The seat occupied by Marianna Raftopoulos on the Moffat County Board of Commissioners is up for grabs and Michael Anthony wants to take it.
The county's election year got underway Monday, with Anthony's announcement that he's running for the office of Moffat County Commi-ssioner in District 2. Raftopoulos' term ends this year and she cannot be re-elected because of term limits.
Anthony is running as a Republican.
"I filed today," he said Monday. "I've been thinking about it for awhile. I can raise my hand and volunteer for the future or I can complain about the past. Complaining about the past doesn't get a whole lot done."
Anthony, 48, is a Moffat County Sheriff's deputy. He said he's been a government employee most of his life. He served in the U.S. Army, worked as a firefighter for the Bureau of Land Management and even spent time as a federal police officer.
Anthony said he has worked on committee boards and task forces, including the state's Peace Officer Standards and Training Board. He got experience managing a $1.2 million budget when he worked as a division commander in a metro Denver police department. He says he has an extensive history writing federal and state grants.
He calls himself an "excellent candidate for the office."
"I feel there's a need for a full-time commissioner with the interests of all Moffat County residents in mind," Anthony said. "I know there's a lot of tough decisions that need to be made."
One of the tough decisions commissioners faced in the past was whether to build the Public Safety Center.
"They had a tough choice back then," Anthony said. "Build a new facility or fight lawsuits" because the old jail was so substandard.
And the Public Safety Center is not to blame for the county's current budget woes, Anthony said.
"It's not the Public Safety Center's fault. We had an increase in taxes to pay for that."
Anthony's vision for the county has fiscal responsibility at its center. The problem with the county's finances is overspending, he said.
"Some programs can be put off until they're funded properly," Anthony said.
His priorities are services that are mandated by state statute and others, such as the Road and Bridge Department, which are "absolutely necessary."
"The government exists to provide services," Anthony said. "Those necessary services. Those things should be first and foremost."
Anthony declined to specify exactly which programs or services should be nixed.
"I don't have enough information to say, 'This must go,' now," Anthony said. "I don't want to take that stance without much more information."
He offered some clues about where he might look for cuts.
"Luxuries may have to be trimmed back," Anthony said. He spoke in general about parks and recreation services, along with entertainment.
"I believe that's why voters did not pass the recreation center," Anthony said. "They understand that additional recreation activities may not need funding right now."
Instead, officials need to "take a hard look at all services," cut some back and make others more cost-effective, Anthony said.
He said the current commission looks to be taking two steps forward and one step back with regard to its budget cuts. The commission, he said, is "backing up on necessary budget cuts."
The Michael Anthony campaign will resemble the man's fiscal attitude.
"It's going to be a pretty generic campaign," Anthony said. "I live on a budget. I'm not a very wealthy person. It will be as cost-effective as possible."
He does have a plan, though.
"I'm gonna go door-to-door and ask people what's important to them," Anthony said. "It's my intent to knock on as many doors as possible. That's why I've announced so early."
Anthony is seeking the 2nd District seat on the Moffat County Board of Commissioners.
Jeremy Browning can be reached at 824-7031 or firstname.lastname@example.org