New board up for grabs

Posted 3/26/10

Town of Elizabeth eligible voters will soon be voting on a new mayor and the members of the Elizabeth Board of Trustee. There are five of the six …

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New board up for grabs


Town of Elizabeth eligible voters will soon be voting on a new mayor and the members of the Elizabeth Board of Trustee.

There are five of the six seats on the board open. Six people are running for the open positions and the top three candidates with the most votes will earn a four-year term and the two candidates receiving the next highest number of votes will earn a two-year term.

The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on election day, April 6 and voters can cast their votes at Elizabeth Town Hall located at 321 South Banner St.

Clay Hurst

Clay Hurst is running for the Elizabeth mayor position. He has lived within town limits for seven years, but has been part of the community for 13 years. Hurst received his Doctorate of law from the University of Denver, College of Law and also has his bachelor’s degree in science.

Clay is the owner and attorney of H. Clay Hurst & Associates, P.C., and is also a contract attorney for the State of Colorado and represents indigent families, abused and neglected children in the 18th judicial district. He also has served as prosecutor for the Town of Kiowa for the last 12 years. For the past six years he has served as an Elizabeth trustee, including two years as the Mayor Pro Tem and has been the vice president of the Colorado Municipal League’s District 5 and is currently the Elbert County elected municipal representative on the State of Colorado Water Board and South Platte Water Roundtable Board.

Why are you running for Mayor?

I believe in supporting your community through public service. I initially ran for Town Trustee 6 years ago. I have enjoyed serving the town of Elizabeth in that capacity, working to improve the town and the services it provides. I am a strong leader with experience. I want to lead this community into the 21st century with the goal of being fiscally responsible while providing the best services and infrastructure we can afford. I want to encourage the citizens of our town to become more involved and create a real sense of community.

What are your primary goals as mayor?

I am for fiscally responsible government; to make sure all our citizens are served with reasonable, safe, up-to-date services that provide a secure, healthy quality of life. I have chosen to scrupulously work towards the betterment of our town while balancing the current needs of our community with our long-term future. Over the last 6 years I have been a part of putting in a new wastewater plant that meets the state’s requirements under regulatory guidelines. This ended the towns risk of continual sanctions and fines imposed against the town by the State of Colorado. I want to continue to serve this community and work in the town’s best interest by making responsible decisions for our town. I believe we can and should always strive to do our very best.

What is your position on the medical marijuana issue? I understand the medical benefits marijuana provides certain people and appreciate the state’s intent to make use for those people legal. I have also represented clients who have a legitimate need for using it and have seen the medical benefits they receive from its use. With that said I believe it needs to be appropriately regulated. Currently the State Legislator is working on how to regulate use and distribution of marijuana. I will support what they ultimately determine to be in the state and local communities’ best interest.

Economic development? Our Community struggles to maintain a competitive advantage in the rapidly changing economy and from larger competing municipalities like Castle Rock and Parker. Therefore, we as community leaders must come up with well-informed economic development strategies to assure the town’s continued prosperity and survival. By planning for the future by reserving appropriate rights of way, water rights and parcels of land that are reasonably anticipated as being future commercial development, we hope to assure economic development in the future. We must also have a comprehensive plan, a vision that fosters public and private investments that can provide employment opportunities for our local citizens.

The town budget?

A small town must operate efficiently, economically and effectively. The town is required to operate on a balanced budget by state law. Since I have been elected, we have changed the way the Town is budgeted. We have reversed the budget problems; we have balanced it so that we are no longer operating in the red but operating within budget, ending each year fiscally sound. We must encourage more local retailers to operate in town. In turn our citizens must be willing to support local establishments. We as public servants must work in the community’s best interest by providing responsible, economically feasible services to our citizens.

Gary Bégin

Gary Bégin is running for the position of Elizabeth mayor and has lived in Elizabeth for the past five years. He is married and raised five children and is a United State Marine Corps veteran. He received his undergraduate degree in English Literature and his graduate public administration.

Previous public service includes former town council member for Elizabeth, former Board member for the American Red Cross in Nevada, a former postal worker, former volunteer Habitat For Humanity, Lions Club, Methodist Mens Club and a former foster parent and mentor in Elbert County.

Why are you running for Mayor?

Elizabeth government needs a fiscally conservative way of thinking. I will try to stop wasteful spending and lower taxes, fees and water bills and eventually have the police interface with the citizens, not just at traffic stops. I want to eliminate school resource officers and let the school system or county sheriff handle it since most kids are county residents, not Elizabeth residents.

What are your primary goals as a mayor?

Stop wasteful spending, sell the Smoky Jacks/Gesins property, eliminate all wasteful memberships in organizations like the Colorado Municipal League and associated trips, reduce the police budget, lower water bills and motivate new residential and business growth with reduced taxes and fees.

What is your position on the medical marijuana issue? Tax it as heavily or more as cigarettes and alcohol and enforce DUI laws for marijuana the same as for alcohol and have enforced age limits on its use, perhaps 18-21. Keep all dispensaries away from schools, playgrounds, etc. Have the marijuana growing strictly domestic and regulated as well. Kick back any “in-town” dispensary’s taxes to the town for general fund use.

Economic development?

Let the laws of the market dictate natural growth rather than trying to force the issue by buying dilapidated buildings with taxpayer funds. Give all new and existing businesses tax breaks, tap and sewer fee breaks, lower the Elizabeth sales tax and allow signage that actually is large enough to attract customers from off of Hwy 86. Eliminate the so-called economic development board meant to serve just a handful of absentee owners and non-resident owners.

The town budget? Reduce the police budget significantly, put a freeze on all salary and wage increases, sell Gesins/Smoky Jacks immediately and use the proceeds to give the citizens free water for six months or however long it lasts. Sell excess police vehicles and also have more cops on bicycle and foot patrol to enhance the small town atmosphere most folks seem to want (in nice weather). This allows more personal touch between cops and citizens.

Cynthia Nunnelee

Cynthia Nunnelee is running for an Elizabeth Board of Trustee position. She has lived in Elizabeth since 1981. She has a bachelors’’ degrees in English and a mater’s degree in counseling and guidance. She had taught English at Elizabeth High School for 19 years and is now retired, but continues to substitute teach and teach part-time at the University of Phoenix.

She was appointed to Elizabeth Town Council in December 2009 and has served as a member of the Elbert County Child Protection Team for 20years.

Why are you running for a position on the Elizabeth Board of Trustees?

It is too easy to assume someone else will step up and make decisions about the town in which we live. I like Elizabeth and I want to do my part to keep this town a good place to live and raise families.

What are your primary goals as a board member?

I want to encourage others to make their voices heard; I want to help make intelligent decisions about growth and I would like to see more opportunities for people to come together in a small town atmosphere and become a more cohesive town.

What is your position on the medical marijuana issue? This is an issue that is confounding the state legislature, federal officials and the town. I believe that we must be careful to not keep those who legitimately need marijuana from being able to access this drug. We should abide by the decisions that are made by the electorate regardless of our personal opinions.

Economic development? Economic growth and development are necessary to keep our town economy healthy. We need to be open to development and willing to discuss options in order to keep the growth in line with the needs of the town residents and the ability of the town to serve the community entirely, both old and new.

The town budget?

Things are tight in today's economy, and the town is very aware of spending limits and needs. With that in mind, we do need to continue to watch spending but spend tax dollars appropriately. My impression is that our city staff works hard at utilizing the town's resources carefully

Diana Robins

Diana Robins is running for an Elizabeth Board of Trustee position. She has lived in Elizabeth for 27 years. She is married and has three sons. For the past 24 years, she has been an employee for Qwest and she currently works in the IT department as the lead software development engineer. Diana was appointed as an Elizabeth Town Board Trustee in January 2009 and was elected in the board in 1998 and served until 2002. She also was appointed as a member of the Elizabeth Town Planning Commission in 1997 and served until 1998.

Why are you running for a position on the Elizabeth Board of Trustees?

It is my love for our community and the people in the town of Elizabeth that made me want to take an active role in our town’s government.

What are your primary goals as a board member?

Cutting town expenses. Tighten the "purse strings" in the town budget and promote stronger economic base to provide more jobs in our community while still keeping its rural look and feel. Encouraging communication between town government, citizens and business community. Keeping our Town Mission Statement a reality.

What is your position on the medical marijuana issue?

No comment at this time. Town of Elizabeth currently has a 120 day moratorium for Medical Marijuana Dispensaries. Thus allowing the Town Board the necessary time to gather all additional information so the best possible decision can be made for our community as a whole.

Economic development?

Promote a stronger economic base to provide more jobs in our community while still keeping its rural look and feel

The town budget?

Need to tighten the "purse strings" in the Town budget. I see several areas where the town could save money, yet still provide us all a quality place to live.

Susette Frausto

Susette Frausto is running for an open position on the Elizabeth Board of Trustees. She has lived in Elizabeth for 11 years and is married with a son and is to be a grandparent. Her educational background includes some college and her professional background is in food and beverage and public relations.

Susette has one year of experience on the Elizabeth Planning Commission before she was elected to the Elizabeth Board of Trustees in 2004. She has been a trustee for six years and has served as mayor pro tem since 2008. For the past two years she has been a member of the Colorado Municipal League's Executive Board being the only representative for the Eastern Plains region. She also serves on six CML committees to stay current on legislative, water, sewer, energy and municipal issues that impact the community.

Why are you running for a position on the Elizabeth Board of Trustees?

Being a trustee allows me the opportunity to be an active participant in the legislative process that will shape the future residential and economic growth of our community. This position requires a considerable commitment of time and energy and I have demonstrated that dedication during my past six years as a trustee and wish to continue to serve my community.

What are your primary goals as a board member?

I believe it is vital to serve with integrity and consistency to ensure that the decisions made are in the best interests of our community as a whole. I will continue to be accessible to the citizens and be a good listener to their ideas and concerns. To that end, I believe we need to focus on maintaining a balanced budget, encourage economic development, complete the Design Standards and Guidelines document and to revise some of our current zoning & planning codes.

What is your position on the medical marijuana issue?

I voted to support the town's moratorium on not allowing any medical marijuana dispensaries within the town limits at this time. There are too many unanswered questions that need to be addressed by the state legislature on this issue. Such as, determining what licensing procedures for both dispensaries and caregivers will be at both the state and local government levels and what regulations for such facilities will be required. Also, will local municipalities and counties have the ability to impose requirements beyond the state statute through their zoning, health, public safety and general public welfare authority to ensure that their community's best interests are protected.

Economic development?

Our goal is to encourage economic development that will provide necessary services and resources, as well as employment opportunities to our Community. We need to provide an environment that encourages businesses to establish in Elizabeth, while still maintaining our small town atmosphere. We are currently in the process of developing a Design Standards and Guidelines, which will enable developers to know what the Town of Elizabeth expects.

The town budget?

The town Budget is one of the toughest issues that the Board of Trustees deals with annually. Our goal is to determine what the community needs and wants, what it is willing and able to pay, and what services it can expect to receive for its tax dollars. We hold several budget workshops every fall, open to the public, and carefully scrutinize each department's budgetary requirements and the town's financial resources. I feel that working as a team is the best way to provide quality services to our residents while ensuring that the town maintains a balanced budget.

Dave Yocom, Paul Schwarzkope and Casey Elliott are also running for an open position on the Elizabeth Board of Trustees. Theses candidates did not respond with their profile information by press time.


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