Congressman Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, speaks Tuesday to a room full of residents at Craig City Hall before the Craig City Council’s regular meeting. The freshman representative spoke about the energy industry, the federal budget and various rules and regulations making the economy worse for tax payers.

Photo by Brian Smith

Congressman Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, speaks Tuesday to a room full of residents at Craig City Hall before the Craig City Council’s regular meeting. The freshman representative spoke about the energy industry, the federal budget and various rules and regulations making the economy worse for tax payers.

Congressman hosts town hall meeting in Craig

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At its regular Tuesday meeting, the Craig City Council:

• Approved, 5-0, Feb. 8 meeting minutes.

• Approved, 5-0, a hotel and restaurant liquor license for Peretzler, Inc doing business as Carelli’s at 465 Yampa Ave.

• Approved, 5-0, a bid recommendation with Dell Computer Corp. for three desktop computers for Craig City Hall totaling 2,859.27.

• Approved, 5-0, a bid recommendation with Dell Computer Corp. for two desktop computers and three laptop computers for the Craig Police Department totaling $5,530.77.

• Tabled, 5-0, a bid recommendation for custodial services at Craig City Hall and the Center of Craig.

• Approved, 5-0, ordinance No. 1013, a supplemental appropriation ordinance to carryover budgeted 2010 projects and commitments not accomplished in 2010 into the 2011 budget. Second reading.

• Approved, 5-0, resolution No. 4 (2011) appropriating additional funds in the capital projects fund to defray expenses of curb and gutter projects and increasing the fund from $150,000 to $175,000.

• Approved, 5-0, to host an all mail-in ballot election in the April municipal election.

• Approved, 5-0, an intergovernmental agreement with the Moffat County Clerk and Recorder to provide support for the April municipal election.

• Heard a year end financial report for the city from Finance Director Bruce Nelson.

— Note: Craig City Council members Terry Carwile and Gene Bilodeau were absent from the meeting.

Congressman Scott Tipton had a message for a room full of area residents Tuesday at Craig City Hall.

The freshman Republican representative from Cortez said he is an optimistic person when it comes to the future of the nation. But, there are also challenges facing those in power to guide the country toward that future, he said.

“I don’t believe there is anything as a nation we can not overcome (with) the challenges we face now,” he said. “We will come out on top if we are given the freedom to do what Americans do best and that is innovate, create, American entrepreneurship and yankee know-how.

“This is what makes America great and I encourage you. This is a representative government and let’s keep that conversation going across the board.”

Before the Craig City Council’s regular Tuesday meeting, more than 30 residents filled city hall to do just that — voice their opinions to the congressman.

Tipton fielded a variety of questions, most of which were centered on the federal budget, government spending, taxes, rules and regulations and, perhaps most prominent, the energy industry.

Tipton said he thought it was time to curb America’s dependence on foreign sources of oil and said the Western Slope can play a positive role in the nation’s energy portfolio.

“I believe it needs to be all of the above,” he said. “You know, wind, solar, geothermal — let’s take advantage of those. Let’s also develop coal, let’s also develop nuclear energy in this country, let’s develop our oil and our oil shale and do it in a responsible way.”

The congressman said he thinks such an energy policy creates “win-wins.”

“I believe the winner is going to be the American people because we have two things in my estimation that are critically important,” he said. “We are in a weakened position when we rely on other countries for our energy (and) we are in a crippled position when we start relying on other countries for our food.”

Tipton also addressed federal spending and said the banks are “broken” and the government needs to prioritize how it spends tax money.

He then asked how many people in the audience felt their children would live in a better world than they did and noted only a few hands were raised in response.

“That is the challenge that we face,” he said. “It is building for the future for those kids and a lot of this is going to be in terms of getting our fiscal house in order, reducing that debt and that deficit in this country.”

Tipton said he has seen the federal budgets “completely ramp up” through both Republican and Democrat administrations.

“When we are able to get into this actual budget cycle to where we are able to start writing the budget, we are going to be pushing for real reductions because we must,” he said.

Several residents asked Tipton about federal regulations on businesses and the energy industry.

“I am looking far too many people in the eye right now that are having a tough time paying their bills,” he said. “They are worried about the cost of that electric bill going up. They are worried about being able to pay that mortgage.”

Craig Mayor Don Jones said he was pleased with the evening’s turnout.

“The last time he was here two months ago, the only reason I knew he was here was (because) I read the newspaper article the next morning,” he said. “I asked him if he wouldn’t communicate a little bit better of when he is coming (to the area).”

Moreover, Jones said such meetings are important to residents in communities like Craig.

“Whether a lonely representative from Colorado is going to be able to do anything on the big picture, who knows?” he said. “But, at least we get our voice heard and that’s very important.”

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