As a 37-year resident of San Juan County, I made the decision to run for County Commission the day after attending the County Budget Meeting and Public Hearing on December 17, 2019. I already had concerns for our county, but after watching the bungled budget process, the decision to run was not difficult.
That day, I studied over 50 years of meeting minutes and 15 years of county budgets and state audit reports. I learned that it is true, the county is broke. Our General Fund reserves have been depleted from over $9,000,000 in 2014 to now nearly zero.
Over the past month, I completed a study of the 9 committees/boards that Commissioner Adams reported he is serving on. I learned how to get on each board/committee and contacted directly those I felt were critical for our county. All have processes that would allow me to continue to serve in some capacity even as a new commissioner, but to be honest, I’m not sure they are all a wise use of your tax dollars. I also studied the cost for a commissioner to be on these boards.
Using a Grama Request, I received travel expenses that had been reimbursed directly to Commissioner Adams (The response did not appear to include most hotel or flight expenses). In 2019, our tax dollars reimbursed Commissioner Adams approximately $12,000.00. As a commissioner I would review the cost of travel versus the benefit of these boards and committees, and continue only with those (such as the CIB Board) which make fiscal sense.
It is absolutely critical that we elect a commissioner who understands dollars, spending, and budgets. I have devoted 25 years of my life learning budgets, business development, and creating efficient processes as a successful executive and currently as a Chief Financial Officer. I will be a budget hawk. I am not afraid to make unpopular decisions, I will ensure your tax dollars are spent wisely, and I ask that you hold me accountable.
To make the decision to run against Bruce Adams, a 16 year incumbent, honestly still seems a little crazy. I respect Commissioner Adams as a person and for his service to this County. Some might ask, why not wait until he decides not to run? Commissioner Adams held the Chair position while most of our general fund reserves have been depleted. I do not believe we can wait another four years for a commissioner who understands the importance of spending our tax dollars and economic development within our county.
A county commissioner’s accountability to the people is critical. San Juan County does not have a separation of powers in a Commission form of government. As the Legislative and Executive Branch, commissioners have the responsibility not only to enact law through ordinance, but also to levy taxes and approve spending of tax dollars and budgets.
Elected officials have an obligation to county residents and taxpayers, to reduce government, avoid overreach of power and to ensure tax dollars are not wasted. If this doesn’t happen, we the people have the right to vote them out.
As a current City Council Member in Blanding, I understand the importance of working with other voices within your government, even when you don’t always agree. I have the ability to communicate the needs of our county and effectively share opposing ideas, so that critical work can get done.
I know both Commissioner Greyeyes and Maryboy. I have met with them on several occasions. I am a strong conservative Republican, but there are many critical decisions to be made in the next few years, such as the 2020 Census and the ability to redraw our county voting districts. These decisions will take meaningful discussions with our Democrat commissioners, and I can get this done.
I love this beautiful county. As a new commissioner, I would immediately review budgets and spending and require a review of all spending in open Commission Meetings for all residents to observe. I would continue to support our Economic Development Department.
Together, we must support our current local businesses and seek out new business which creates a well rounded economy that isn’t solely dependent on tourism. New development creates additional tax dollars that relieves the tax burden of private property owners.
I have prepared most of my life to serve San Juan County, at this time. You will see my “public servant boots” on the ground, locally, fighting for you. More information about why I am running can be found on Facebook @cherylforcommission. Please feel free to reach out to me any time. I would humbly and sincerely ask for your vote for San Juan County Commission, District 1.