Meet the candidates for Palisade Town Board

Patti Hanna

Michael McDonald

Penny Prinster

Bennett Price

David Edwards

Wayne Reid

While most communities in Colorado and across the country have slashed budgets in light of double-digit drops in sales-tax revenue, Palisade has more than held its own in this recession. The town of roughly 2,000 posted a 9 percent increase last year over 2009, and although receipts are down 1 percent so far this year, that’s far less than other local governments in the Grand Valley.

That doesn’t mean, however, that Palisade is without its share of issues and challenges.

Half of the town’s water lines are too small or deteriorating and need to be replaced in the next decade. Town officials must soon decide whether to build a new wastewater treatment plant or hook into the Clifton Sanitation District’s new plant, a choice that will cost town residents millions of dollars either way.

And there is lingering tension between current members of the Town Board and those running for office over the town’s direction and how it should develop in the future. A recent confrontation between Mayor Dave Walker and Mayor Pro Tem Mario Coringrato and a group of people that included candidate Wayne Reid resulted in a police investigation but no criminal charges.

This is the background against which candidates Dave Edwards, Patty Hanna, Tom Keenan, Michael McDonald, Bennett Price, Penny Prinster and Reid are vying for three open seats on the council. Trustees Jim Bennett, Dave Hull and Coringrato are term-limited. The three who receive the most votes will be elected.

The Daily Sentinel asked all seven candidates to respond to a few questions to allow citizens to get to know them better. Candidates were asked to limit their responses to around 300 words. The Sentinel edited the responses for length and spelling or grammatical errors. Keenan didn’t respond to the questions.

Mail-in ballots already have been sent to residents, and the votes will be counted April 6.

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David Edwards

Age: 60

Profession: certified public accountant with Rocky Mountain Health Plans

Years lived in the Grand Valley: two

Q: Why are you running for Town Board?

A: We need businesses that are healthy and employing our residents. We need affordable housing.  We need a vision of what the town is becoming. This vision has to be built on the needs of all our citizens.

Q: What do you think are the three most important issues facing Palisade?

A: The continuing decline in county sales tax will burden Palisade until there is a significant turnaround in Mesa County’s economy. Department of Local Affairs grants have dried up. We need to make sure that our taxes remain reasonable while we get through all these challenges. It will take great care and careful stewardship.

Q: Why should voters elect you?

A: I grew up in the country. I’ve lived in towns of every size. I started working in a downturn like the current one and have been through good and bad times like the rest of us. I have grey hair, a lot of experience, and the humor to go on through adversity. I actively listen when approached with a problem, and I try to weigh all factors fairly when I have to make a decision. I am a certified public accountant, with a master’s degree in business administration and two law degrees. My master’s degree in law is in taxation. I have successfully served as president of many organizations from high school on, through law school and in my personal life. I have extensive experience in planning and decision-making. I worked as a certified public accountant for a private accounting firm for about a decade. As an independent CPA, I audited for-profit businesses, not-for-profit organizations and local governments. My work as a tax lawyer centered on the tax status of not-for-profit organizations. I left private practice to become the chief financial officer of a health maintenance organization.


Patty Hanna

Age: ?

Profession: Employed with Safeway on Patterson Road and Broadway

Years lived in the Grand Valley: 22

Q: Why are you running for the Town Board?

A: I believe the Town Board has lost its course, and its focus has shifted from what the good people of Palisade want to the confined view of neighborhood uniformity held in ideal by a few. Execution of the master plan for growth and development for the town has fallen by the wayside in favor of mercurial visions that may rival some of the most pretentious homeowner associations this side of Pitkin County. Palisade already has a great identity without any added “crisis.”

Q: What are the three most significant issues facing the town?

A: The issues faced by the town aren’t so different than those that we are all currently facing as individuals, households and businesses. Fiscal responsibility seems to be a commonly used phrase these days, as we all feel the squeeze on our wallets and checkbooks. Spending needs to be reigned in from using municipal real estate purchases as zoning and development policy enforcement. The quality of life that draws us to Palisade is both wholesome and sustainable without expensive, arbitrary tangents. Surface and infrastructure are the meat and potatoes on our plate: Iowa Avenue is slowly becoming its own fault line, our sewer system is facing challenges and public safety facilities have been on hold since the first term of the second Bush administration. In Palisade there is no business but small business, and we are all especially vulnerable to the whims of an unpredictable economy. But with prudent use of the pocketbook and open and transparent execution, we can not only preserve but grow our quality of life that makes Palisade a great place to live, work and get business done.

Q: Why should voters elect you?

A: Without attempting to pigeonhole myself into demographic groups, I will say that I am a grandmother, a mother, a wife, a sister, a good friend and a good listener from holding all of the above occupations and pleasures. I completed a five-year accredited post-secondary vocational apprenticeship with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. I previously served on the Board of Trustees for six years.


Michael McDonald

Age: 50

Profession: health physicist with MACTEC Radiological Services

Years lived in the Grand Valley: Nine

Q: Why are you running for Town Board?

A: Having lived in Palisade for nine-plus years, I decided it was time to give back to the town and do my civic duty. Plus, some neighbors and friends asked that I run for Town Board and they wouldn’t accept no for an answer this time.

Q: What are the three most significant issues facing the town?

A: That is a great question to ask candidates, but I’m afraid that my answer might be misunderstood if I don’t explain, so allow me. Although there are a number of important issues and concerns facing Palisade right now, as well as with every other community in the country, I present myself to this opportunity open-minded and with no pre-conceived biases or issues. My intent is to serve the town of Palisade and represent the majority the best I can, making honest, ethical, appropriate and accountable decisions as a trustee. I have no agenda of my own, which is why I don’t have a significant issues list. That list is conceived, created and continually changed by town residents and presented to their board for implementation, not the other way around. Honestly, as a member of the community, I do have concerns and issues, but if I’m going to represent the town as a trustee, then my opinion doesn’t have priority over the majority I represent, it simply becomes a part of the opinion I share with the board.

Q: Why should voters elect you?

A: What I do lack in my resume is a history of political involvement in government. And quite frankly, that has been intentional. I don’t like “politics” and have tenaciously stayed out of them until now. So, if you’re looking for a politician, then I’m not the guy. However, if you’re looking for a person who has experience with and has been a part of managing multi million-dollar remediation projects around the country, who has served their country (in the U.S. Navy on a nuclear submarine), who enjoys the great outdoors, and has been a resident of Palisade for almost 10 years and has no intention of leaving, then I’m your guy.


Bennett Price

Age: 74

Profession: Co-owner of De Beque Canyon Winery

Years lived in the Grand Valley: 28

Q: Why are you running for the Town Board?

A: I am a candidate for trustee because I believe my education in the sciences and lifetime experiences in farming give me some abilities of value to the town. I want to continue to improve our parks and make more recreational opportunities available to our tourism base.

Q: What do you think are the three most significant issues facing Palisade?

A: 1. I am especially interested in the Palisade watershed area as oil and gas growth may encroach on the area. Palisade water is its greatest asset and must be protected.

2. One of the most important projects Palisade must resolve in the next two years is whether to build a new sewer system to meet federal Environmental Protection Agency regulations or build a transfer line to connect to the Clifton Sanitation District sewer system. I am open to studying both options and welcome input from the community to decide the best plan for the town.

3. Palisade is fortunate to have our parks. The Parks and Recreation staff has done a great job in developing and maintaining the parks. I look forward to the town making further improvements. I believe that Riverbend Park needs to keep its riparian areas intact to encourage bird and small game habitat. I would also like to see development of rafting and canoeing activities on the river, depending on what is decided with the sewer project.

Q: Why should voters elect you?

A: My background in the oil and gas industry and my business experience are extensive. I think most voters can connect with small-business problems, which I have myself as a small-business owner.


Penny Prinster

Age: 72

Profession: retired

Years lived in the Grand Valley: 20

Q: Why are you running for Town Board?

A: I am running for Town Board to represent the citizens of our wonderful town of Palisade.

Q: What are the three most significant issues facing the town?

A: 1. Replacing the aging infrastructure.

2. Rebuilding the aging streets.

3. Building a new sewer treatment plant or hooking into the new one in Clifton. I am quite aware that there are other issues facing the town and should certainly be addressed.

Q: Why should voters elect you?

A: I feel that being a citizen, homeowner and taxpayer of the town of Palisade, I have a feel for what the ordinary citizen of the town wants. I think I am more in tune to what the older citizens feel they are missing and would like to see done for them. Having a 13-year-old daughter, I know what the wishes are for a lot of the young folk here. There is so much work that needs to be attended to and I would like to help see that it is accomplished for the benefit of all.


Wayne Reid

Age: 53

Profession: Water truck driver

Years lived in the Grand Valley: 15

Q: Why are you running for Town Board?
A: I am very dissatisfied with the direction our government is going. The rules recently passed were “the straw that broke the camel’s back.” Under the new laws the town government is so oppressive that one may not have a shovel or any other tool on one’s front porch. We face a $300-a-day fine after 10 days’ warning! I do not want to live under such oppressive rules! Now is the time to stand up and do something!

Q: What are the three most significant issues facing the town?
A: Water: We live in a desert! We pay $50 a year for irrigation water rights but most do not have access to that water. The town takes an “Us vs. Them” attitude when it comes to irrigation water. For many years town government has not wanted to get involved in the distribution of irrigation water. If the town government does not represent the best interests of the citizens, then who does? Together, we could, at a very reasonable cost, provide each resident with the irrigation water they have long been denied.

Taxes: I have long disagreed with the 2 percent town sales tax imposed on town people. Government more often than not is wasteful and rarely acts in the best interest of its citizenry. Government tends to go in the direction of an elite few who feel they know better than you how to spend your money! It is time to say no more!

Q: Why should voters elect you?

A: In the past few years the town government has been unresponsive to the public. I hope to change that! The few who want Palisade to be another “Telluride” have not been thoughtful of the needs of those who live in Palisade. Rather, they continue to press us for more revenue and force us to make our homes look like a Home & Garden magazine ad. It is time to do some simple common-sense things for the residents of Palisade, like restore irrigation water to as many as is possible and quit trying to oppress us with heavy-handed rules enforced to the letter of the law!



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