Candidates Q-and-A: Ray Beck

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Ray Beck

Craig mayor candidate

Age: 62

Occupation: Retired from Yampa Valley Electric Association after 37 years

Years in Craig: 35

Immediate family: Wife, Dixie

Previous political experience/civic involvement: Six years on Craig City Council; three years on Planning and Zoning; six years on the Yampa Valley Economic Development Council; six years on the Yampa Valley Regional Airport Commission; six years on the Craig/Moffat County Airport Advisory Board; and four years on the Club 20 Executive Board.

Q. The Craig City Council recently passed an ordinance prohibiting the use of marijuana on industrial and commercial zoned properties. Do you support that ordinance? Why or why not? If elected, what other steps would you take in regards to Amendment 64 implementation?

A: Yes, I do support Ordinance 1029 that was unanimously passed by the Craig City Council. This is a moratorium imposed on the use or consumption of marijuana products on non-residential property and within non-residential zoning districts. Amendment 64 was approved across the state last fall. As a result, Gov. John Hickenlooper appointed a task force to take an in-depth study at what those impacts may have in Colorado. Just recently, the task force came out with its recommendations. We as a council will be taking a look at drafting a permanent ordinance that complies with the state recommendations in the near future and we are seeking legal advice as we go through the process. This is a hot topic among some and may require a series of meetings within the community.

Q. Craig recently took part in a downtown revitalization assessment focused on spurring economic development in the downtown core. What do you consider to be the state of Craig’s economy, and what specific steps would you take as a city councilor to address local economic issues?

A: I believe that Craig’s economy can be attributed to several factors, including our existing businesses, ongoing oil and gas exploration, and the energy sector in relationship to our coal industry. I also strongly believe we benefit from our outdoor recreation and hunting opportunities, as well. The downtown assessment came up with many great recommendations that will help us as a community to create a more vibrant economy. We all live in the same sandbox and need to bring organizations and businesses together and make a list of priorities starting with the least costly and moving on to those more costly projects. We would then need to establish what our potential funding resources are and make a commitment to accomplishing short- and long-term goals for the future. I support our Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership, the regional Yampa Valley Economic Development Council and the SET program as hosted by USDA Rural Development, which is “Stronger Economies Together.”

Q. Do you agree with renewable energy mandates? If so, why? If not, what would you do to change things?

A: I believe in a balanced approach to renewable energy. It should be on a volunteer basis, not mandated. I believe there’s a lot we can do as individuals and business owners that does not require involving the government. I served on a committee last year with Yampa Valley Data Partners, which developed the Northwest Colorado Energy Diet. We made a list of 30 items that range from the least expensive to advanced measures to reduce energy use in our homes and businesses. I believe we can support renewable energy by implementing low cost infrastructure, which will save the local homeowners and business owners money over the long term.

Q. Rehabilitating the Shadow Mountain subdivision is estimated to cost $4.5 million in city and county funds. Do you support that sort of expenditure, and what do you think is the right long-term approach to Shadow Mountain capital infrastructure needs and oversight?

A: Shadow Mountain Village was built in 1974 and is past due for maintenance to the water and sewer lines, along with the pavement, sidewalks and curb. The county and city have put a lot of taxpayers’ money into the upkeep of our city streets and county roads. Shadow Mountain Village residents are taxpayers and use the city services. This is a long overdue capital improvement project that needs to be completed. The county and city are committed to working together over the next three to five years to accomplish this task.

Q. Years ago, voters approved the idea of building a recreation center but would not support the $15 million cost for its construction or tax increases to fund the center into the future. Does the City of Craig need a rec center, and if so, would you explore options to reintroduce the project while in office?

A: I would support an event center that had multiple uses and could benefit all ages within the community. The event center would be capable of providing enough space so we could hold large conventions that would allow us to bring in tourism and potential economic development. The event center would also have the capability of supporting indoor recreation and sports. If the community sees this as a priority, I would be willing to explore the idea and help with a design. Grant money may be available, but the bigger discussion would be how to support it once it was built.

Q. What do you view as the most pressing issues and greatest opportunities facing Craig in the next two to four years, and what are your ideas to address them?

A: I feel that some of the issues facing the city are the continued increase in Environmental Protection Agency regulations with the water nutrient bill that passed last year, potentially adding more costs to be in compliance. Regulations that are being imposed on small and large business will have a financial impact right here in Craig and the city will feel those impacts. I also believe that transportation, health care and education will continue to suffer for lack of funding and will impact us locally. I have concerns about the lack of funding in the future at DOLA being able to provide grants for our capital projects and infrastructure. In order to avoid these concerns, we need to stay current on these issues, set priorities and manage the taxpayers’ money wisely. We also need to capitalize on the energy industry and our natural resources for future growth and expansion of businesses in our community. We need to continue to support our outdoor recreation and hunting opportunities that bring a lot of outside revenue into the community. We need to look for ways to help create a more vibrant economy by taking advantage of those recommendations produced by the recent downtown assessment.

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