Candidate Q&A: Saed F. Tayyara


Q: What is your occupation, education and family?
A: Retired. I have a B.A. in political science and a minor in business administration. The major part of my working career has been spent in the restaurant, hotel, and resort business. I have owned and operated the Redstone Motel and Kentucky Fried Chicken along with being the manager of restaurants for Steamboat Ski Co., Comeo Restaurant and the Holiday Inn. The last years of my career I worked at Colowyo Coal Company. I have two grown children, Fred and Lisa, and one granddaughter.

Q: What qualifies you to be a county commissioner?
A: I believe my knowledge and experience in both business (over 30 years) and in government (10 years). I have had the honor and privilege of serving my community as a Craig City councilor and a three-time mayor. I have served or been a member of the following: Craig Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Moffat County United Way, Associated Government, Colorado River District, Municipal League and Club 20. As a part of these organizations, I have gained a lot of knowledge about many issues that are important to our county such as water, energy, agriculture, recreation and land use.

Q: What are three things you would like to accomplish if elected County Commissioner?
A: I have numerous goals I would like to accomplish if elected as county commissioner. However, the top three would be: balancing the budget and maintaining a balanced budget during my tenure. Build up the capital reserve and contingency funds. Re-establish dialog and communications between county and city officials so we can provide the taxpayer with the highest level of services with the least amount of tax dollars.

Q: While balancing the 2004 budget, the commissioner board made some controversial decisions. Do you disagree with any of the cuts that were made?
A: I agreed with all the cuts they made, some of which were a long time overdue. At the beginning of the 2004 budget process, they requested a 20 percent cut from all departments. They did not fairly enforce the 20 percent budget cut request. Some departments were cut from 5 to 10 percent and others were not cut at all.

Q: A financial analyst recently advised the commissioners to hire a county administrator and a public works director. Do you agree with these recommendations and why?
A: Due to the budget shortfall and the unhealthy financial picture of the county, I do not agree with the financial analyst that the county needs to hire an administrator and public works director in the short term.
However, I have an open mind and I would be willing to re-evaluate the need of these positions, but only if the county can afford these positions and if the other department heads and the public feel they are warranted.
Q: Would you advocate the creation of new tax districts for the library, Parks and Recreation Department or weed and pest control, and why?
A: I would not advocate the creation of new tax districts for these entities. All of them are very important and special taxing districts would ease the pressure on the county general fund. However, by creating special taxing districts we would be increasing the mill levies. I do not favor any tax increases at this time.

Q: If the county's financial situation improves, what would you do with the additional money?
A: When the county's financial situation improves and we have additional money, I will seek to increase the capital reserve, contingency fund, the trust fund and fund balance. Evaluate and give the employees better salaries and benefit packages and improve and invest more funds in their education and training programs. Continue to evaluate and improve the vehicle replacement and maintenance program. Improve the purchase order system.

Q: What would you do to manage energy development as the gas industry in Moffat County grows?
A: We need to communicate and cooperate with the oil and gas industry to minimize the impact on our environment and infrastructure. We need to respect land owners' rights and have all parties work together. They need to pay their fair share and be held accountable for their obligations as taxpayers and to the impact of our county. The gas industry needs to know we respect and appreciate them in our community, but we want them to respect our quality of life.

Q: What mistakes did you make as Craig mayor that you would seek to avoid as a commissioner?
A: In the I980s and 1990s the City of Craig and its business community experienced a boom-bust cycle. Our community was reactive instead of proactive, yet we managed to work together and survive. This experience reaffirmed my belief that we need to have long-term growth and planning processes in place.

Q: What specifically would you do to help improve city and county relations?
A: During my tenure as the mayor of Craig, the City Council and I worked hard to establish good dialogue and relationships between the city and the county. We created intergovernmental agreements regarding the airport, library and landfill and memorandums of understanding between the road and bridge, building and planning and zoning departments. I believe that I have the knowledge, experience, leadership, commitment and proven record to bring together the people we need to provide the highest level of commitment and service to the taxpayers. With my help, the county will continue to work as a term player with our own elected officials and departments heads but with the City of Craig and other regional and state officials to provide the best services government can provide its taxpayers. We will bring trust and respect back to government so we can continue to provide the level of service and commitment the taxpayers in our county expect and deserve.

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