Date set for Craig city official elections | CraigDailyPress.com

Date set for Craig city official elections

Janelle O'Dea

— Come April 7, Craig City Council will have four new members and a new mayor.

Three council seats will be elected for four-year terms, one will be elected for a two-year term and the mayor will serve a two-year term.

Councilors with expiring terms include Don Jones, Ray Beck, Joe Bird and Kent Nielson. Nielson and Bird will run for spots on the council again.

All candidates for city council seats must "be United States citizens, at least twenty five years of age, residents of the State of Colorado and the City of Craig for at least one-year prior to the election, registered to vote in the City of Craig and not hold any other municipal office or be employed by the City of Craig for which compensation is paid from city funds," according to the city's press release.

All candidates need to obtain a petition from city hall and gain signatures from registered voters in Craig in order to be on the ballot. Completed petitions must be returned to City Clerk Kathy Larson by Jan. 27.

The election will be an all-mail ballot election. Each registered voter will receive a ballot in the mail and can return it by mail or drop it off at the Moffat County Clerk and Recorder's office, 221 W. Victory Way, Suite 200.

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Current Councilor Ray Beck is term-limited and Jones could run for city council again, but instead Jones is running for mayor.

Jones was mayor for a full six years before term limiting out. Before that he was a member of Craig's City Council and became a councilor again after his mayoral terms ended.

He said the responsibility of the position is what attracts him most to the office.

"I just like to be more involved. I've really had a hard time sitting in the second chair," Jones said. "I like to be the leader."

During his time in the mayor's seat he saw the hospital and college break ground as well as welcomed Wal-Mart into the Craig community. Jones said he looks forward to playing a bigger part in community developments again.

As of Tuesday, City Clerk Kathy Larson said Liane Davis-Kling, Bill Johnston and John Ponikvar, as well as four others, picked up petitions for city council seats.

Ponikvar said he hopes bringing his business sense to city council will help with figuring out budget issues. He's wanted to run for an elected office for years now, he said.

"If a person's going to be a part of the community, they need to participate and give back," Ponikvar said.

He said he has the time and ability to improve the community and feels like many of Craig's citizens feel comfortable talking to him about their concerns. He hopes to make Craig a more livable city for all of its residents.

"I would love to see more sidewalks and walking trails and better amenities for the community," Ponikvar said.

Johnston said his fundamental beliefs drive him to run again. He was on city council for 12 years from 1997 to 2009.

"I think it's the last place where democracy as our forefathers actually designed it really works," Johnston said. "A citizen who has a complaint or an idea or any thoughts at all can go to a city council meeting and get up in front of elected officials and speak their mind."

Johnston said other priorities of his include investigating why sales tax revenues have dropped as much as they have and making sure city employees are taken care of.

Contact Janelle O’Dea at 970-875-1795 or jodea@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @jayohday.

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