Frosty Merriott: Experience where it counts
Ryan Summerlin March 25, 2014
In contrast to the youthful exuberance the three other candidates are bringing to the table in this election I choose to emphasize my experience. I will bring continuity to the Board so that we may carry on with the important business we have started as well as meeting the new challenges of Town government.
I have served the last six years as a Town Trustee. My experience in town government started when I served on the Carbondale Environmental Board right after moving here in 1998. I have also served on The Carbondale Economic Roadmap Group, Blue Ribbon Committee for Revenue Diversification, Town Tree Board and the Planning and Zoning Commission. I served on the River Valley Ranch Executive Board and am currently president of the 1101 Village Road Office HOA.
While serving as a Town Trustee for the last six years I served as liaison to the Parks and Rec Commission, the Chamber of Commerce (of which J Frost Merriott Inc CPA is a longtime member), the Town Tree Board, and GCE (Garfield Clean Energy). I was recognized by the Colorado Society of CPAs as a CPA who makes a difference in the lives of others in 2010 for my work in Town government and my work with state Sen. Gail Schwarz on reducing nighttime speeds in Wildlife Zones as well as working with CDOT on the very successful Wildlife Fencing Projects.
During the last six years our Trustee Board was very active; some things we accomplished, which I wholeheartedly supported, were endorsing no drilling in the Thompson Divide, undertaking a new Comp Plan/ Unified Development Code, the implementation of a Residential Green Building Code, first on the Western slope to implement a Commercial Energy and Building Efficiency Code, $8 million in improvements to Highway 133, which will include a roundabout and James Surls sculpture.
I have been a loyal supporter of CORE, CLEER and GCE by insuring that a portion of the energy mitigation funds we receive every year is in fact dedicated to energy mitigation measures like efficiencies and renewables. I am an enthusiastic supporter of First Fridays and the Town’s commitment to spend 1 percent of our budgets on our nonprofits. I have used my 40 years of experience as a Certified Public Accountant to help craft reasonable budgets for our Town while maintaining healthy reserves. We were the first community on the Western slope to implement the will of Colorado, Garfield County and Carbondale voters to carefully and responsibly implement both the medical and retail dispensing of marijuana.
When you re-elect me I will continue my pledge of maintaining Carbondale’s small character while still supporting sustainable growth. I will support a new grocery store without the PIF (public funding of improvements required by the developer) or unneeded required residential development also required by the developer. This will give a needed boost to our sales tax.
I will continue to work toward no drilling in the Thompson Divide, holding to my long held belief that in fact there are places too special to drill. I will work toward maintaining Carbondale’s leadership in the renewable energy and efficiency field. I support acquiring property for public space and downtown parking. I have creative ideas how to accomplish that. I will work to implement honest and realistic education to teens regarding the dangers of drugs and alcohol.
I will continue to emphasize our fiduciary responsibility to manage our Town’s two Enterprise Fund budgets as well as our General Fund budget. In fact, all our fund reserves (savings accounts) are very healthy according to our Independent CPA audit. They have been like this for the last six years. This is despite the fact that we have dipped into them during the last several years, mainly because of the recession, but also to fund our share of the Highway 133 improvements project. It is important to note that Carbondale’s contribution of over $1,000,000 to the Highway 133 Fund leveraged additional spending by Garfield County of over $1,000,000 and another $5,435,000 in CDOT funds. This project is going to be a game changer for Carbondale and well worth the investment.
I will do my dead-level best to lead us forward into the future of an economy built on tourism the arts and nonprofits, health care, and sustainability.
I challenge you to find anyone who loves this Town and Community more than I do and that will work harder to preserve its small town character while developing a sustainable economy and place to raise our families as Carly and I have. I have to mention that Shiloh is now attending my alma mater Louisiana Tech University after graduating from Roaring Fork High School.
Thank you in advance for your vote and support.