Western Slope Round-Up: Drop, Chop and Slop

It was not fun to be in small government last week on the Western Slope. Read more belowParachute Pulls Plug on Parlor for Prostitution
Grand Junction Daily Sentinel–The owner of a massage parlor has filed a complaint against the town of Parachute that her business license was wrongfully revoked when she and an employee were arrested for suspected prostitution in April.

Parachute has experienced a boom of oil and gas workers in the past few years.

The attorney for the massage parlor owner is seeking to have the business owner’s license reinstated so that she can reopen her service. Allegedly the owner was unaware of any prostitution-related activity. A judge has been asked to review the town board’s record of the hearing to determine if they acted correctly.

Archuleta Axes Additional Adminstration
Durango Herald–Twenty-one more positions will be eliminated in Archuleta County’s attempt to par down its deficit. Officials are warning county residents that services and emergency response time will be slowed.

Employee positions in the 911 dispatch center, sheriff’s office, detention and investigations, administration, the treasurer’s office, planning department, engineering, road and bridge department, solid waste department, county extension office, transportation and the county fleet will be cut, saving the county about a half million dollars.

The financial crisis could last up to six years, according to county officials.

Republicans Rebuff Rep. Rose’s Request for Recall
Montrose Daily News–In an editorial last week, the Montrose Daily News questioned Rep. Ray Rose’s (R-Montrose) motives in calling for the recall of Montrose County’s only Democratic commissioner, Bill Paterson, over a contract for renovations at the local airport.

Rose ignored the fact that all three Montrose commissioners, which the majority of seats are held by Republicans, voted on the contract. The Montrose Republican Party has distanced itself from Rose’s claims of malfeasance and refuses to back the recall. Both the commissioners and Montrose Republicans have expressed concern that Rose has used the county courthouse as a setting to promote the recall.

Rose has said the recall efforts have not been political.

Oak Creek Not OK
Steamboat Pilot–Oak Creek is a town of about 1,000 near Steamboat Springs and its council is looking at a mill levy increase to keep up with expenses. The town government noted its general fund has been dwindling and its 10-year old master plan desperately needs revising. Last week, Oak Creek’s only police officer left.

One resident called Oak Creek’s situation a “crossroads” to protect the rural town’s “fierce independence” and supported the mill levy option. Currently, the general fund is being supported by enterprise funds from water, trash, sewer and electric fees. Some council people fear the mill levy will be a hard sell to the other citizens.

Supervisors Slipping Off Sinking Ship?
Grand Junction Daily Sentinel–Grand Junction City Hall has experienced an exodus of high level city officials in the past year that could lead to serious impacts, the newspaper reported.

A series of high-level resignations and retirements at City Hall since late 2005 has left a nearly perpetual vacuum at the top of Grand Junction city government, which some say could lead to a decline in the quality of city services.

The trend continued when David Varley abruptly resigned as city manager Thursday, days after he had talked about looking forward to returning to work. His departure marked the eighth time in 19 months a top city administrator has left.

Mass turnover in the upper echelons of Grand Junction’s government creates instability and uncertainty, lower employee morale and higher cost to the taxpayers, former city officials say.

“That is a lot of top leaders leaving,” said Cindy Enos-Martinez, a former mayor and City Council member and 30-year employee of Mesa County. “To me, that’s very unusual from what I’ve seen in county and city government.”

The police chief, the newly hired city manager, the fire chief, and the community development director and his replacement have left their positions.