Rowland and Meis served county well

For eight years, Janet Rowland and Craig Meis have been primary policy makers for Mesa County, through great economic times and bad.

For some folks, they were the Terrible Twosome, driving county policy to serve their own personal agendas, the public interest be damned, according to their most severe critics.

But for a healthy majority of the county’s citizens, they have been conservative stars — maintaining a sound financial status for the county while refusing to raise taxes. They also were willing to publicly challenge state and federal officials or special interest groups when they believed the policies of those entities were adversely affecting Mesa County.

We certainly haven’t agreed with Meis and Rowland on every issue and have made our dissatisfaction known on several occasions.

But we also recognize that both of the outgoing commissioners have been true to pledges they made when they ran for election and when they were re-elected four years later. And both pushed for policies they sincerely believed were in the best interest of Mesa County.

Meis is the blunt-spoken, no-frills commissioner who was an unapologetic supporter of the energy industry as a candidate and as commissioner. He drove efforts to improve siting regulations for energy-related facilities, worked to reduce the business personal property tax, and he was the most vocal opponent on the commission on the issue of raising taxes.

Rowland was hardly a demure, soft-spoken commissioner afraid to challenge her male counterparts. She spoke her mind, clearly. She also was a tireless advocate for protecting children from domestic violence and was a leader in forming the community initiative, “How Are the Children?” Additionally, she worked closely with leaders in the criminal-justice sector to develop programs to counter the methamphetamine problem and to establish a new facility and a new program for meth addicts aimed at keeping them out of jail.

It should be said that Meis and Rowland worked closely and supported each other on all of these policies. If, as Rowland maintains, they were never a voting bloc aligned against the other commissioner (first Tilman Bishop, then Steve Acquafresca) they were at least like-minded enough to vote the same way the vast majority of the time.

Finally, their efforts to keep the county budget in check — to set aside money during the good times so there would be less-likely severe cuts when the downturn occurred and to prevent tax increases — won them a fondness in the hearts of a great many Mesa County residents.

Their tenure was sometimes tumultuous and they certainly have their critics. But Craig Meis and Janet Rowland worked hard to protect the interest of Mesa County as they saw it for eight years. They deserve credit for doing so.


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