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Different points of view

County candidates clash over funds, resources

Paul Shockley

Moffat County money matters continued to be a hot topic Thursday among commissioner candidates, while competitors in the sheriff’s race gave hints as to what the department’s future would be on their watch.

“Moffat County and the city of Craig need to work together,” said Darryl Steele independent commissioner candidate for district three suggesting taxpayers would be better served with the two entities combining efforts on planning and zoning boards, recreation and recreation facilities and trash collection, among other areas.

Steele, who is facing off against Republican Jean Stetson for the seat, was among six candidates for county and state offices speaking at a forum sponsored by KRAI Radio and Northwest Colorado Community College.

Western Slope water and economic development both were broached by the pair of commissioner candidates.

Stetson said she would work to ensure the discussed expansion of the Elkhead Reservoir benefits all.

“It’s very critical to us,” Stetson said. “Expansion should not just be for endangered species, but, hopefully, for the use of Moffat County residents.”

Both candidates said they would work toward an increased tax base for the county. Steele added he would push for the construction of a convention center in Craig.

But Steele argued not just any new business should be recruited to the area.

“I don’t want large industry for economic development,” he said, “I want small things to bring money in so we can stay like we are.”

Stetson urged support for existing businesses, in addition to county and city efforts to attract new ones, voicing here support for the so-called “incubator” project.

The two candidates split when asked about the proposed new location for The Memorial Hospital.

“The location needs to move to one of the outlying areas around town,” said Steele, a former hospital board member

“We really need to work at that.”

Stetson said she didn’t have problems with the proposed location.

“I defer to the board’s judgement on that,” she said.

Meanwhile, Buddy Grinstead and Don Kroese – respective Republican and Democratic candidates for Moffat County Sheriff touted relationships with the community and experience.

Kroese, who would need state certification and 80 hours of training if elected, again pledged to complete the needed work at his own expense. Kroese would have up to one year after the election to complete training and certifications.

Failure to comply would force a county commissioners’ board to suspend the sheriff’s pay, according to state statute.

Incumbent Grinstead called for more training programs for the department, noting that the administration is now putting together three-year goals and strategies.

“We’ve not been sued for any actions taken by officers or me,” he said, crediting improved deputy training under his leadership.

Kroese, asked of the challenges facing the department, noted growth throughout the county.

“There’s a lot of people moving in, and more need for law enforcement,” he said, proposing better pay to retain staff and improved equipment.

Grinstead said tightened budgets have ruled out asking for more officers, as his force has declined in numbers since taking office.

Kroese pledged to “end abuse to anyone” under his watch, and have more officers out talking to people.

Paul Shockley can be reached at 824-7031 or at pshockley@craigdailypress.com


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