Q&A with Rifle City Council candidates
Three Rifle City Council seats will be up election on Nov. 7. All three councilor positions will serve four-year terms.
Among the candidates are incumbents Brian Condie and Chris Bornholdt, and challengers Tanya Perea Doose and Karen Roberts.
In October, the Colorado River Valley Chamber of Commerce hosted a Q&A session with the city council candidates, where topics such as affordable housing, Rifle’s efforts to preserve the vibrancy of the downtown area, crime management and a proposed sales tax increase were discussed. A detailed story on the candidate’s responses during the Q&A session can be found online at postindependent.com.
The Post Independent emailed out a short questionnaire to all four Rifle City Council candidates last week. Here are their written responses:
Do you support Proposition HH? Why or why not?
Condie: After a review of Prop HH I determined I would not support it. I found it contained promises that upfront seamed beneficial to Coloradans at the expense of government accountability.
Perea Doose: Proposition HH is a complex proposal to modify or reduce taxes and exemptions on multiple property types eliminating TABOR (Taxpayer Bill of Rights). Sounds great, however, this is a short-term relief specific to property owners. Disproportionately, this does not support Colorado renters as they will not get any benefits from TABOR as they had in years past. Passing it will eliminate thousands of dollars in state tax refunds which DOES NOT support renters that are a large part of our community in need. This impact is yet another systemic barrier for those in our community that rely on these tax refunds each year and equally to all of us who are taxpayers. It will allow the state to spend approximately $9 billion, without stipulations, instead of it going back to taxpayers. This is a money grab for the state to backfill budgetary shortfalls with programs and is not a viable long term solution. The ripple effect will lead to increased costs and taxes elsewhere, which will be passed on to our communities. It’s a cyclical cycle and this is a short-term solution that will lead to bigger problems with affordability in housing and other needs.
Roberts: I do not support Proposition HH due to the poor, unclear and confusing wording of the proposition itself. I read and reread this several times and although I am familiar with such documents I was still not totally comprehending what exactly I was voting for or against. I feel we, the public, deserve better-written documents in order to know where we actually stand on an issue or a proposition.
Which issue do you think impacts Rifle citizens the most, and how are you going to contribute to the solution?
Condie: The chaos in the world, nation and state seem to be the main topic of discussion I hear from our citizens today. While we have no direct control over these issues, we can focus on preserving our Western Colorado values of living peacefully with each other in our small part of the world. I will continue to promote unity and acceptance for everyone living in our city.
Perea Doose: As a citizen, I know that there are many issues that impact Rifle. I believe listening and understanding the issues we face as a community will drive collaboration for opportunities to create solutions. If elected councilwoman, my intention would be to first learn, listen, understand and follow the Rifle Strategic Plan that is outlined on the City’s website. Within this plan is the word “inclusivity,” which has become a popular buzzword in our world. As a Latina raised in a bilingual household, I understand deeply what it is to be excluded and being inclusive is inherent to the fabric of who I am. Inclusive is not exclusive, we are all equal. With our city being largely made up of Latinos and Hispanos, my voice will be a direct representation of our minority community and those facing barriers. My goal will be to engage our entire community as a bridge to fill any gaps by bringing cultures, languages, communities, education, entrepreneurship, small business, shared experiences and commonalities all together to strengthen the fabric of our community and be a voice of representation of all.
Roberts: Right now Rifle and the surrounding area’s biggest problem is housing. The best way that I might impact this is to do research and network with other similarly sized municipalities and see how they are working on this issue. I believe working on areas such as fee reductions through our building process and other concessions would encourage builders to build in Rifle. And although the free market for builders is difficult pricing, we could also encourage attainable housing. Attainable (vs affordable) meaning 33% of a person’s income to be used for housing. Right now the median income in Garfield County is $77,000.00. Affordable always sounds good but actual affordable housing per codes etc. comes with so many limitations and rules that have to be adhered to in order to buy or even rent that it is not always a good answer.
If you were elected into office, what would be your first priority?
Condie: I will congratulate the newly elected officials and then, if elected, prepare with the entire city council and city staff for the February strategic planning meetings buy making sure we are up to date on the issues facing the city; employee wellbeing, infrastructure and housing needs.
Perea Doose: If elected, I will be considered a rookie — no experience. We have two incumbent councilmen and another candidate that is on Planning & Zoning for the city. I believe I will bring a fresh perspective as an 18-year citizen of Rifle on what the true needs are of our community. Priorities for me would include a lot of listening, learning, reading, and understanding of what the council is working on and then incorporating what the true voices of our community needs are. Council work focuses on transportation, sewage, water, roads, infrastructure, and the city employees — which are all priorities. However, it will be in contrast to what the needs are of our community. Part of my priority will be listening to the needs of our community.
Roberts: At this time my priority would be to work on the housing issue and also to better acquaint myself with the City of Rifle budget. If we can streamline the budget there may be a way to increase salaries for city employees which includes our police department so we can hire, retain and increase the number of our peace officers. I would love to work with our economic development folks to find new ways for businesses to start in Rifle. Businesses we all want and need; homegrown businesses by local people.
What would your unique experiences and skill sets contribute to the city of Rifle? Why should residents vote for you?
Condie: I appreciate the unity of our diverse community and have a desire to preserve it. I think this should be the main qualification of any person running for public office. I wish to preserve and improve our collective unity and reject the bipartisan divide that seems to be infecting our nation and state.
Perea Doose: I am a third generation Coloradan and have lived in the Roaring Fork and Colorado River Valley for over 25 years, I grew up here. I see the vast change of our city landscape over the past 10-15 years with the growth, and often decline, of jobs, tourism, housing, farming, ranching and agriculture. Our city has had significant growth and with growth comes many different wants and needs. I am a thoughtful leader who will use my authentic voice to advocate for what is needed to make our community stronger. My strength is in supporting and advocating for growth in entrepreneurship and small business that drives increases in tax revenue that supports Rifle as a whole. Part of my focus will be bringing together our cultural diversity to support our community as a whole, fortifying our community to be a place of prosperity and a home for ALL who live in Rifle.
Roberts: My background has been in finance, contracts and procurement. I am comfortable and familiar with working on multimillion-dollar budgets and their process. I feel I will be an asset with these skills to help form and execute a better city budget and analyze the bid process the city uses. I currently write grants for small nonprofits and serve on the city planning commission which helps to give me a different perspective of how things function within the city government. I also feel I am a people person who likes to listen and then respond with action.
Councilor Chris Bornholdt did not reply to the Post Independent’s request to participate in the questionnaire.
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