Name: Paul D. Ogg
Candidate website: paulogg.org
Relevant leadership or community experience: Four years as a member of the Town of Erie Board of Trustees.
What are the top three issues for Erie in the coming years? What is your plan for fixing/dealing with those issues?
Economic Development: The next Board needs to aggressively secure the long-term economic future of our community. With our newly formed Urban Renewal Authority, the Town of Erie now has a very powerful tool to encourage commercial development. The good news is that the dollars the URA will use to stimulate development will *not* come from the Town of Erie or the pockets of current residents.
Solidifying our Borders: The Town of Erie has lost important retail corners on our southeast (to Broomfield), northeast (to Frederick), and west (to Boulder County). It’s time for Erie voters to elect representatives who will creatively and aggressively pursue properties needed for our long-term financial security.
Trails & Open Space: The Town of Erie has built a tremendous asset in the trail network used by so many of our community members. We all owe the longtime members of OSTAB (Open Space and Trails Board) a huge round of applause. In the next few years, we have the opportunity to connect our trail network to the last of our isolated neighborhoods and to trail networks in other communities.
Are you concerned about health impacts of hydraulic fracturing in Erie? If so, what would you do about it as a trustee? I am deeply concerned about the health impacts of oil and gas operations in our area. My primary concern is the impact of emissions on air quality. Town staff is just learning of recently developed technologies that could significantly reduce, and perhaps eliminate, emissions from well sites. I hope to work cooperatively with oil and gas operators in Erie to bring this technology to future and existing well sites.
Because our water supply comes from mountain run-off, not aquifers, fracking contamination of our drinking water is less of a concern than emissions are to our health. Erie must continue to push oil and gas operators to reduce other impacts (such as light, noise, and traffic) of their heavy industrial activities.
Where should old town Erie fit in the town’s economic development efforts? The historic old town of Erie is the important cultural center of our community. K2 Coffee, the Farmer’s Market, and recently established art scene are seeds of a vibe that I’d like to see grow. In addition, the Historic Preservation Board has done an outstanding job creating a history tour that’s both informative and attracts citizens to old town. Town sponsored cultural and family events should occur in old town Erie as much as practical.
Specifically, what should the trustees do to ensure old town and its businesses thrive? Trustees Grassi and Gruber are doing a fantastic job facilitating communication between the Town Board and old town stakeholders. Renewal of the lease for the Arts Coalition of Erie will be an issue faced by our next Board of Trustees. Coal Creek Park is due for improvements that will increase recreational programming in our park and will draw more of our citizens into our cultural center. Previous Boards have discussed the possibility of building an Interpretive Center at the center of our trail network near old town that will offer residents the opportunity to learn the natural and cultural history of our community.
The Board of Trustees has an opportunity to connect Cheesman Street in our historic old town with the new Bridgewater development by means of a bridge across Coal Creek. A direct connection to old town from the east will increase ease of access forour businesses.
Where do you stand on subsidization of the Erie municipal airport? Erie Municipal Airport should remain a self-sustaining operation. About a year ago, the Town of Erie signed a long-term contract with an airport management company. User satisfaction appears to be at an all-time high and the finances of the airport changed overnight from a significant yearly loss to a small yearly surplus.
What are two three outcomes you would work toward in your first/next term as a trustee?
Commerical Investment in Erie: Based on typical business cycles, the next economic downturn will occur in 8 to 10 years. We need commercial investment early in this current economic uptick in order to have new sales tax revenues established for Boards elected during these future down years. Primary employment will allow our citizens to work close to home and spur retail development. Retail outlets are locations of primary employment, provide services for our citizens, and also fill Town coffers with sales tax dollars.
Further Develop Erie’s Quality Amenities: While commercial development is an important thrust in the few years, we must continue to develop quality amenities appreciated by Erie citizens. We must extend our trail network to isolated portions of Town to both offer more destinations and connect citizens currently unable to access the trail network. Our Community Park needs to be completed with family friendly features suitable for bringing our community together. Our children are quickly growing up and new additions to our parks need to provide additional recreation opportunities for teens and older youth.
Oil & Gas Operations More Amenable to Concerns of Erie Citizens: Recent educational efforts by some of our community members have highlighted the need lessen negative impacts of oil & gas operations in our community. Our next Town Board needs to a) work cooperatively with local operators to obtain compliance to standards higher than currently mandated by the State and Federal governments, b) express the concerns of our citizens to regulatory bodies and elected officials, and c) explore creative opportunities to apply authorities granted to the Town of Erie in new ways.