Steve Acquafresca has often been the odd man out on the Mesa County Board of Commissioners, the person voting in opposition to fellow commissioners Craig Meis and Janet Rowland. He takes pride in that role.
“Day in and day out, I ask questions that no one else asks,” he said. “Sometimes it earns me the wrath of the other commissioners, but so what?”
There is no question that Republican Acquafresca is an independent voice on the county commission, and that’s one reason we believe he should be re-elected.
But Acquafresca isn’t a mindless obstructionist. In fact, he votes with one or both of the other commissioners regularly, when he agrees with the principle at hand.
One such vote approved personal property tax rebates to business in the county — an action that The Daily Sentinel questioned in light of the county’s current budget problems.
But Acquafresca said because the county promised the rebate to businesses last year, and had set money aside for it in the current budget, it would have been a mistake not to follow through.
Acquafresca also voted with his fellow commissioners on one of the most significant local issues of the past year — approving certificates of participation for purchase and revamping of the old City Market warehouse on First Street as an administration building, improvements to D 1/2 and K roads, improvements at the county fairgrounds and more.
That’s hardly surprising because, when he first ran for commissioner four years ago, Acquafresca emphasized his intent to direct as much money as possible to infrastructure improvement.
That’s occurring, not just with the projects listed above, but the partnership with the city on the 29 Road overpass, construction of a new county facility near the landfill and other projects.
Early this year, it appeared Acquafresca would be unopposed in his re-election bid. Then Steve Saint, a libertarian and employee of the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department, entered the race.
Saint objects to using the certificates of deposit to purchase and refurbish the City Market building, which will save the county money as county offices now leasing space move to the building.
“I happen to think there were better uses for that money than buying the City Market building,” he said. He cited operational needs, such as the Sheriff’s Department budget.
But Saint’s greatest difference with Acquafresca is his support for Amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101, which will cut revenue for state and local governments. Acquafresca recognizes them as a signifcant threat to the county’s ability to meet its obligations to county residents, while Saint sees them as a rational response from angry taxpayers, and believes the concerns about them are overblown.
We don’t believe those concerns are overblown, and we disagree strongly with Saint on that issue. We also believe Acquafresca is a thoughtful, hardworking and independent county commissioner who deserves to be re-elected.