Cortez, a City in Recall, is a five-part series spotlighting four Cortez city councilors and the mayor whom opponents are seeking to oust through a May 3 recall election. Todays story is the final installment.
By Reid Wright
Journal Staff Writer
Cortez City Councilor Matt Keefauver describes the councils work in the last few years as progressive.
Weve kept the future of Cortez in mind, he said, adding he is proud of the updating of the citys comprehensive plan. I think that was a big accomplishment and we had a lot of public input on that. I think weve really listened to the public in terms of where theyd like to see Cortez go in the future.
Keefauver is one of five elected officials facing possible recall in a May 3. election. He said he feels he should be retained because he has proven to the residents of Cortez that he is interested in their well being.
I feel like Ive represented the citizens of Cortez well, he said. I feel like Ive been available to listen to them and I would continue to do so.
Keefauver cites completion of the micro-hydroelectric plant, solar panels on the recreation center and bike lanes as accomplishments of the city council.
Besides his nearly five years on the council, Keefauver said he has experience working with non-profit organizations since he was 18 most recently including volunteer work for the Cortez Cultural Center, presiding on the board of Cortez Addiction Recovery Services, several humane societies and work with the Western Colorado AIDS Project.
He said he was invited to speak to the Governors AIDS Advisory Council of Colorado about fund-raising in rural Colorado.
We raised so much money, we were kind of a model for the rest of the state, he said.
Lastly, Keefauver is employed as a school teacher.
I meet families and I know when people are struggling and when people are doing well. I feel like that gives me a pulse on how things are functioning in the community.
In July of 2010, Keefauver voted against Councilor Tom Butlers motion to send the issue of allowing medical marijuana dispensaries to the ballot for voters to decide.
He said he decided the best course of action was to allow dispensaries in city limits because they are easier to keep track of than individual caregivers.
Medical marijuana facilities are licensed and caregivers arent registered and arent licensed and so to me its better to keep track of a handful of dispensaries than it is to keep track of the huge number of caregivers needed to take their place, he said. It wasnt an issue as to whether or not medical marijuana would be legal, its an issue of how people obtain their medical marijuana. And Id much rather see them obtain it from a licensed facility than from an unlicensed caregiver.
In 2008, Keefauver joined Councilor Donna Foster in voting against the controversial measure to fund the extension of Tucker Lane through the Flaugh-Clark subdivision into the neighboring Brandons Gate Subdivision.
At the time, I felt like this was one more benefit for Brandons Gate, he said. They had two roads coming into the subdivision when there were neighborhoods within the city of Cortez that didnt even have paved streets. ... It just seemed like we had other priorities that were more important at that point.
However in 2010, Keefauver voted to approve the final plat of the project.
I think that once youre in a certain point in the process and you have a contract to complete work, that you need to follow through with that, he said.
The project contributes city funds to the construction of street and utilities into the private subdivision, a cost typically left up to the developer. Costs on the project are now expected to reach $325,000 and proponents of the recall have rallied around the project as an indication of fiscal irresponsibility.
I think that weve maintained city services and kept city employees employed, Keefauver said. I feel like weve been very responsible.
Keefauver said he also takes issue with recall proponents assertions that the council has been unresponsive to residents concerns.
I think that theres plenty of opportunity for citizens to speak to members of council either in council meetings or outside of council meetings, he said.
If retained on the council this spring, Keefauver said he would like to continue to work with the public to set a vision for the future and see the city through an economically challenging time.
I would hope that I could continue to show fiscal responsibility in the way that we have in the past two years, he said. To keep Cortez vibrant and growing.
If retained by voters this May, Keefauvers term would last until April of 2014.
I really hope that people think about the things that the current city council has done for the city and will vote accordingly, he said.
Reach Reid Wright at firstname.lastname@example.org