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Municipal polling cast into doubt — Moffat County County Clerk’s office has no one certified to conduct elections

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include comments from the Colorado Secretary of State’s office, Moffat County commissioners, and Moffat County Clerk and Recorder Tammy Raschke.

CRAIG — The Moffat County Clerk and Recorder’s office will likely not be able to conduct Craig’s April 2 municipal election due to a lack of training, a development that has left city officials scrambling to contract election services.

In an email sent Jan. 16 to Craig City Clerk Liz White, Moffat County Clerk and Recorder Tammy Raschke wrote:

"As discussed in our phone conversation today, the County Clerk and Recorders Office will be unable to conduct the city election. We have not had the training to access the SCORE System as required by the Secretary of State's Office. We will not have the training completed in time to meet your deadlines. We apologize for the great inconvenience and look forward to assisting you in the future. If you have any questions regarding these issues, please feel free to contact me at my office."

According to Craig Mayor John Ponikvar, only three officials in the county clerk and recorder's office were trained to conduct municipal elections: former Clerk and Recorder Lila Herod, who left office earlier this month, and former Elections Coordinator Tori Pingley and former Deputy Election Clerk Amanda Tomlinson, both of whom resigned earlier this month.

Ponikvar said he was meeting Monday with Craig City Manager Peter Brixius, City Attorney Sherman Romney, and White to discuss options for contracting services to carry out the municipal election.

"This has never happened before," Ponikvar said. "We've always contracted with the county to do our elections."

Despite this historical precedent, however, the county is not statutorily required to conduct municipal elections.

“It's a partnership,” Commissioner Ray Beck said moments after the Moffat County Board of County Commissioners meeting ended Tuesday morning. “We have all the equipment and everything to do it, and they don't.”

“We're not statutorily required to do that,” Commissioner Don Cook added.

Moffat’s commissioners said they have no control over the city’s April 2 election.

“The county will have absolutely nothing to do with it,” Cook said.

Beck pointed out commissioners also have limited control over the county clerk, who historically worked with the city of Craig to administer city elections.

“County commissioners here don't have jurisdiction or oversight over other elected officials, other than we control their budget,” Beck said of the county clerk position. “We have say on their budget and the hiring or replacement of personnel.”

“We don't get into the weeds of how she manages her office,” Beck said of Raschke.

Reached by telephone on Monday, Romney said the city is currently exploring its options under the Municipal Election Code, set forth in Title 31 of Colorado state law.

He noted that some other municipalities around the state conduct their own elections, so there is precedent.

"We have a city clerk, who's our election official, and we will probably use contractual services," Romney said. "We have a couple of options on who we might contract with."

He said the issue is likely to be added to the city council's agenda for its Tuesday meeting, and while he added he doesn't think the complication will interfere with election deadlines, it may necessitate the need for in-person voting and hand-counting of ballots.

"We should know a lot more after Tuesday's meeting," Romney said.

Reached Tuesday by telephone, Serena Woods, communications director for the Colorado Secretary of State’s office, and Judd Choate, state election director, provided some clarity.

Choate said Raschke is a certified election official, but added that conducting municipal elections requires additional specialized training neither Raschke nor her staff have undergone. He added he is working with Raschke to expedite the training and to identify certified personnel who may be contracted for the upcoming Craig election.

Woods agreed, saying Craig and Moffat County can count on support from the state.

“We’re going to do everything we can to expedite training and make sure she (Raschke) has access to other people who have the knowledge to get this election back on track,” Woods said.

Raschke, in a brief telephone interview Tuesday, said both she and Debbie Winder — whose promotion serving as Raschke’s chief deputy was approved on Tuesday by the BOCC — are currently undergoing specialized election training that will enable them to conduct future municipal elections.

However, Raschke wasn’t sure if she and Winder would complete the training in time to conduct the April 2 election.

“At this point, we just don’t know,” she said.

Contact Jim Patterson at 970-875-1790 or jpatterson@CraigDailyPress.com. Contact Clay Thorp at 970-875-1795 or cthorp@CraigDailyPress.com.

Video captures moose chasing skiers Saturday at Breckenridge Ski Resort

BRECKENRIDGE — Hoping to warn others about the dangers of moose, a Summit County woman posted on Instagram this weekend a video she captured of one charging skiers and snowboarders Saturday at Breckenridge Ski Resort.

“You can’t plan for this kind of stuff; you can’t make this stuff up,” said local photographer Lauren “Lo” Drogsvold, who recalled riding up on a moose while making her way down Four O’Clock Run, about a half-a-mile from where the trail splits off to return to the gondola.

It was about 2:30 p.m., Drogsvold said. She and her boyfriend were done riding for the day when they came upon a crowd of people clamoring over something. As she came closer to the cluster, she learned what all the fuss was about — a large bull moose standing on the run.

At the back of the pile, she watched as moose stood for a moment by a resort sign, Drogsvold said, adding that she took out her cell phone to take a picture. After a few seconds, the moose began to approach the crowd.

That’s when Drogsvold hit record on her phone, took her attention away from it and started digging for speed to get away from the moose as fast as she could while yelling at people in front of her to move and move fast.

With her phone still recording, Drogsvold captured only a few seconds of the moose chasing skiers and snowboarders before she dove off the trail and hid behind a nearby tree.

She said that no one appeared to suffer any injuries when the moose charged the crowd, but she knows that some of those people in the pack did not react to seeing a moose the right way.

“We’re familiar with the dangers of moose, and I feel like, as a local, it’s our responsibility to try to educate people about moose and keep them safe if we can,” she said, explaining that was her reason for editing the short video clips she got, posting them on social media and then agreeing to talk to the newspaper.

“If you see a moose, you don’t walk up to it, you don’t approach it,” she said. “You get the hell away from there and leave them alone.”

After posting the video, a handful of people have told they too have been chased by a moose in the same place at Breckenridge Ski Resort, she added.

The video is markedly similar to another one shot in 2017 of a moose sprinting down a run at Breckenridge Ski Resort.

Prodded by Breckenridge Town Council two weeks ago after a separate reported moose encounter at the resort, the resort’s chief operating officer talked about how its staff try to prevent guests from approaching the highly territorial herbivores, who are generally peaceful but can turn aggressive when they feel threatened.

With moose and other wildlife, Colorado Parks and Wildlife stands as the only agency in the state with jurisdiction over them, according to agency spokesman Mike Porras. He added that wildlife officers are the only law enforcement personnel who can make decisions about when to tranquilize and move a moose, and when it is not necessary.

Local police departments and other authorities may lend a hand, he said, adding that wildlife officers work with local officials and ski resorts to provide guidance when its officers cannot quickly respond.

“It could have been really bad,” Drogsvold said of Saturday’s encounter at Breckenridge Ski Resort. “I feel like we all got super lucky.”

Marijuana back on Craig City Council agenda for Tuesday

CRAIG — Less than a week after its recreational marijuana legalization petition failed to gain enough signatures, the Committee to Grow Craig isn't giving up and has secured a place on the Craig City Council’s agenda for its upcoming meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22.

According to the council agenda, released Friday, council members will "consider a request by the Committee to Grow Craig for the city council to adopt an ordinance to refer a question for the April 2, 2019, election to allow recreational marijuana sales and production."

If agreed to by council, the move would essentially circumvents the need for another possible 739-signature drive by the Committee to Grow Craig to put the question of recreational legalization on the ballot.

Paul James, who helped spearhead the signature drive for recreational legalization, is one of two candidates who've officially handed in their petitions to run for Craig City Council in the April 2 municipal election. The other is Mayor John Ponikvar. This means at least two city council seats are currently open to any eligible resident of Craig.

The following items are also on the city council agenda for Tuesday:

• A brief presentation by the Craig Association of Realtors on the magazine "On Common Ground."

• Approval of a special events liquor permit for St. John's Greek Orthodox Church for its annual dinner and dance Feb. 16 at the Moffat County Fairgrounds Pavilion.

• Approval of a hotel and restaurant liquor license renewal for Quality Inn and Suites.

• Two public hearings on new landfill fees for residential and commercial trash collection.

• A resolution to adopt the Craig Parks, Recreation, Trails and Open Space Master Plan.

• Approval of a bid from Ambient H20 for turbidimeter replacement totaling $37,516.

• Award of chemical bids for the water/wastewater departments in 2019.

Contact Clay Thorp at 970-875-1795 or cthorp@craigdailypress.com.

Craig teen with muscular dystrophy inducted as honorary firefighter

CRAIG — Nearly 10 years ago, Craig’s JP Price was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

The disease affects one's ability to move freely and can cause frequent falls, trouble with standing or running, and some learning disabilities. It has rendered JP mostly bound to an electric wheelchair.

But in the past decade, JP, now 13 has had some real life heroes take him under their wings.

Members of the Craig Fire/Rescue team inducted him as an honorary firefighter Thursday night.

"One of the cool things I get to do as fire chief is promote firefighters," said Craig Fire Chief, KC Hume. "Tonight, I get to do that again. But tonight, this is the first, at least to my knowledge, in the history of Craig Fire/Rescue, that we induct our first honorary Craig firefighter."

Hume fought back tears as he told a small crowd of firefighters and residents the impact JP has had on Craig's firefighters.

"We've developed a friendship," Hume said. "We see you quite frequently, and it's very special to us. I would offer up that you have made us a better team, have made us a better organization, and quite frankly, have made us better men and women."

Since JP’s diagnosis almost 10 years ago, Craig's firefighters have raised some $50,000 for the Muscular Dystrophy Association's Fill the Boot campaign.

JP Price visits with Tuft the dalmatian and firefighters during the Fill the Boot campaign — an annual fundraiser for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

"He's my nephew, and he come up with that disease about nine or 10 years ago," said Battalion Chief Troy Hampton. "I had been running the MDA fill the boot drive, and we started that back up again. Every one of these guys would come out and spend time with that little guy, and it's just become a family. We welcome him as one of our brothers now. We're a pretty tight-knit group."

A room full of Craig's toughest firefighters were watery-eyed as Hampton and Hume presented JP with a real firefighter badge, a one-of-a-kind challenge coin, and a bright red Craig Fire/Rescue jacket with a number that belongs only to JP.

"No one ever gets that number again," Hume said. "Your number is seven. It's displayed on your jacket and on your badge."

JP was also emotional Thursday, but he eventually pulled his teary eyes from beneath his Denver Broncos cap and thanked Craig's firefighters.

"I just wanna say thank you, guys, very much," he said quietly.

He said he hopes one day MDA and the Fill the Boot campaign will help to "find a cure."

Contact Clay Thorp at 970-875-1795 or cthorp@craigdailypress.com.

Steamboat woman arrested, charged with distributing heroin

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – A Steamboat Springs woman was arrested Thursday and charged with two counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute.

Stephanie Dye has been charged with distributing fentanyl, a schedule II controlled substance, and black tar heroin, a schedule I controlled substance, to at least one local man.

The man overdosed in November of last year after injecting a mixture of heroin and fentanyl that Dye allegedly provided. This was the second time that the man overdosed from fentanyl Dye had given him, according to the arrest affidavit.

Stephanie Dye

This arrest comes amid a nationwide opioid epidemic. Since 2013, illegally manufactured fentanyl has been linked to a growing number of overdoses. In 2017, the odds of dying from an opioid overdose in the U.S. surpassed the odds of dying in a car accident.

Steamboat Springs Police Department officers responded to an overdose call at Dye’s home on Nov. 12. Officers were able to successfully inject the man with Narcan, a drug that reverses the effects of narcotics. While in the house, officers noticed several needles in Dye’s bathroom.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Doctors may prescribe it to treat pain, but most overdose deaths involve illegally produced fentanyl.

The drug is often mixed with heroin but has been increasingly cut with other illicit substances like cocaine to increase its euphoric effects, according to the CDC.

Dye admitted to using fentanyl and heroin in the past. She said she would mix the drugs using a spoon disinfected with alcohol. A combination of fentanyl and heroin mixed by Dye was involved in the November overdose case that sent a man to the emergency room.

The same man overdosed on fentanyl in April of 2017 using fentanyl that Dye had allegedly bought. She said that was the first time the two had used the drug together since meeting at a rehab program several years ago.

Dye said she bought the fentanyl — colloquially known as China White — through an online dealer, and the drugs arrived in the mail.

Overdose deaths related to synthetic opioids like fentanyl have spiked in recent years. The most recent data from the CDC shows a 47 percent increase in overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids from 2016 to 2017.

Colorado saw a 53.8 percent increase during that same time period. About 28,400 people died from such overdoses in 2017. Colorado accounted for 112 of those deaths.

Driver in 2017 fatal crash south of Kremmling gets prison sentence

HOT SULPHUR SPRINGS — Nearly a year-and-a-half after he was initially arrested on charges of vehicular homicide, Denver resident Brandon Wilson learned his fate in court on Thursday.

Fourteenth Judicial District Court Judge Mary Hoak sentenced Wilson to five years in the Colorado Department of Corrections, the maximum sentence he faced in the case. The sentence was handed down after Wilson pleaded guilty to one count of reckless vehicular homicide and one count of driving under the influence as part of a plea agreement that limited his potential prison time.

The guilty plea and sentencing came after emotional court proceedings that included comments from Wilson, his legal counsel, the district attorney’s office, Hoak and two of the victims in the case.

“This is the biggest regret of my life,” Wilson told Hoak, his voice shaking as he struggled to contain his emotions. “Words cannot explain how much regret and remorse I have. Every morning I wake up and wish I could go back and change the events of that day. I take full responsibility and I am sorry we all have to be here under these circumstances. I am ready to accept what the court finds just.”

Speaking on behalf of Wilson was the widow of Brian Ward, the man whose death led to Wilson’s vehicular homicide charge, who told the court that she did not blame Wilson for what happened.

Ward and Wilson were close friends and were traveling together in the same vehicle on Highway 9 south of Kremmling in August 2017. According to law enforcement reports at the time, Wilson was driving northbound on Highway 9 when he pulled onto the northbound shoulder of the highway and proceeded to make a u-turn into the southbound lane. As he did a pickup truck driving behind Wilson struck the driver’s side of his vehicle.

The collision resulted in Ward’s death, as well as injuries for the other occupants of Wilson’s vehicle and occupants of the second vehicle. A horse being hauled in a trailer by the pickup truck was also injured.

Hoak stressed the difficulty of the decision regarding Wilson’s sentence. Under the terms of the plea agreement, Wilson could receive a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

“This is a terrible case, that I have agonized about,” Hoak said. “While I may not have done here what the victims wanted I heard them. My heart breaks for them.”

Hoak said she felt duty bound to impose the sentence she chose because of the seriousness of the crimes committed by Wilson. Her comments came in light of the fact that the Ward family and other victims in the case, who are friends of Wilson, had previously supported a lesser sentence.

“I cannot tell this community that this is OK,” Hoak said. “People need to understand that you cannot take a life and walk away.”

Hoak said she believed Wilson did not need rehabilitation, that he would not commit further crimes in his life and that the support shown by his friends and family, including the victims in the case, were evidence that he would succeed in life after completing his sentence.

“At some point you have to move forward,” Hoak said to Wilson. “Once you serve your sentence you need to forgive yourself. In my opinion you owe it to Brian Ward to live your life. It is a terrible thing that happened here but from what I know Brian would want you to live your life and do the things he didn’t get to do.”

After reading Wilson’s sentence, Hoak noted that he would not serve the entirety of the five years and that he would most likely be released early for good behavior. Wilson, who has remained out on bond as his case proceeded, was remanded into custody at the end of the hearing.

Eight orphaned bear cubs get second chance at freedom in artificial dens made by CPW

PIKE NATIONAL FOREST – Hopefully, eight orphaned bear cubs are now sleeping peacefully on Pikes Peak, snug inside artificial dens built by Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers, staff and volunteers during a recent snowstorm.

Four cubs share two dens built with downed logs, timbers and small branches, pine boughs and a mix of straw, hay and alfalfa.

The cubs should be exhausted after the day they experienced Tuesday when officers from Area 14 in Colorado Springs retrieved them from Wet Mountain Wildlife Rehabilitation in Wetmore. The bears spent the summer and fall there after their mothers died either due to being hit by cars, trains, at the hands of poachers or after being euthanized because they entered a home in search of human food.

Each cub was tranquilized, weighed (they ranged from 110 to 140 pounds each) and placed in a trap for transportation to the den sites on Pikes Peak about an hour away. On the mountain, each bear was blindfolded and hobbled, in case they were to awaken from their drug-induced sleep, then carried by sled through deep snow to their winter home.

And CPW officers, staff and volunteers performed this work under the glare of eight TV news cameras and other media who assembled to report on the bear-release project.

It took about two hours to get all eight bears tucked into the dens. Work was delayed at times as a couple cubs did awaken, abruptly sitting up on their sleds to the surprise of CPW officers who quickly administered second doses of tranquilizer so release work could resume.

Over and over, officers crawled into the dens to precisely position the bears so they could easily breath and rest comfortably. The officers were soaked and covered with hay when they finally administered the drugs that would reverse the tranquilizers – the final act before the dens were sealed with alfalfa and packed with a thick layer of snow.

“It was a great day on the mountain," said Frank McGee, area wildlife manager who oversees Area 14. "This is the kind of experience that motivates every CPW wildlife officer. We all chose this career to work with wildlife, so this is very personal with us. It's so rewarding to release wildlife back into their native habitat. It was really gratifying to know we gave them a second chance to be wild bears."

Ideally, the bears will remain in the dens until spring when they'll emerge as one-year-old bears and disperse into the forest to eat natural grasses, nuts and berries with a healthy fear of humans.

UPDATED 1 p.m.: Moffat, Routt County Schools will open despite power outage, storm

CRAIG — There will be no snow day in Moffat and Routt Counties as public schools will be in session on Friday, Jan. 18.

“Due to power outages and snow levels, busses will be running about 20 to 25 minutes behind schedule,” stated an email sent from Moffat Couty school officials to parents at about 6:45 a.m. 

One bus was stuck in the snow, said Superintendent of Schools Dave Ulrich who added that all children on the bus were safe and accounted for. He added that rumors a bus had “rolled” were untrue.

Parents electing to keep their children home were asked to notify their child’s school to “ensure we have all students accounted for,” stated the email.

Students arriving late will not be penalized. Craig Middle School and Sandrock Elementary School were without power when the first bell rang.

“We expect power to come on fairly soon,” Ulrich said. “However, if parents are concerned about the welfare of their students they are always welcome to excuse them and keep them home.”

Power went out about 2:30 a.m. in Hayden, Craig, Lay, Maybell, Baggs, and parts of Steamboat Springs. It was restored in some areas and has been on intermittently in other areas.

The power outage did not impact schools in Hayden to the same extent.

“We have power today. Ours flickered on and off during the night, but we do have school today," said Judy Parrott, administrative assistant with Hayden School District.

They also experienced transportation delays.

"Our buses are running a few minutes late, but it looks like most of them are rolling in right now,” she said.

Goal Academy High School is also open at the Craig service location, said Administrative Assistant Jamie Hume.

However, Moffat County Christian Academy decided to ask their students to stay home today.

“With the electricity out this morning, the lack of heat in the building early on and the dangerous driving conditions, we just thought it would be best for students and staff to stay home,” said Secretary Janet Write.

More snow is expected throughout the day as the National Weather Service in Grand Junction has issued a winter storm warning until 6 p.m. Friday.

Yampa Valley Electric Association has not yet provided information about the cause of the outage other than to state it was related to the heavy snow that had fallen in the area.

Read more about the power outage at CraigDailyPress.com.

 

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com. Clay Thorp contributed to this story. 

UPDATED at 1:15 p.m.: Intermittent power outages continue to impact Yampa Valley Electric Association customers Friday

CRAIG — Many in Northwest Colorado woke up without electricity as heavy snowfall moved into the region causing widespread outages that began at about 2:25 a.m. Friday, Jan. 18.

As of 11:25 a.m. Yampa Valley Electric Association stated on their website that power had been “restored for the members west of Steamboat on U.S. Highway 40. Maybell members have also been restored.  We still have intermittent outages that crews are working to restore.”

At 10 a.m. YVEA had reported outages for more than 400 members-customers.

“Maybell and surrounding areas remain without power. We have some areas in Craig including Elk Head without power. South of Hayden a few members as well as West Highway 40 we have 400 members still without power,” stated the YVEA website.

Crews were working swiftly as two-hours earlier, at about 8:30 a.m., the company was reporting that the outage was impacting about 1,500 customers east of Craig including areas surrounding Clark in Routt County as well as areas west of Craig including Maybell, Lay, and Elk Springs.

The early morning outage had parents wondering if schools would close. Public schools in Moffat and Routt Counties held classes, though officials said buses were running late. For more information about school closures visit the story at CraigDailyPress.com.

When the outage began in the early morning hours it reportedly impacted most Yampa Valley Electric Association customers in Craig, Hayden, Maybell, Baggs, and Lay. Later it was revealed that Routt County customers were also affected.

Power was restored intermittently to some areas about 4 a.m., but a message from YVEA at 4:50 a.m. stated that Steamboat Springs customers were being impacted.

By about 8 a.m. most of Craig and the service area had power. No one from YVEA was available to comment on the specifics of the outage.

Craig Press will update this story if more information becomes available.

 

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com

Recreational marijuana initiative fails; two seats still open on Craig City Council

CRAIG — A recreational marijuana initiative in Craig failed to garner the signatures needed to place the question before voters, Craig's city clerk confirmed Thursday, Jan. 17.

According to Craig City Clerk Liz White, the Committee to Grow Craig handed in about 850 signatures of the 739 needed to place the measure on the ballot, but White was able to verify only 585 of the signatures.

Accordingly, she said, 266 signatures were invalid, mostly due to signatures being ineligible, names not able to be found in the city's database, or residents including addresses on the petition not found in the city's records.

"I had to check every one — one by one," White said Thursday.

A similar city ballot initiative failed in 2016, as did a countywide initiative in 2014.

The ordinance connected to the ballot initiative would have provided for no more than three retail marijuana dispensaries inside Craig to have one cultivation license. Each establishment would have been allowed to have no more than two cultivation licenses per person without a locally held license for a recreational dispensary. The ordinance would also have capped the number of cannabis manufacturing licenses to four per person. Cannabis manufacturing licenses cover the production of edibles, tinctures, concentrates, or topical lotions.

At a Committee to Grow Craig meeting Jan. 4, Mayor John Ponikvar said he wanted to explore the possibility of developing Craig's marijuana cultivation similar to the nearby city of Hayden, without the need for full recreational legalization. Due to other city's in the area that have already legalized recreational marijuana, Ponikvar said recreational legalization may not be the huge boost to tax revenue some think it would be.

"Steamboat Springs is doing $45,000 to $46,000 per month right now,” the mayor said. “Dinosaur is predicting $250,000 this year in taxes, because they have a large draw from Utah. People come to Steamboat, they fly into the airport, and they go to the marijuana store before they ever go to their condos. We don’t have that same demographic here. I just don’t see it being a big economic driver for our community.”

Paul James, an employee of the Craig Apothecary who helped spearhead the ballot initiative, said the ordinance sought to give locals an opportunity to own any new licenses or marijuana businesses before outside interests could.

In a Facebook post, James said White called him Thursday to break the news his ballot initiative had failed.

"I am more than willing to continue on, to take more steps to get this through, and there are still options that can be taken to do this again," James said in his Facebook post. "It is a possibility for us to immediately turn around and run another petition, but doing so would not put us on a regular election ballot. Rather, should we be successful, it would put the measure on it’s own ballot in a special election."

James also addressed Craig residents who don't want recreational marijuana legalized inside the city.

"I’m sure to a few of you, this failure is very exciting, but the rest of us are disappointed that our work and efforts fell short and that we’re once again stuck with the status quo here in Craig," James wrote Thursday in his Facebook post. "I’ll end this post with a very slim silver lining; my petition to add my name to the ballot for city council was all good, so I will be running for a seat in April.”

White confirmed James and Mayor John Ponikvar are the only two candidates who've officially handed in their petitions for the upcoming municipal election.

That leaves at least two other council seats open for any resident of Craig who is willing to serve.

White said the deadline to file for city council is on or before the end of business Monday, Jan. 21

If no one else files for council by Tuesday, Craig City Attorney Sherman Romney said whoever is elected to the mayor’s office and council in the municipal general election will be tasked with appointing Craig residents to any open seats within 60 days.

"We've never had that issue before," Romney said Thursday.

The municipal general election is set for April 2.