Political Profiles: Reford Theobold March 21, 2009

After spending 18 years on the Grand Junction City Council, Reford Theobold has been on a six-year hiatus from public office. But once he decided to challenge incumbent Councilwoman Bonnie Beckstein for the District D seat, it didn’t take him long to begin needling the city on a host of matters.

He criticized officials for tearing down a building he claims could have been used for either the public safety initiative or some function to make money for the city.

He applauded money managers for slicing some operational expenditures in the face of sliding sales-tax revenue but insists more cuts need to be made.

And he believes the city needs to re-examine the wages it’s paying to employees, suggesting they may be above what’s appropriate.

“We shouldn’t have employees leaving because we pay too little, but we also shouldn’t have people flocking here because we pay too much,” he said.

Theobold, who served on council from 1985 to 2003, decided to try to begin a second tenure on council because he sees parallels between the current economic environment and the 1980s oil-shale bust and believes he could offer his experience as someone who has handled lean budgets.

As the city grapples with budget reductions, Theobold said he wants to see the city shift money away from operations and staffing into capital expenditures that will stimulate the local economy and create jobs.

He said city leaders need to re-examine the failed public safety initiative “from top to bottom” and abandon any effort to override revenue-collection limitations imposed by the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.

“I think the $98 million plan was so elaborate and extravagant that we’re better off starting fresh,” he said.

As far as the city’s effort to develop a comprehensive plan, which will map growth over the next 25 years, Theobold said the plan as it’s drafted doesn’t do enough to prepare the Grand Valley for that growth. He said officials need to identify more land for industrial businesses and find ways to increase the affordability of housing.


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