kremmling, let alone serious waste of the funds already invested to upgrade and improve the department’s reputation and processes. I do believe until the general election in November, the on-going investigation of the Chief of Police is over, and bad “Big City” media – its going to be next to impossible to have a police officer actually want to work with the threat of being “Brady Listed.” While the State Constitution is clear about what Kremmling can and can’t do as a town, and tries to give guidance on the type of qualifications required for any position, it gives power over the governance of Kremmling to nobody else but the citizens of Kremmling. Per recent events, an outside government agency telling Kremmling how to deal with our Chief of Police is a direct violation of the Home Rule in the State Constitution and threatening its citizens that it won’t handle any cases from Kremmling is a violation of the 5th, 6th and 14th Amendments of the US Constitution. If you elect me as
a Town Trustee of Kremmling, on day one I make an oath that says “to support the Constitution of the United States and the State Constitution” and in a town that has large population of veterans living in it, I’m going to respect their service to this country and serve to protect what they fought for.

According to Kremmling’s history and backed by the Town Code, KPD’s role was to handle Kremmling’s Code and Ordinances, and if there was a criminal situation the KPD would call on the Colorado State Patrol for backup/assist. Previous to this Chief’s policies, the town had a Marshal, who could deputize citizens as needed. Of course I think KPD can do better, and it is 2020; the technology is available and within budget to make
a “dummy cop car” rather smart.

What needs to change is a check and balance on the department and officers. There needs to be a tracking system of how many tickets an officer is writing, how many the town court can’t rule on, and a genuine complaint journal. As mentioned last week, a stronger municipal court system is necessary not just in the current situation, but in the future. I believe before KPD hires any more employees, it needs a “Citizen’s Advocate,” someone who can explain tickets, how the police work, explain code warnings, recommend citations as needed, but most importantly be a civilian not an officer. Just as the Town Code requires officers of Kremmling to be residents, so should be the rule for the town’s legal representation (or at least live in the area). I also believe the budget needs have funds available for the town board to hire its own independent investigator when situations with Kremmling personnel arise, which will keep political motivations out of the equation and gives the Town board an unbiased view of the situations.

4. For starters, I personally don’t want a “pot shop” in Kremmling. Kremmling’s ordinances against the sale of medical and recreational marijuana are against State of Colorado Constitution. My issue with this ban is not what it bans but it is a blanket ban and it sets the wrong impression to any business wanting to start-up a new product business in town, and it sets up for a potential for other products to be banned, when it needs to be considered on a case by case situation. The “ban” question merely asks should the Town Board lift the ban and re-craft the ordinances, and does not ask if Kremmling should open such an establishment. My recommendation to the board if the ban lifts by popular vote – is we need to listen to the people of Kremmling for recommendations

David Sammons

  1. Except for things like salaries and some personnel issues, everything the Board does is in an open public meeting. People should come discuss things directly with the Board and show up to Public Hearings. They can also write a letter to enter into the public comment.
  2. Kremmling really needs to review and revise Zoning regulations, Subdivision regulations and the Mobile Home Park Code. We plan to start having workshops and public hearings to make sure we are all thinking the same and making it easier for not only our current residents, but also potential new businesses and development.
  3. Kremmling needs its own Police Department. I think one of the biggest responsibilities of the Board is the safety of our people and we will fix this.
  4. I might have an opinion as a private citizen, but I wouldn’t recommend anything as a Board member because I want to hear from the public first. The citizens will have the final say on any licensing or regulations.

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