Meet the Rifle City Council candidates | PostIndependent.com

Meet the Rifle City Council candidates

Staff Report

Editor's note: As reported in last week's issue of The Citizen Telegram, seven people are running for four seats on the Rifle City Council in the Sept. 10 municipal election: Sara Brainard, Barbara Clifton, Steven Fuller, Dirk Myers, Wilma Paddock, Hans Parkinson and Randy Winkler (the only incumbent to seek re-election). To introduce voters to the candidates, The Citizen Telegram asked them to answer the following questions. As of press time, Brainard had not responded, and Clifton did not have a photo to include. Their answers are presented here in the order received.

Bio info: age, years in Rifle, profession, family members:

Barbara L. Clifton, 50 years old; lived in Rifle for 11 years; attorney; husband, Patrick Burwell, and daughters, Erin, 16, and Kayla, 14.

Why did you decide to run for Rifle City Council and what qualifications do you bring to the position? (Feel free to bring up issues here.)

I live and work in Rifle. My children go to school in Rifle. I am running for City Council because I have a vested interest in seeing the city of Rifle succeed. My qualifications include a member of the Rifle Planning and Zoning Commission, I am on the board of directors for two nonprofit organizations, Friends of the Rifle Animal Shelter and Vet Trans Inc. I am also a past president of the 9th Judicial District Bar Association.

Do you support or oppose the sales tax measure for the Rifle Recreation and Community Center that is also on the election ballot? Why or why not?

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I will vote for the sales tax measure to fund the Rifle recreation center. I believe that a tax of $0.74 on $100 is a reasonable cost for the benefits offered by a recreation center. The recreation center will not only provide the adults and younger children with exercise classes and activities, it will give the middle- and high school-aged kids a desperately needed place to meet with their friends.

Assuming the sales tax measure is passed, however, it is critical the recreation center be developed in a financially responsible manner. For example, I believe that there should be a large contingency for construction cost overages and a significant reserve set up for repairs and replacements so the city will not be asked to fund these types of items. Overall, I am excited about the prospect of a Rifle recreation center.

Bio info: age, years in Rifle, profession, family members:

Dirk Myers, 59; two years in Rifle, four years in Garfield County, 40 years of visiting and traveling to the area. I plan on retiring in Rifle. I am currently owner and president of Four Rivers Properties, property manager for Bow Tie Partners Aspen and general manager of Bow Tie Cinemas Movieland in Basalt.

Family: I live with my fiancé, Theresa, and have four children (all grown): Sage Myers Newkirk, 33; Ethan Myers, 22; Jacob Myers, 20; Hayley Myers, 18; and four grandchildren.

Why did you decide to run for Rifle City Council and what qualifications do you bring to the position? (Feel free to bring up issues here.)

I am running for City Council this year seeing the opportunity to help make the community and city a better place. I believe that, at this point in my life, it is important to give back to community, and public service is an important way to do so. I am also a fiscal conservative, and the city will need a firm hand on finances and projects during the next few years.

I have been successful in my career and can bring that experience to the city. I am responsive to the concerns and problems of the citizens and firmly believe that neighborhoods are the cornerstone of any city. We need to finish the residential developments that were started and never finished and not start any new ones until those are complete. I am pro-business and pro-downtown and have achieved two major downtown revitalization projects in Albany and Schenectady, N.Y. I want to see Rifle continue with downtown revitalization and be the "hub" of activity for the city.

In the end, it is all about having a vision of Rifle as a place ourselves and our children and grandchildren will be proud of to live, work and play. Experience, vision and commitment is why I decided to run for city council.

Do you support or oppose the sales tax measure for the Rifle Recreation and Community Center that is also on the election ballot? Why or why not?

I fully support a recreation center. I do not support raising the sales tax to do so. Becoming the highest taxed city in Garfield County is not something Rifle needs to hang their hat on. It is detrimental to the citizens of Rifle, existing businesses we have now and also to future business in the city.

With county assessments declining next year and Rifle's sale tax, which has been level at best, the next few years will be a fiscal challenge for all of us. We need every advantage we can get and a higher sales tax is not one of them. I would, in fact, propose city legislation to "cap" the sales tax over the next 20 years in incremental amounts.

My vision for a new recreation center is downtown. A multi-story mixed use facility combining a recreation center, retail, offices and housing. It would be financed through the traditional paths of mortgages and bonds, and the building would be self-sustaining through current city appropriations, memberships, fees, grants and rents. A collaborative effort of public and private entities. It can be done.

Bio info: age, years in Rifle, profession, family members:

Hans G. Parkinson; 55 years old; have lived in the Rifle area for the past 13 years; own and operate an oil field services business specializing in water hauling and traffic control. I have been married to Michelle for 28 years and have six children (two boys, four girls) and 12 grandchildren.

Why did you decide to run for Rifle City Council and what qualifications do you bring to the position? (Feel free to bring up issues here.)

I decided it was time to get involved and bring my perspective on issues to the Rifle City Council. Taxes seem to be out of control, local contractors are shut out of city contracts and tax dollars seem to be wasted on frivolous items. I just want to make Rifle a better city to live and work in. I am a business owner and on the Rifle Gap Land Co. board, and I think my financial experience would help the city spend tax revenues wisely and appropriately.

Do you support or oppose the sales tax measure for the Rifle Recreation and Community Center that is also on the election ballot? Why or why not?

I oppose the sales tax measure for the following reasons: We currently pay 8.15 percent sales tax, which is extremely high, and to raise the sales tax to 8.89 percent is just too much. To purchase a $300 item, we will be paying an additional $26.67 in sales tax. The weak economy right now does not justify going further in debt to finance a recreation center. I am all for recreation, but adding it on to the sales tax is the wrong way to pay for it. We need to find an alternative way to pay for it. I worked for a recreation district in Utah that was funded by oil impact monies. Everyone needs recreation, we need a better economy, more jobs and better paying jobs. Many people had to take pay cuts to keep their jobs. Now is not the time to raise taxes.

Bio info: age, years in Rifle, profession, family members:

Randy Winkler; 55 years old; moved to Rifle in 2002 when my wife, Jody, and I purchased Micro Plastics; one son, Max, and one daughter, Kara, plus one grandson.

Why did you decide to run for Rifle City Council and what qualifications do you bring to the position? (Feel free to bring up issues here.)

When we purchased Micro Plastics from the previous owners, Urban and Jeannine Quint, there was an affiliation with the Community Newspapers of Colorado board of directors that came with the business. I went to their next monthly meeting and was voted on as a board member. I soon learned from this very distinguished group what "giving back to your community" meant.

Since then, I've been involved with many other groups and boards, chamber of commerce, planning and zoning, Rifle Creek Golf Course, Downtown Development Authority, current president of the Rifle Rotary and current member of the Rifle City Council.

All of these groups, and many others not mentioned, are what make Rifle such a great city. I think anyone in any of these groups would agree that "giving back to your community" is the reason they give their time.

Do you support or oppose the sales tax measure for the Rifle Recreation and Community Center that is also on the election ballot? Why or why not?

I support the people of Rifle to decide if there should be a tax increase. Sports have always been a huge part of my life. My dad was a coach and I grew up in gyms, swimming pools and on baseball fields. The idea of such a great facility in Rifle excites me, if it can be built and maintained responsibly for years to come.

Bio info: age, years in Rifle, profession, family members:

Steven Fuller; 36 years old; 7 years in Rifle; teacher at Rifle High School.

Why did you decide to run for Rifle City Council and what qualifications do you bring to the position? (Feel free to bring up issues here.)

I have lived in many different places, and other than my family's house where I grew up, Rifle is the one place that has ever felt like home. Over the past seven years, I have enjoyed working in Garfield School District Re-2 and surveying the education system from a variety of different angles. A master's degree in administration, plus individual work in my own classroom, combined with extensive involvement in associations, task forces, cohorts and committees at the school, district and state levels have all served to build my interest in, and prepare me for, my next step in organizational leadership. Rifle is a great place to live and as we go into the future, I am hopeful that it will only get better.

3. Do you support or oppose the sales tax measure for the Rifle Recreation and Community Center that is also on the election ballot? Why or why not?

I do indeed. The advantages to building this facility and the good it will provide the city far outweigh the nominal increase. I believe that investing in our community will provide the highest and most positive returns.

Bio info: age, years in Rifle, profession, family members:

Wilma Paddock, 58 years old, married to Mike for 35 years and have three children: Jason (Stephanie) Paddock, Michelle (Scott) Kling and Sherry (Trent) Sanders, and four grandchildren. I am the assistant director of administration for the Garfield County Public Library District and have been with the district for seven years.

Why did you decide to run for Rifle City Council and what qualifications do you bring to the position? (Feel free to bring up issues here.)

I decided to run for City Council because I love Rifle and am very pleased with the progress they have made and hopefully will continue into the future. When the library district approached the city to help with the design of the new Rifle library, the city staff and board were so easy to work with and the plan that came together was wonderful. It was incredible for me to be a small part of a process that made such a vision come to fruition. My qualifications are my governmental finance background and community involvement. I have overseen the library district's finances since they became a district in 2007. I have seen the ups and downs of tax revenues and understand the need for multi-year planning. I have sat on the Downtown Development Authority board for two years and on the parks and recreation advisory board for just over a year.

Do you support or oppose the sales tax measure for the Rifle Recreation and Community Center that is also on the election ballot? Why or why not?

I do support the tax for the new recreation center. Ever since I moved to Rifle, there has been talk of building a recreation center and the needs it would serve in the city. I think there are many challenges to this project, but it is possible and can be accomplished with careful oversight of the City Council and staff.