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Resident enters county race

Jeff Fry backs gravel pit; opposes justice center costs, land swap

Susan Cunningham

The county’s decision to build a $15.5 million county justice center in an already tight budget year was just one reason Routt County resident Jeff Fry, 45, decided to run for a seat on the Board of County Commissioners.

Fry, who has lived in the county for 39 years, announced this week he will run for the District 2 seat representing West and North Routt County held by Doug Monger. Fry and his wife and three children live on a small ranch and have a cow-calf operation north of Hayden.

“All (the county’s) money is going to the courthouse, which is wrong,” Fry said.

Fry said that while he fully supports building a new courthouse, he thinks the cost should be capped or the size of the building should be decreased to keep costs lower.

“I’ve seen water leaking through the roof and plaster falling off (at the current courthouse), so I definitely support that we need a new one,” Fry said. “But at what cost?”

Some funds being spent on the new courthouse could be used to maintain roads across the county with good winter plowing, graveling and new maintenance equipment, he said.

Other issues that Fry said are important to him include supporting a gravel pit proposed last year by Lafarge West Inc. six miles south of Steamboat Springs on Colorado Highway 131, as well as funding to fight grasshopper and Mormon cricket infestations.

Having a gravel pit in South Routt County could drastically cut down on costs and time spent hauling gravel to the area, Fry said.

Fry, who has worked in construction all of his life and owns his own excavation company, Bears Ears Excavation Inc., said a new pit would increase competition and so lower gravel prices.

Fry also said he opposes the proposed Emerald Mountain land swap, a proposed three-way transaction in which the State Land Board would hand over the 6,345-acre Emerald Mountain to the Bureau of Land Management for the money generated from the sale to private owners of scattered BLM parcels totaling 14,800 acres.

Routt County Commissioner Doug Monger, who announced he would run for a second term in the District 2 seat Monday, resigned from the Emerald Mountain Partnership board of directors last fall.

“I think taking away people’s land to purchase the Emerald Mountain property is wrong,” Fry said.

Fry added that he would be a good candidate because he would use common sense and his experience to make good decisions.

“Special interest groups are not going to dictate my decisions,” Fry said. “Common sense should dictate what you do, and not special interest groups.”

Routt County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak, who is recovering from life-threatening kidney failure and infections in a Denver hospital, announced last week she would seek re-election to continue to represent South Routt County.

Party caucuses will be held April 13. People interested in running may call the Routt County Clerk’s Office at 870-5556 for information.

— To reach Susan Bacon, call 871-4203

or e-mail sbacon@steamboatpilot.com


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