Grand Lake town board elections – questions for the candidates | SkyHiNews.com

Grand Lake town board elections – questions for the candidates

Mayoral candidates

Judy Burke

How long have you lived in Grand Lake?

30 years

Q. What role should the town council play to ensure water quality in Grand Lake is protected and improved for generations to come?

A. The Town of Grand Lake is moving forward on plans to begin to ensure that the

Recommended Stories For You

quality of the body of water in Grand Lake is protected and improved for future generations. Among its goals are: to secure a grant from the Department of Local

Affairs to do an update on the Storm Water Drainage study that will enable us to making improvements to our system to ensure that We, as a Town are not making the problem worse. The Town is participating in discussions with the Bureau of Land Management, the Forest Service, Grand County, and the Grand County Water Information Network in order to look for solutions on the national and state level.

Q. What would you do to ensure the channels of communication remain open with other entities, such as but not limited to: the Grand Lake Chamber of Commerce, Rocky Mountain Park, the county and Granby?

A. Improvement in communications between the local, county, state and national entities has been one of my top goals since I first joined the Board in 1988 as a Trustee. As a small community we need all the help we can get to work together to make our community a better place to live and to ensure that we are not loosing ground by standing still on the major issues. Since my association with the town it was my goal to work with the:

A) Grand Lake Yacht Club by improving the Grand Lake beachfront area;

B.)The Grand Lake Chamber to be sure that we improve the winter as well as the summer economy of the town by encouraging year-round events and promotions, on the construction of the new Grand Lake Visitor’s Center, and with other business people in the area to improve the general economy of the area.

C.) Grand Lake Metro. Recreation District to encourage joint activities and agreements to bring golfers and other recreation activities to the area.

D.) Rocky Mountain Rep. Theater to continue to encourage live theatre in Grand Lake in order to add amenities to the Town to encourage County citizens and tourists to come and stay in Grand Lake.

E.) Grand Arts Council to continue to encourage the completion of the Cultural Arts Center to add convention and art centered activities to draw people into Town.

F.) Grand Lake Fire Department to complete the Community Wildfire Protection Plan and evacuation plan and to help with the securing of the Department’s fireboat

G.) Other towns in the County by scheduling bimonthly Mayors meetings as well as attending Mayor/Manager/Commissioner meetings to be sure that Grand Lake is included in Countywide plans.

H.) Colorado Department of Transportation to effect the removal of dangerous trees along the right of way of Highway 34 and securing a million dollars worth of work from them to do so.

I.) Attended Colorado Municipal Meetings since 1989 including annual meetings with our Colorado legislators, and national representatives.

J.) Rocky Mountain National Park by attending and taking part in meetings to ensure that the West Gate of Rocky Mountain National Park, Grand Lake, is included in their activities and plans and testified before the Senate Sub-Committee hearing in Washington, D.C. in favor of the Rocky Mountain National Park Wilderness Bill, and worked with the Park and Congressman Udall on the Betty Dick Bill

K.) State and National legislators to work on local problems such as the Pine Beetle Epidemic, water quality, and other items of local interest.

L.) Probably the most fun group to work with was the Grand Lake Elementary 2nd grade class to increase the size of the sand box in the Grand Lake Town Square playground after the Town added the new playground equipment.

Q. It’s been reported that the Grand Lake area is comprised of 75 to 80 percent second homes. What do you think the town should do to address attainable housing so that the year-round workforce may continue to live here?

A. The Town of Grand Lake has been addressing the problem of attainable housing for some time. Currently we are in the process of adopting inclusionary zoning as well as having passed an affordable housing fee for new construction. This is one of the most important problems of our Community. We need the locals in Town in order to provide the employees needed by our businesses and our growing second homeowner population. The second homeowners come to enjoy our area, to eat in our restaurants, and enjoy shopping. If we don’t have the employees to staff our businesses, they won’t come. But most importantly we need to keep our young families here in order to keep our school open, and to sustain our community atmosphere and year round economy.

Q. What is the solution to sustaining a recycling program in Grand Lake and to address trash removal so that businesses don’t have to foot the bill for other people’s trash in their Dumpsters?

A. Recycling is a difficult problem, not only in our Community but for the entire world. As hard as the Town staff and Board have tried to keep our current system of recycling going and to find a permanent solution, it appears that our only choice may be to have curbside trash collection combined with recycling. We continue, however, to search for other better answers to the recycle dilemma.

Q. If elected, what do you want to have accomplished when your term is completed?

A. If I am re-elected I would like to see a continuation of efforts to reopen Grand Lake Lodge, continue a cooperative effort to expand our business opportunities, to begin a replanting effort to replace the trees that were removed, to finish the landscape projects at the entry to Town and the Visitors Center, and continue to build relationships with our Town’s citizens, second homeowners and neighboring communities and organizations. I have come to realize that no one Board term is long enough to accomplish all of our needs, but we must start now to accomplish our goals and I would like to continue to be a part of that process.

Glenn Harrington

How long have you lived in Grand Lake? I first came to Grand Lake in 1960 as a Park naturalist 48 years ago. In 1983 Melva and I came back again as a Park naturalist and have lived here both part-time and full-time for 25 years.

Q. What role should the town council play to ensure water quality in Grand Lake is protected and improved for generations to come?

A. When I first came to Grand Lake, many years ago, the water was clear and blue. You could see to a depth of thirty feet and could see fish swimming and the big rocks near the shore. Today, you can only see to a depth of six to nine feet depending if pumping is occurring. Not only is the water cloudy but the surface in late summer is covered with yellow algae bloom.

It is well known what has happened to Grand Lake and we know what needs to be done to restore the lake to its former level of clarity. There are several groups working hard to reverse and correct the situation and the board of trustees for the town of Grand Lake and the town needs to support these groups.

It has taken over 50 years for our lake to lose its beauty and the problem will not be fixed in a few short years. The good news is that work has started to improve the clear depth a foot or two a year and in 10 years, the clear depth will be back to 25 to 30 feet.

As mayor, I will work closely with the different groups addressing this challenge and strongly believe Grand Lake must and will be restored to the condition when I first saw the lake 50 years ago. Grand Lake is one of the community’s greatest assets and must be restored and protected in order to keep Grand Lake a top resort destination.

Q. What would you do to ensure the channels of communication remain open with other entities, such as but not limited to: the Grand Lake Chamber of Commerce, Rocky Mountain National Park, the county and Granby?

A. Just keeping the channels of communication open is important, but maintaining a good working relationship, which requires keeping the channels of communication open, is the key to working together and getting things done.

Lines of communication between people often break down and the result is frequent misunderstandings, distrust and fear. Opening lines of communication is one very important step to take if we want to resolve a conflict.

Each organization has to respect the other organization’s purpose and function. Should one organization attempt to micromanage (or macro manage, for that matter) another organization, it will weaken or destroy the working relationship between the two.

If you want to gauge the strength and effectiveness of communication between two organizations, look at the working relationship between the two organizations. The other indicator is the trust and respect each organization has for the other.

Good things will happen and synergies can form between two organizations when there are open channels of communication between organizations. As a Grand Lake trustee, I work hard to maintain open lines of communication with the organizations that are working for the benefit of the community. As mayor, I will strengthen those ties and make certain that representatives from the various organizations have confidence that their voices are being heard and that their needs and concerns are addressed in a professional and thoughtful manner.

Q. It’s been reported that the Grand Lake area is comprised of 75 to 80 percent second homes. What do you think the town should do to address attainable housing so that the year-round workforce may continue to live here?

A. To own your own home is the American dream. The attainable housing situation in Grand Lake for its workforce poses two different problems as there are two distinct groups that are both in need of attainable housing.

The first group is the permanent work force; such as construction workers, teachers and law enforcement that work year-round to provide necessary services to the community. Attainable housing for this first group needs to address the need to have those that provide local services the opportunity to live in the community they serve.

The second group that is in need of attainable housing is the summer work force such as restaurant and hotel workers and others tied to the tourism industry. This group, while here for only several months each year, is vital to the local economy and without, many would not be able to operate their businesses.

To address the permanent workforce, the town is working with the county to help the permanent work force purchase their own home with the help of two different programs; one administered by the town and the other by the county..

The county offers an excellent program that offers a qualified first-time homebuyer an opportunity to become a homeowner and helps put within reach housing in the Grand Lake area. I fully support this program as a trustee and will continue to support the program and to work with the county as Grand Lake’s mayor.

The town of Grand Lake currently collects an affordable housing fee with building permits it issues and this fee provides funding for a program that is called the “Down Payment Assistance Program.” These funds are used for first-time, qualified home buyers in need of down payment assistance. In addition to taking into account financial need, extra points are awarded for living or working in the Town of Grand Lake. As mayor, I will support this program and wholeheartedly acknowledge the importance of having those that teach our children, protect us and work in Grand Lake have the opportunity to live in Grand Lake.

Housing the summer work force continues to be one of the top challenges for many local businesses. Particularly during the summer months, the stock of attainable housing available for short-term periods of time, whether by the employee or the employer, is growing increasingly hard to secure. As mayor, I will sit down with interested organization and employers to work to find a solution to the short-term, attainable housing shortage. Without addressing this problem, businesses that rely on a summer work force will not be able to expand and new businesses will be discouraged from opening in Grand Lake.

Q. What is the solution to sustaining a recycling program in Grand Lake and to address trash removal so that businesses don’t have to foot the bill for other people’s trash in their Dumpsters?

A. Recycling is a great benefit to Grand County and Grand Lake but the short and long term future of recycling in Grand County is uncertain. Grand Lake is studying the possibility or taking over trash collecting within the town limits and included in this study is recycling.

Recycling is one of those businesses that, at the moment, cannot support itself. Most likely, any recycling program would have to be supplemented with taxpayer funds. As mayor, I would support continuing supplementing recycling with a reasonable amount of taxpayer funds but also continue to search for means to reduce or eliminate the cost to the taxpayer as recycling markets and technologies continue to advance.

Q. If elected, what do you want to have accomplished when your term is completed?

A. When a candidate is considering running for an elected office, they need to have a plan for the first 90 days, the first six months and then a four year plan.

As mayor, during my first 90 days I would work to make sure the Town Board is of one accord.

My six month plan would be to make sure there is a positive working relationship between the Town Board and groups such as the business community, the Chamber of Commerce and other community organizations working with the Town Board.

I strongly believe that by investing in relationship and bridge building between the town and community organizations during the first six months of my term, more can and will be accomplished during the balance of my term.

My four year plan, addressed all the issues as outlined above, would also focus on two other areas not previously addressed; the business community and the beetle kill issue.

The business community generates the life blood of our community which is our sales tax. Our town government needs to reassure our business community that we fully support their activities by having a positive working relationship with our Chamber of Commerce, which represents the majority of the business community.

As mayor, I pledge never to introduce an ordinance or support which would negatively impact the life blood of our community and work to maintain open and two-way communications with our community’s business leaders and organizations.

The region’s natural assets such as the mountains, lakes and trees are also Grand Lake’s greatest economic assets. The destruction of the lodge pole pine by the pine bark beetle is a challenge we cannot help but think about as we witness it on a daily basis.

As the removal of the dead trees continues, I believe we must quickly begin to replant in order to restore the area prior to the arrival of the beetle. As mayor, I will seek out working relationships with volunteer organizations such as Volunteer Outdoor Colorado and promote eco-tourism in order to achieve my goal of planting five trees for every tree that is removed. Already, organizations such as the Grand Lake Chamber of Commerce are seeking corporate sponsors to help providing funding for initiatives that promote eco-tourism and as mayor, I will support all programs beneficial to Town that help to restore our forest.

Trustee candidates

Benton Johnson (write-in candidate)

How long have you lived in Grand Lake?

2 years

Q. What role should the town council play to ensure water quality in Grand Lake is protected and improved for generations to come?

A. I believe the greatest concern for water contamination comes from town runoff. A catch area and filtration system could be but in place to ensure the quality of water coming from runoff is above standard. If constructed properly this system could also improve and aid in a concern which will grow as the town grows, and that is snow removal.

Q. What would you do to ensure the channels of communication remain open with other entities, such as but not limited to: the Grand Lake Chamber of Commerce, Rocky Mountain Park, the county and Granby?

A. The No. 1 thing that anyone can do to increase communication is to open your ears and mind to what the people are telling you. It doesn’t matter if it’s an organization, another town or just John Doe on the street comer, it’s your responsibility as a public servant to listen and understand what the people want. This position is not for anyone with a personal agenda. The only agenda you should be concerned with is making the town and community a better place to live, work, and visit.

Q. It’s been reported that the Grand Lake area is comprised of 75 to 80 percent second homes. What do you think the town should do to address attainable housing so that the year-round workforce may continue to live here?

A. Grand Lake has a comprehensive growth plan which address this issue among other topics. However, I don’t believe we can put the cart in front of the horse. My wife and I purchased The Bears Den three years ago. We maintain an average of 22 employees from June to the first of September and the number decreases to five through the slowest times. Even with just five employees the average work week would be 30 hours or less during this period. Servers feel the biggest impact due to the fact that most of their pay comes from tips. Until we address the issue of making our industry a fun 12 months it will continue to be hard of our workforce or business owners to pay for housing.

Q. What is the solution to sustaining a recycling program in Grand Lake and to address trash removal so that businesses don’t have to foot the bill for other people’s trash in their Dumpsters?

A. I believe we are moving to a point where it is time for the local government to take over the role of managing trash removal. I’m not saying that the town needs to go out a buy garbage trucks and hire employees to go around and pick up our trash for us. I feel that we as individuals are limited in the control we have; however, the local government can play the role of system regulator, manager, educator, intervener and facilitator. This would help in creating a working and sustainable recycling economy. We could accomplish our purpose by adopting policies and incentives to reward those who are achieving goals. The town could structure the marketplace and set minimum standards for operations, and influence pricing of services.

Even though recycling is a responsibility for everyone, I believe the town has the ability to accomplish these goals in a shorter and more efficient manner.

Q. If elected, what do you want to have accomplished when your term is completed?

A. A more united Grand Lake.

Gary Gates

Q. What role should the town council play to ensure water quality in Grand Lake is protected and improved for generations to come?

A. At this juncture in my campaign I am to understand that town is currently doing all that it can to ensure the quality of the body of water. Whenever waters are pumped in from several other sources to a natural lake there are always going to be concerns.

Q. What would you do to ensure the channels of communication remain open with other entities, such as but not limited to: the Grand Lake Chamber of Commerce, Rocky Mountain National Park, the county and Granby?

A. From what I have seen there is all ready limited communications and rather than have the respective hands pointing at each other I would fight to see our hands together to unite in protecting the way of life many of us have come to know and love.

Q. It’s been reported that the Grand Lake area is comprised of 75 to 80 percent second homes. What do you think the town should do to address attainable housing so that the year-round workforce may continue to live here?

A. We are dealing with two issues here, not just one. There is no per say year-round work force in so much as many of the businesses in Grand Lake are closed a high percentage of the year. When they are open it is during high season with a vast selection of workers taking up temporary housing and or mom and pop working the business.

Q. What is the solution to sustaining a recycling program in Grand Lake and to address trash removal so that businesses don’t have to foot the bill for other people’s trash in their Dumpsters?

A. In as much as I know, there are several issues regarding the recycling center. Most stem from lack of communication between the owners of the recycling center, the town as well as the county. I believe once an open line of communication is established all issues can be resolved. The town may want to look at the feasibility of having a central dump station for our seasonal trash issues again. However, being a business owner I do have a lock for my Dumpster if it personally becomes a problem. To date, it has not been a problem with my business.

Q. If elected, what do you want to have accomplished when your term is completed?

A. I would be very happy just to survive and not make too many mistakes at the onset. I have only been a resident of Grand Lake since 2003, yet I have seen a steady progression towards a ghost town rather than thriving community. As an individual, personal accomplishments are not important. As a team I only pray we can revive a wonderful community.

Kathy Lewis

How long have you lived in Grand Lake? I have lived in Grand Lake or the area for close to 20 years (I did leave for about three years after I got married and returned in 1995).

Q. What role should the town council play to ensure water quality in Grand Lake is protected and improved for generations to come?

A. The quality of water in Grand Lake is of great concern to the Town. We are currently working with Grand County Water Information Network (GCWIN) in their efforts to regulate and ensure water quality. There is also The Greater Grand Lake North Shore Homeowners Association that is closely monitoring the water and they bring us updates. We are also working with Northern Water to control the amount of water that is being pumped out of Shadow Mountain Reservoir and into Grand Lake to monitor the algae.

We are also working on securing a grant with the Department of Local Affairs to study our Water Drainage System.

Q. What would you do to ensure the channels of communication remain open with other entities, such as but not limited to: the Grand Lake Chamber of Commerce, Rocky Mountain National Park, the county and Granby?

A. It is extremely important to keep channels of communication open with all other entities. At the moment I am the town liaison to the Chamber and attend monthly meetings with them to give the town board updates on chamber happenings. We have regular updates from both the Park Service and the Forest Service. I attend regular meetings with CML (Colorado Municipal League), CAST ( Colorado Association of Ski Towns). We do invite the Rocky Mountain Rep. Theater, Grand Lake Metro. Rec. District, The Grand Lake Fire Department and Arts Council to attend meetings and have a conversation with each to hear what they are up to and if we can assist them in anyway.

Q. It’s been reported that the Grand Lake area is comprised of 75 to 80 percent second homes. What do you think the town should do to address attainable housing so that the year-round workforce may continue to live here?

A. Attainable housing has been a problem in many small mountain towns not only in Grand Lake. There are no easy answers. If we want to stay a viable community then we have to work to find affordable places for people to live. At the moment we are in the process of adopting inclusionary zoning as well as fees for new construction. We are also offering a Down Payment Assistance Program for first time home buyers. We need to keep all of our current citizens here, and we need to attract young families so that we will be able to keep our school open.

Q. What is the solution to sustaining a recycling program in Grand Lake and to address trash removal so that businesses don’t have to foot the bill for other people’s trash in their Dumpsters?

A. We are currently working on a solution to the problem of recycling in Grand Lake. At this time we are trying as hard as we can to keep our current recycling program going. Unfortunately, with raising fuel costs, it has become a problem for all of our communities in the county.

I believe that we have taken the first steps in addressing trash removal so that businesses won’t have to foot the bill by adopting the nightly rental license. This requires that all rental properties have trash disposal either on site or re dally available. I would also like to open the lines of communication with the trash companies to hear if they have any helpful solutions .

Q. If elected, what do you want to have accomplished when your term is completed?

A. If I am re-elected I would like to see attainable housing finally become a reality and not a dream. I would like to the Chamber work more closely with its members, to find way to make Grand Lake a year round destination. I would like to find a way to re-open the hardware store and also the Grand Lake Lodge. I am, and always will be, working on ways to help in the beautification of our town by being on the Green-ways Committee. I am saddened by what has happened to all of our trees, but I believe that we need to move forward and start to replant.

Joanne Jewell

How long have you lived in Grand Lake? Lived in the corporate limits two years, and prior to that, just outside of corporate limits in a second home for 15 years.

Q. What role should the town council play to ensure water quality in Grand Lake is protected and improved for generations to come?

A. If you don’t know this already, who owns the Lake has been in question and under investigation for over 20 years. At this point the town is supporting the Grand County Information Network and the water is being tested. More involvement will be necessary in the future with the federal government and other entities that claim and use the lake and its water. It’s a Colorado treasure and I would like to see our state legislators become MORE aware and involved in its current condition.

Q. What would you do to ensure the channels of communication remain open with other entities, such as but not limited to: the Grand Lake Chamber of Commerce, Rocky Mountain National Park, the county and Granby?

A. I have always felt that communication is the key to cooperation. Making and sharing information is key. Working on a process to communicate yearly goals, sharing information on those goals and identifying how to assist in manpower/funding in those areas of joint interest. Information and its distribution is key here.

Q. It’s been reported that the Grand Lake area is comprised of 75 to 80 percent second homes. What do you think the town should do to address attainable housing so that the year-round workforce may continue to live here?

A. First, we need to define the term “attainable.” The current, both national and county, economical situation is a major concern. My understanding is the town is currently charging developers/builders a per square foot dollar value to be used for “attainable” housing. If this is a number one priority in the Grand Lake community, then we probably need to rethink and relax some of the zoning to entice more development in the town.

Q. What is the solution to sustaining a recycling program in Grand Lake and to address trash removal so that businesses don’t have to foot the bill for other people’s trash in their Dumpsters?

A. I understand the entire county is involved in trying to find an affordable provider. As an alternative, this may be an entrepreneur opportunity where many of the residents in the county or outside the county may be willing to invest in a business to remove the refuse thus investing in the community and not being held hostage.

Q. If elected, what do you want to have accomplished when your term is completed?

A. More communication, more collaboration and a tracking mechanism for projects.

Elmer Lanzi

Q. What role should the town council play to ensure water quality in Grand Lake is protected and improved for generations to come?

A. Grand Lake is known not only by the fortunate citizens of Grand Lake Village, but by thousands of Coloradans and Colorado visitors as a jewel of nature. Pristine waters, lush forests and majestic mountains.

In my opinion, not to preserve and protect this vital legacy would be irresponsible and shortsighted. We need to ensure that future generations can enjoy the quality of life that we are fortunate enough to experience. We should pledge that we will be morally responsible ” made responsible for our consumption and use.

Q. What would you do to ensure the channels of communication remain open with other entities, such as but not limited to: the Grand Lake Chamber of Commerce, Rocky Mountain National Park, the county and Granby?

A. As a small rural community, we fortunately have the ability to discuss issues and opinions with our friends and neighbors, then arrive with diplomatic solutions that can be criticized without hostility and still maintain dignity and respect for each other. I do not know why this same formula cannot be used in dealing with entities of any description.

Q. It’s been reported that the Grand Lake area is comprised of 75 to 80 percent second homes. What do you think the town should do to address attainable housing so that the year-round workforce may continue to live here?

A. Five years ago it appeared s though the business community was in crisis to provide housing for its seasonal employees, and that moderate and medium income households would be priced out of housing in this area. However, at this time, interest rates are predicted to drop along with housing prices, but energy costs have doubled. It would be a perfect world if interest rates dropped, building costs became affordable and federal grants for energy efficient technology became available to be incorporated specifically for this category of people. They could have a real opportunity to achieve the American dream of home ownership and have a substantial investment for retirement and become rooted in our community. As for the business community that relies on affordable housing for their employees, they could take the opportunity to invest in rental property as part of their business plan, then perhaps local government could proceed to do what it is supposed to do and provide infrastructure and services that cannot be otherwise accomplished on an individual basis.

Q. What is the solution to sustaining a recycling program in Grand Lake and to address trash removal so that businesses don’t have to foot the bill for other people’s trash in their Dumpsters?

A. One solution to keep recycling in Grand Lake would be to require a trash removal license to operate in this community and require a recycle program as a condition to its issuance, but be prepared to pay higher removal costs or allow the local government to take on the responsibility of trash removal. As for discouraging people from using private Dumpsters, simply put a lock on it. If our visitors put trash on top of your locked dumpster there are substantial fines in place that, if enforced, discourages the practice.

Q. If elected, what do you want to have accomplished when your term is completed?

A. If elected, at the end of my term I would like to say that I helped to implement the 2005 master plan and that it is on schedule and has expanded its goals to include a recognized Historical Designation for the Town of Grand Lake.

Go back to article