Longtime local Santiago Lopez will be the new mayor of Dolores beginning in April. He is uncontested in the election. Lopez has served two stints as a board member, once in the late 1990s and for the past two years.
He responded to a questionnaire about his plans.
Why did you run for town mayor?I love this small town. I want to be able to give back to this wonderful community what it has given to my family for many years, and that is a safe, comfortable and enjoyable place to live. I have seen many changes take place over the years in this small town. I think the town board has done a lot over the years to make this the wonderful community that it is, and I want to continue to be a part of that process.
What experience do you bring to the table?I served on the town board in the late 1990s as a trustee, and came on to the board two years ago as an appointed trustee. I have the experience of serving on the board currently, and in the past. I have also served on various nonprofit boards locally, regionally and statewide throughout the years. I was a former president of our local Dolores High School/Middle School Booster Club for three years. Those were three very successful years raising funds, working with parents, students, faculty and the school administration. It’s wonderful to see the booster club still going strong today. I am the current president for the Dolores High School All School Reunion Committee. The reunion is held every five years. We just completed a successful reunion in 2015! I also volunteer once a month during the summer months at our local Dolores Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center. This keeps me in the “know” of what’s happening in our community and surrounding areas.
What is your occupation? Age?I am currently disabled/retired. Community members have asked me what is your disability? I have a disabling arthritic condition called Reiter’s syndrome, which affected me in 2001. While for some this condition is short-term, unfortunately for me it has become chronic. I have learned to live with this condition and am extremely thankful for the awesome support given to me by my family, friends, medical professionals and our community throughout the years.
I am 55 years old, and loving life!
What do you hope to accomplish as a town board member?I am running uncontested for the position of town mayor. My hope is to continue to run our board meetings efficiently and effectively. As mayor and as a board member, we are here for our community. We have an awesome office staff and maintenance crew. We need to make sure that they are being taken care of and have all the necessary things they need to continue to do their jobs well.
I want us to work closely with all the entities that make our town the wonderful community that it is. Our Planning and Zoning Committee, the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office and our Dolores Fire Protection District do an excellent job protecting and serving our community. Equally important is working together with the Dolores School District Re-4A, the Dolores Public Library, The Galloping Goose Historical Society, The Dolores Chamber of Commerce, the Dolores Rotary Club, Dolores Community Center Board, Greater Dolores Action, our senior citizens and youths of our community, our churches and businesses, and the many committees and groups that make up our town.
What has Dolores town government done well in recent years?I think Dolores town government has done well in addressing some needed changes to some of our ordinances. One such ordinance was the parking of vehicles, especially during the winter months. Our maintenance crew has to plow the streets and needed residents to park parallel. We addressed the issue, had public meetings, and the ordinance was amended to meet the needs of our community and staff. We have to be proud of the town shop on the west end of town. This past fall, we had to tear down the Dolores Clubhouse in Joe Rowell Park due to deterioration and it being an unsafe building. The sidewalks put in over the last couple of years by the Colorado Department of Transportation have helped for pedestrian walkways and much-needed drainage issues. I am pleased with our new emergency plan we have in place. Getting the trail on the west end of town by the old cemetery, with the hopes that one day it will connect to the Boggy Draw trails.
In what ways do you think town government could improve Dolores?We are excited and pleased to report that we were awarded a $108,083.00 grant from the Department of Local Affairs for a sewer-sludge removal project and water-system upgrade.
We are also pleased to report that we joined Montezuma County on a plan to deliver broadband Internet service to the area. We also agreed to ask voters to opt out of Senate Bill 152 in November. This is a law that limits what governments can do in the telecommunication industry.
Our infrastructure continues to be looked at, upgraded and maintained. I would like us to work closely with Planning and Zoning, address the Comprehensive Plan and make the necessary changes as needed and amended.
Do you have a vision for the future of Dolores?I would like for us to work closely with the above mentioned groups and entities. With all of us working together, we can improve and make our community a more viable and sustainable one. Let’s make this a tourist destination, and not just a drive-through town. Let’s get businesses here, but not just for the sake of getting them here, but what can we as a community do to retain them. It does take a village for this work. I believe in our community and all of its wonderful members. Together we can accomplish much. United we stand, divided we fall!
It takes all of us working together to make our Dolores community “The Best Little Town in the West.”