It is clear now that the financial crisis is not only on Wall Street. It has also hit the hamlets, verdant valleys and majestic mountains of Ouray County. The local crisis here will not affect the stock market or the nation’s financial system, but it will significantly affect our county services. And, some potential budget cuts may affect the quality of life in the county.
Many of us are watching the national election with greater interest and concern than usual because the success the country has in dealing with the financial crisis and several other major problems may well hinge on who is the next president. We should approach the election of our next two county commissioners with the same intensity because, for Ouray County residents, this election also has very important consequences.
The current BOCC is doing its level best to prepare for budget shortfalls and decreased revenues. By keeping the public informed, proactively examining each line item in the budget and going back to the public for a sales tax increase after last year’s defeat of the Use Tax and Bond Issue, this BOCC is demonstrating leadership, sound fiscal judgment and political courage. This is what citizens should expect, but, frankly, it is remarkable in view of the fact that all this is emerging just in front of the election.
One commissioner, Heidi Albritton, is running for re-election. Commissioner Don Batchelder is term limited. It would be easy for either of these commissioners to avoid dealing with unpopular and difficult issues and leave the mess for the next BOCC. Instead, they are confronting the problem.
This is one reason why I am supporting Commissioner Heidi Albritton for re-election. There are others. As a member of the Citizens Strategic Initiative and Accountability Committee, the Ouray County Study Group (appointed by the BOCC to study land use and fiscal planning) and the Planning Commission, I have had the opportunity to work with Ms. Albritton for several years. I have seen, at the working level, her sound judgment, fairness and capability to address and successfully resolve complicated issues. Her accessibility, willingness to help and ability to work together with other commissioners, staff, volunteer committees, boards, and the public have been clearly demonstrated. We need to re-elect Heidi Albritton to the BOCC.
And, we need to elect candidate Lynn Padgett to the Ouray County BOCC. Most of us rely on campaign literature or perhaps a debate or a quick hello to size up candidates for important office. Just as I have worked with Commissioner Albritton, I have also worked with Ms. Padgett for several years on the Planning Commission and the Ouray County Study Group. My confidence in Ms. Padgett is based on her competent work and commitment to these important volunteer boards. Lynn Padgett has clearly demonstrated her passion for preserving our county’s values and assets.
But it takes more than passion to withstand the almost constant pressures on our revenues, land use code and services. It takes experience, intellect, understanding of the issues, and management skills. I have seen Lynn bring to the table, time and again, her expertise on land use, information technology, ability to work with people, and to listen to diverse ideas. She has been closely involved as a volunteer and appointed official in county business, issues and problems for several years.
She has spoken out on challenges to the land use code and will bring to the BOCC progressive management techniques and fiscal responsibility. Her involvement in our most pressing and difficult problems is not new. Lynn’s presence and statements at critical public hearings, BOCC and Planning Commission meetings are not just because she is running for office. She has been engaged and directly involved in county business for several years and has a keen understanding of the county’s problems and opportunities.
These are the skills and leadership we will need on the BOCC to help Ouray County move forward and thrive in the difficult times ahead. Because I’ve worked with both, I know that these candidates will work well together and complement each other’s talents. For the best future for our county, please vote for Heidi Albritton and Lynn Padgett.
– Ken Lipton, Ridgway