The issues that impact the people of La Plata County are my priority.

I have done 50 listening sessions to develop this list. County Government plays a critical role in creating healthy communities and a strong economy. Together, we can unite to solve problems and find the common good for the most people.   

Good Jobs and a Thriving, Diverse Local Economy 

We need to grow and bring good jobs to La Plata County to improve quality of life for everyone. People define a "good job" in many different, diverse ways. I define it as a job that contributes to a good quality of life and well-being for families of all kinds. 

My priorities are to: 

  • Continually streamline and improve County land use and planning processes so they make better sense, are less cumbersome and less costly. We need to rebuilt trust in the land use planning process so it works better for applicants, neighbors, and everyone. 

  • Look to areas of the County for planned “growth hubs” (i.e., economic development areas), light industrial expansion and attainable/workforce/affordable housing but balance these areas with neighbors' concerns.  

  • Be a champion for our infrastructure. County Roads and Bridges are the County’s largest asset and we must take care of them. 

  • Diversify our economy: look to modern, clean energy technology(ies); local food/agriculture and timber products; creative industries; and sustainable outdoor recreation.

  • Support and advocate for small businesses in the COVID-19 stabilization and recovery phases.  

  • Expand broadband internet access.

  • Continue to improve the Durango-La Plata County Airport incrementally and as funds allow.

  • Think holistically. Tie “growing good jobs” to housing, and availability of childcare and transit. I'm for healthy communities! 

Vital County Services  

We can no longer count on the oil and gas sector to pay the bulk of our bills and the full impacts of COVID-19 on the budget are not

yet fully known. So, we must plan for County Government service delivery in new realities. 

My priorities are to:      

  • Continue to determine where efficiencies can be found in the County budget. 

  • Institute more measurement in each County Department’s budget around outcomes (i.e., set measurable goals and better communicate what County tax money does for residents, etc.). 

  • Ensure growth pays a proportionate share of costs.

  • Institute reasonable and fair road impact fees.  

  • Engage with La Plata County residents re: what services they expect and how to pay for them as we grow to a projected 70,000 people by 2030 (source: State Demographer). 

Affordable Housing 

Many in the workforce, young people and seniors on fixed incomes are getting priced out of many parts of our communities. We have to do more.  

My priorities are to: 

  • Work together to complete a County Affordable Housing Action Plan as soon as possible. The plan will involve all sectors, build on what is working, look to the future and determine if there are more tools to use. 

  • Develop a transparent measurement system related to what types of housing are needed and document progress towards attaining goals. 

  • Ensure that housing goals in the Comprehensive Plan and Land Use Code are acted upon and move forward. 

  • Support the work of PATH (Planning and Action Team on Homelessness). 

  • Keep tools already in place such as the Regional Housing Authority and Community Development Corporation.

Public Health and Safety  

I am for a healthy community and  look at things holistically. Health means public safety, responding to COVID-19, and ensuring County services that help people are available. The physical safety of all residents and their properties is very important especially as we will see more wildfires and flooding. 

My priorities: 

COVID-19 

  • Support all partners working to respond to COVID-19 and help families and businesses recover including San Juan Basin Health, the La Plata Economic Development Alliance and all County Departments and staff working overtime to get through this global health emergency. 

  • Consider good science and best practices that keep people safe and slow the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. 

  • Advocate for small businesses to other levels of government (i.e., State and Federal) so they have assistance during this crucial time. 

Fires and Floods and Forest Health 

  • Continue efforts to help residents impacted by flooding. Complete the Emergency Watershed Program and look to new opportunities. 

  • Make permanent the weather radar system on Missionary Ridge. 

  • Help residents implement local CWPPs (Community Wildfire Protection Plans). 

  • Support the work of the Rocky Mountain Restoration Initiative and other such forest health projects.  

Water and Air 

  • Protect our water supplies and support collaborative efforts to improve water quality.

  • Stand up for Public Lands and keep good relationships with all federal and state land and water management agencies.  

Clean Energy 

Our society is moving to renewable energy quickly as the cost comes down. Many people have a desire to reduce our carbon usage. La Plata County can be the leader among all Western Slope communities. I believe there is a tie between renewable energy and diversifying our local economy. 

My priorities are to: 

  • Work collaboratively for the development of a plan done at the community level. Involve the agricultural, power and current energy sectors to learn and benefit from their experiences. 

  • Make the permitting of solar facilities streamlined, safe and efficient. 

  • Consider where solar panels could go on County buildings hopefully working with the private sector.  

  • Continue efforts and look for opportunities to reduce County Government energy consumption in buildings and fleets.  

Smart Growth 

Private and public lands and landscapes are valued by all. We all want clean air and water. There are many needs and interests involved in these issues and I will balance them.

 

My priorities is to:

  • Do a better job of protecting existing neighborhoods, our environment and quality of life while supporting a thriving, local and diverse economy, and job creation. These things can be done at the same time. 

  • Collaborate as a region (inter-county and with other counties)  to guide the housing, workforce and transportation networks while working to minimize urban sprawl. 

  • Continually improve the County's land use Code and planning systems so they are more simple, and offer certainty and assurance to everyone.   

  • Protect our water supplies and support collaborative efforts to improve water quality.

  • Implement creative, innovative and effective ways to address the loss of agricultural land like clustered development, voluntary tools such as conservation easements, and promote Community-Supported Agriculture Farms (CSAs) and other local food initiatives.   

  • Expand the buying of local food through Farmers’ Markets, food banks and greater collaboration with schools and other institutions, including County Government. 

  • Support local control and community rights concerning oil and gas drilling and operations. 

 

  

 

©  Paid for by :  "Marsha for Commissioner."  Marsha Porter-Norton registered agent.  2019.                                 All Rights Reserved.