Meet the 2018 Grand Lake election candidates | SkyHiNews.com

Meet the 2018 Grand Lake election candidates

Our ongoing municipal election candidate previews continue this week with the town of Grand Lake.

There are four seats open for this year’s election with eight candidates vying for terms as town trustees. The three candidates who receive the highest number of votes will be elected to four-year terms while the candidate receiving the fourth highest number of votes will be elected to a two-year term.

Candidates for this year’s election include: Dustin Barnes, Lisa Brazil, Thomas Bruton, Andy Murphy, Phyllis Price, Lance Sabo, Cindy Southway and Tom Weydert. Shawn Bruegger had initially planned to run in this year’s election but will soon be moving outside of Grand Lake’s town boundaries and as such was no longer eligible to run for town trustee. The election is scheduled for Tuesday, April 3. Voters can cast their ballots in person at Grand Lake Town Hall from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

DUSTIN BARNES

Age: 37

Please provide a short background on yourself.

I have lived in Grand County all of my life. Born in Winter Park and lived at the Winter Park/Fraser end of the valley thru elementary school then moved to Grand Lake in 1990 when my parents bought the Daven Haven Lodge. Currently owner of the Lariat Saloon (6 years)and White Buffalo Pub and Pizza (formerly Grumpy’s Saloon) 7 years.

Why did you choose to run for election?

I love this community and grew up in a time when sense of “community” was present everywhere and it seemed as though all businesses worked together in almost all aspects of economic creativity, family values, and a mutual respect for each other.

What do you think are the biggest issues facing your community?

This is not the case for everyone but in many instances it seems have lost our sense of core values, community involvement, clear understanding of our town government and their direction. Many establishments seem to be going in different directions and while we have come a long way in boosting our fall “off season” it is still VERY difficult to sustain in our village once trail ridge road closes and we become a one way in and one way out community… Basically if you are not planning to come to Grand Lake . You are not coming to Grand Lake. This winter’s lack of snowfall had a pretty big economic impact on many of our local businesses.

Another big problem like everywhere is employee housing. And I am concerned in our towns direction of developers and what they are bringing to the table for all of us. Not just themselves. I would like to believe that we are working towards community as well as economic growth.

What could you do as an elected official to help solve these issues?

I believe I have a lot to learn about town governing. In my years as a business owner I have experienced several sides of the town council. I’ve additionally experienced The problems with housing and employment of year round staff and would like to be a part of the think tank that helps to change this. I would like to be a voice of reason, and a good listener to those who come before the board with ideas, requests, and development. As far as exact ways to solve the issues I would hope to be part of a positive process.

Why should people vote for you?

Because I do care about this community that I have grown up in. I want to see us all grow with a sense of everyone succeeding. I will work to LISTEN to the people of the community and believe I would be a good person to help make us a cohesive council working towards bringing back some of the values and community that I believe in.

LISA BRAZIL

Age: 40

Please provide a short background on yourself.

I have been living in Grand lake off and on over 20 Years. I have worked in most businesses in grand lake in this time. I was the manager of EG’s Garden grill, for 7 years. Worked Lariat for 3. Including many other establishments. I have also owned a construction business and property. I consider Grand Lake my home, and its residents my family.

Why did you choose to run for election?

I decided to run for election, because, I feel that the town, has lost some of its nostalgia, most importantly, the progress and success it once had, not only for locals, but tourism.

I am concerned, and believe, from my past knowledge, of a successful community that thrived, I can bring a different, outlook and unique Ideas, that may create diversity within the board.

What do you think are the biggest issues facing your community?

The lack of affordable housing, for the employees who work in Grand Lake. I also am concerned with the increasing number of “For Sale”, signs, and empty store fronts that are continually increasing.

I also think trust within our community, is lacking, and even though improving, more can be done.

What could you do as an elected official to help solve these issues?

I love this town and I also speak my mind. My diverse history, and knowledge of this town can bring a unique outlook to other elected individuals. This may help a different strategy, to a problem, even challenge that we may face.

Why should people vote for you?

I treat everyone the same, I am an honest person, and only want the best for a community I love.

THOMAS “TOM” BRUTON SR.

Age: 61

Please provide a short background on yourself.

I was born in Norman, OK and raised in Tulsa. I moved to Colorado with my wife Jan in 1986. We have two grown married children , a son and a daughter.

I was in law-enforcement for 23 years in the Denver metro area. I did several things while in law-enforcement, working patrol, D.A.R.E. (Drug abuse resistance education) G.R.E.A.T. ( gang resistance education and training ) both being school programs, investigations, and twice as an undercover narcotics agent. I was retired do to injuries in 2012. Jan and I have been going to Grand Lake since 1988 and bought property in 2012 where at present I’m the HOA President and we love being part of the Grand Lake community.

Why did you choose to run for election?

To continue to help the Town to advance forward while working with the business owners, the voters of the Town and the community as a whole. There has also been a lot of uproar over the new municipal fee which needs to be addressed whether it’s to remove it or kept in place I think the Board needs to listen to the voters and decide from there.

What do you think are the biggest issues facing your community?

The Board of Trustee’s needs to work on their budget. I understand as I said above being the HOA President and working with our budget it can be difficult at times within the community your working with. Also with Street Scapes and other large projects going on in Grand Lake, it can be a difficult problem however it needs to be addressed and looked at closer each year forward. The housing for the workers is a huge problem. We don’t need to look at affordable housing but work force housing. Building $200,000 to $350,000 condo’s is not affordable housing for the local workers.

What could you do as an elected official to help solve these issues?

First I would look and see if it’s feasible to resend the Municipal Fee and if so I would work with the other Board member’s to do what is necessary to once again build the trust of the Town and Town’s people. The budget this year was a learning curve with the Town with Street Scapes, the new bridge and the new water tank going in. As I said above as the HOA President I know how hard a budget is however we will need to do what we can as the Board of Trustees to make sure we are on or below going forward.

Why should people vote for you?

I have several attributes that would help as an elected official. I have very good organizational skills and work well with the public. I hope my answers above speak for themselves.

ANDY MURPHY

Age: 61

Please provide a short background on yourself.

I moved to Grand Lake in 2011 to establish a business with my son Drew. Mountain Paddlers is a kayak rental business located on the beach of Grand Lake. Prior to that, I was a community banker in Leadville and Woodland Park, CO, and in my home state of Illinois. During my career, I was privileged to serve on numerous committees and boards, including Boy Scouts, Rotary Club, Loins Club, Chamber of Commerce, County Tourism, County Planning & Zoning, and City Economic Development.

Why did you choose to run for election?

There are presently four openings on the Grand Lake Board of Trustees, so there is a need to fill those leadership positions. While I have always tried to be involved in the communities in which I live, this is the first election for which I am eligible to run for office as an “in town” resident. This seems to be the best opportunity to help Grand Lake continue to implement the Master Plan that past boards have approved and take on new challenges going forward.

What do you think are the biggest issues facing your community?

Since tourism is the economic driver of Grand Lake, it is important that our local government provides a friendly environment for our existing businesses to prosper and for new businesses to want to locate here. The more places our visitors have to eat, sleep shop and play, the greater our sales tax revenue. This allows the town to improve our infrastructure, services, and amenities, which then benefits our full and part-time residents. And those businesses need great employees to succeed, so adequate housing and healthcare services to accommodate our workforce are imperative.

What could you do as an elected official to help solve these issues?

I am a pragmatic person who relies on facts and figures rather than emotions to deal with issues. With a background as a former banker and local businessperson, I will use my experience to help our town to continue its progress with infrastructure and find solutions to current and future issues that will arise. I will always encourage the community to become better informed of the workings of their local government. There are just seven members on the Board, so it is important that all our citizens be actively involved and let their voices be heard.

Why should people vote for you?

I have no personal agenda other than continuing to make Grand Lake an aesthetically pleasing, economically viable community. It is my home, where I make a living, and where I will retire (someday). No matter if you are a permanent resident or second home owner, business owner or valued employee, you deserve a government that provides the public services and amenities that you need. I will see that this is done using our resources in an efficient manner.

PHYLLIS PRICE

Age: 66

Please provide a short background on yourself.

I have lived in Grand Lake for the past ten years. My husband and I moved to Grand Lake for me to be Principal for the Grand Lake Elementary School. When the school closed we made the decision to stay in Grand Lake because we liked the area and the community. I continued to work for East Grand School District until I retired in 2014. After retiring I served as the Grand Lake School Board representative from 2014 to 2018. I considered it an honor and privilege to be able to be a voice for Grand Lake with the the East Grand School District.

I have an extensive background in Education as a teacher, administrator, literacy coordinator, and as a staff developer for teachers. During my career I have had the opportunity to implement policies, gather and study data make decisions based on the data gathered, and worked in a cooperative team setting to come to the best conclusions for solving problems and making improvements.

Why did you choose to run for election?

I chose to run for election because I love living in Grand Lake and I believe it is important to be active in my community. I would like to see Grand Lake continue to be the unique small town that it is. As we grow our town is changing and I want to make sure the changes that are occurring are the ones that will help us maintain our uniqueness and be the best choices for Grand Lake. I believe the town needs to have people involved that can dedicate the time and energy needed to make the correct decisions for Grand Lake.

What do you think are the biggest issues facing your community?

The biggest issues facing Grand Lake are budgeting, transparency, and growth.

Budget: Grand Lake is in the middle of the Streetscape project and the town needs to insure that this project is completed within budget and in a timely manner. The Town Board implemented a new municipal fee to make up for shortfalls in the budget without having a community meeting for input before implementing it. We need to reconsider this fee and make sure the community is involved in all decisions concerning the budget.

Transparency: The trust of the community has been lost because of a perceived lack of transparency with the Town Board and management.

Growth: Grand Lake is currently seeing growth in both residential and business areas. As we build and grow we need to insure that we are taking the right steps to provide the proper growth with a balance between housing, retail, and second-owner homes. We have many vacant buildings in our business area that need to be addressed to promote Grand Lake.

What could you do as an elected official to solve these issues?

To solve the budget problems I would insure that we look at how every dollar is spent by the town and if that is the best use for the money. We currently have a municipal fee that was instituted and I believe we need to reconsider this fee. Is it necessary? Is it legal? I would involve the community in any new fees that we would want to implement.

The issue of transparency is an easy one to solve. We need to follow the law and make sure we do not have “behind the door” meetings where decisions are being made without involving the community and other board members. Our community has a lack of trust in the Town Board and management and this needs to be addressed to insure that the community members feel that their voice is heard and respected.

Growth is a major issue because we are limited on how much growth we can have. I would want to look at the type of growth the community needs and wants and insure that whatever growth occurs is the best for our community.

Why should people vote for you?

I will bring dedication, integrity, and fairness to the Town Board. I will earn your trust by listening to individuals and their concerns about the town and will share these concerns with the other members of the Town Board. I have learned that it is important to look at all issues from many different viewpoints before making decisions.

LANCE SABO

Age: 73

Please provide a short background on yourself.

Born and raised in southwest Kansas, I have been coming to Grand Lake since I was 5 years old. In 1981 my wife and I were invited by Elaine Busse to Winding River Ranch. We put on Endurance Horse Programs as we had been doing in Arizona.

I attended college in Nebraska, Texas and Kansas. From 1965 to 1968 I was a medic in the U. S. Army. Later I re-entered college, in Minnesota and graduated in 1970 with a degree in Medical Technology. I married my wife Cindy 47 years ago in the final year of college and we moved to Mesa, Arizona. We started medical laboratories and radiology clinics. Our business flourished and grew to over 100 employees.

We found that we had a knack to start and build successful businesses. In 1981, we started an apparel business specializing in computerized embroidery. At the same time we began an association advising others on how to build successful businesses. Our apparel business included work for Nike Golf, the NBA as well as most college bowl games. During the early 1990’s our association grew to over 2000 members. Our businesses continued to grow and in 1997 we sold all our businesses and retired.

In 2000 we purchased the Northern Exposure building in Grand Lake that is now The Fat Cat. At that time, it had been closed for 9 years and we had the opportunity to once again try something new. The building had a restaurant on the second floor and a gift shop on the boardwalk level. During the winter, we converted the building to have the kitchen and restaurant on the ground floor and built a residence on the second floor. We operated the restaurant for several years and sold the building in 2004.

During all these years we built our own homes and log cabins in Arizona and in 2010 sold everything, purchased a motorhome and traveled full time across the US, Canada and Alaska, In 2012 while driving through Steamboat Springs to Grand Lake we felt we had returned home. We found prices at a new level, purchased and began renovation of our current home.

Why did you choose to run for election?

I decided to run for office because we have always been very involved in the community where we lived. In Grand Lake almost immediately we began attending the bi-monthly town meetings. After a year, I decided it would be something I would be interested in and could hopefully provide some input to the Town Board of Trustees.

In addition to being elected to the Board of Trustees in 2014 I was also appointed to the Planning Commission.

However, after 3 years on the Board I began to realize there were ethics that were not being followed. I began to see things differently than some of the other trustees and no matter how I tried to explain my opinions things just did not change. I decided that I could not be on a Board that was going in a direction I felt inappropriate and resigned my position in early 2017.

Now a year later I find myself in an entirely new light. I have a better grasp on what is required, what is appropriate and what is not and rather than resign I would fight to make sure the rules are followed. The town has the opportunity to elect 4 new trustees that can determine which direction the town will go. I will work to unite the Board, follow the rules, keep all citizens aware of what is going on in the town, seek their input and make sure the citizens will benefit.

What do you think are the biggest issues facing your community?

There are some very serious challenges ahead. The citizens are being saddled with a Municipal Fee I feel was inappropriately imposed and will attempt to have it rescinded. The town has recently received a letter from TABOR ( taxpayers bill of rights) stating this fee was incorrectly imposed and in addition it is really a tax for which the citizens had the right to speak at a Public Hearing that was not held.

One other consideration is a recent letter the Town received from the Office of the Colorado State Auditor. In that letter, they express their concern for the fact that Grand Lake “has missed one or more fiscal health benchmarks over the most recent three-year period.” This demonstrates to me that spending of town funds are out of control.

What could you do as an elected official to help solve these issues?

In the last year I have studied and learned a great deal on trustee duties and other ways to accomplish goals for the town. My concerns have convinced me to run for the office of Town Trustee in an attempt to help get Grand Lake back on track with a balanced budget, sound spending and complete transparency of all town functions.

I feel my past has proven my ability to understand, plan and operate with a balanced budget. To make sure the town develops a budget based upon the town’s current revenue, rather than develop a budget that requires citizens to reach into their pockets for more money.

Why should people vote for you?

Most importantly, I will always make sure the citizens of Grand Lake will know what is going on in the many facets of Town Management. I will always do my best to make sure all codes are followed and exacted equally and fairly to all citizens. I will always find time to listen to citizens and be their voice in the town. For these reasons I hope you will vote for me in the coming election.

CINDY SOUTHWAY

Age: Did not provide

Please provide a short background on yourself.

I have lived in the Town of Grand Lake for 23 years. I have a small business in town and am non-profit bookkeeper. I have also been involved with water projects, government entities and environmental regulations. I have served in the past as the Chairman of the Grand Lake Board of Adjustments and am currently serving as the Grand Lake Representative and Vice –President of the Grand County Open Lands, Rivers and Trails Committee.

Why did you choose to run for election?

I am a bookkeeper by trade and create & read financial statements for a living. I think the Town of Grand Lake could benefit from my skill sets on the Board of Trustees at this time.

What do you think are the biggest issues facing your community?

Operating within a balanced budget with no need for municipal fees. Completing current projects with as little disturbance as possible to businesses, residents and visitors. Maintaining infrastructure in good shape in both the summer & winter. Continuing to move forward with town improvements. Keeping abreast of water issues and protecting our lake.

What could you do as an elected official to help solve these issues?

I am interested in keeping our community a good place to live. If elected, I will make decisions that promote Grand Lake and keep us moving in a positive direction. I look forward to helping the Town of Grand Lake with budgeting issues and also moving forward with county-wide improvements/solutions to transportation and housing.

Why should people vote for you?

I am respectful of other people’s opinions and will listen to both sides of an issue. I am not afraid to voice my opinion, even when others do not agree. I have lived in Grand Lake since 1994 and know a lot of the history behind town policies and decisions. I have owned a small business in Grand Lake for 20 years. I understand the challenges of being in business in Grand Lake.

TOM WEYDERT

Age: Did not provide

Please provide a short background on yourself.

My wife Kathy and I have lived in Grand Lake for 31 years. We have raised our family here, our children were 4, 6, & 8 when we moved from Denver. We built and operated Grand Lake Lanes for 14 years. I have been employed with the County since 2001 and my wife and mother in law have a women’s clothing store in Grand Lake.

Why did you choose to run for election

Having previously been on the Town Board for many years, I am very concerned with the direction the current Town management has taken. This is not the way civic participation is supposed to work. Implementing the Municipal Fee without public hearings is insulting to the town people and cannot be justified in any manner. I feel there needs to be more oversight and supervision for the multi-million dollar streetscape project as well as normal town governance.

What do you think are the biggest issues facing your community?

Lack of Transparency. This is perhaps the main reason I am running for the town Board. IT IS IMPERATIVE TO HAVE TRANSPARENCY. The town is small enough that we could practically notify all interested parties individually. In regards to the Municipal Fee, to claim that “it was posted” is an insult, and it is not the history of how the town has behaved in the past. To claim that it had to be done to finalize the budget is also insulting, in that there never was the urgency that is now being claimed. We should always error on allowing too much time rather than trying to rush something through before the end of the year or budget cycle.

Financial responsibility. I am concerned with the financial oversight (or apparent lack thereof) in regards to our multi-year, multi-million dollar streetscape project. It appears that already we have incurred cost overruns just during the beginning phase.

Housing. Affordable and obtainable housing is an issue not only in Grand Lake, but throughout the County.

What can you do as an elected official to help solve these issues.

I am pleased and encouraged that the Town has decided to co-op with other Towns and the County to do a housing assessment. We need to continue to explore public-private partnerships. We should look at affordable housing similar to what has been successfully accomplished through the town of Winter Park. We should consider to make it more restrictive to residents/workforce within either the Town or within the 3 Lakes community. Income qualifications should be tailored to our community and we should also discuss potential deed restrictions.

I would recommend that the Town be cautious in new development. While there are new projects currently being planned, I would look very closely to the cost/benefit analysis, such as truly affordable/attainable housing. While VRBO/nightly rentals are very popular right now, they are aggravating and not addressing our current long term and permanent housing situation. It is only because of the forward thinking when I was previously on the Board, that the Town currently has monies set aside for affordable housing and has land available that could be used for such a project.

Our greatest asset and perhaps one of our weaknesses is our expanded community. We need to recognize that the majority of our business owners do not live in town and therefore do not get a vote. We have in the past and we should again, reach out to engage the entire community, not just those within the town limits.

Why should people vote for you?

As I mentioned in the very first question, I have strong and deep roots in the community. I care very much how the Town is going to survive and grow. Having previously been on the Board I am well aware of the time commitment required to be a part of a successful Board. I am adamant that we follow the existing developer regulations, follow our code enforcement regulations, and that we are held accountable to our citizens. I believe in full transparency.


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