Meet the candidates for Fruita City Council

Lori Buck



Bruce Bonar



Bob Fuller



Victoria Gunyan



Brandon Schuette



For most of the last decade, Fruita was one of the fastest-growing communities in western Colorado. Commercial development sprang up on the south side of Interstate 70, and hundreds of new homes were built as people flocked to the small city.

Even in the midst of the recession, the Lower Valley continues to grow.

An $11 million community center will be completed in January. A new $23 million wastewater treatment plant is under construction and should be on line in 2012. The city continues to add amenities to its largest park, Little Salt Wash Park, and recently adopted a plan that will guide the future development of parks, open space and trails.

The Fruita Police Department and the Lower Valley Fire Protection District have outgrown their buildings, but any expansion or construction of new facilities is on hold until the community center and sewer plant are finished.

After a period of prosperity, lagging sales-tax revenue has forced the city to tighten its belt.

These are the issues facing the city as incumbent Fruita City Council members Bruce Bonar and Lori Buck and candidates Bob Fuller, Victoria Gunyan and Brandon Schuette vie for three open seats on the council. The three who receive the most votes will be elected. Mayor Ken Henry is unopposed in his bid for re-election.

The Daily Sentinel asked all of the candidates except for Henry 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.

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

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Bruce Bonar

Age: 56

Profession: Mesa State College student and part-time biologist trainee with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Years lived in the Grand Valley: 21

Q: Why are you running for City Council?

A: Fruita has been my home for 17 years. I believe it is important to be actively involved in my community. I began by organizing with my neighbors to express concerns about issues affecting south Fruita. That led to my being appointed to the steering committee for revising the Community Plan, the Planning Commission and the City Council. I have played an active part in shaping our new community plan, the land-use code, and the Parks, Open Space and Trails Plan. I want to ensure that we follow the intent the community expressed as these plans were drafted. 

Q: What are the three most important issues facing the city?

A: 1. Preserve Fruita’s unique character and quality of life, while allowing it to grow and adapt to meet changing demands.

2. Maintain the quality of services and infrastructure during this period of diminished revenues.

3. Attract and retain viable businesses.

Q: Why should voters elect you?

A: I have a history of serving my community. I believe in making responsible decisions and finding solutions. I do not follow a political ideology or a personal agenda. I am open-minded. I listen to all sides, and I make decisions based on facts, not on personal opinions.

* * *

Lori Buck

Age: 38

Profession: Administrative assistant with Bighorn Consulting Engineers

Years lived in the Grand Valley: 30

Q: Why are you running for City Council?

A: I am deeply rooted in this community, and I want to be a part of how the city develops in the future. I have served on the council for the last four years as well as many other boards and commissions. I want to see the Fruita Community Center project through to completion as well as the implementation of the new Community Plan and revised land-use code. 

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

A: Based on the last community survey, the most important issue is growth. About a year ago, that problem took care of itself with the downturn of the economy. However, when growth resumes the city is ready to manage it in a controlled and planned manner with the revision of the Community Plan and the land-use code.

Another issue is the economy and reduced sales-tax revenue. The last council, as with previous councils, has been fiscally responsible with almost twice as much in reserves as required by the city charter.

Finally, the new wastewater treatment facility is also a significant expense that the residents and business owners are paying for. This new facility is a result of increased federal standards for treatment facilities that our current system could not meet. 

Q: Why should voters elect you?

A: I have acquired the experience, knowledge and history necessary to make educated and informed decisions regarding the future of our community. I will ensure that growth is managed in a manner to protect citizens’ interest, that the city continues to remain fiscally responsible, and that the small town character of Fruita is preserved while supporting the local economy.

* * *

Bob Fuller

Age: 66

Profession: Chief financial officer of Blue Star Industries

Years lived in the Grand Valley: 12

Q: Why are you running for City Council?

A: I grew up in the Washington, D.C., area during a time when public service was an honorable profession. That commitment to serve has remained with me whether it was serving as president of my homeowners’ association, as treasurer of the board of trustees for my church, or on the board of directors for an irrigation water district in Loma.

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

A: 1. Declining revenue: The city has been able to maintain a “rainy day” fund for years. However, that fund has been in steady decline as overall revenues decline.

2. Management of growth: With the new land-use code and Parks, Open Space and Trails Master Plan in place, the city hopefully will be prepared when growth begins again.

3. Attracting new businesses: Fruita needs new sources of revenues, and additional high-quality businesses are a key component in the process.

Q: Why should voters elect you?

A: 1. With more than 25 years of finance and accounting experience, I will be able to help the city to manage its declining resources.

2. My experience within the building and development community will allow me to enhance the communication with that group to attract good quality builders for new, high-quality projects that will benefit the city.

3. My experience in the banking business working with small- and medium-sized businesses will enable me to expand the contacts within that community to better “sell” Fruita as a place to establish a good business.

4. I am a man of strong conservative principles and am dedicated to seeking out private-sector solutions to issues. I will be available to listen to the citizens and to represent all of them.

* * *

Victoria Gunyan

Age: 27

Profession: Co-owner of Gunyan Family Chiropractic

Years lived in the Grand Valley: one

Q: Why are you running for City Council?

A: My husband and I invested in Fruita when we opened our business. We will raise a family here and want our children to learn from experiences of growth and prosperity. With my experiences, determination and positive outlook, I know I will aid in building a Fruita where businesses can be successful and residents have access to everything they need. It’s time for some business perspective on City Council.

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

A: The first issue that comes to mind from speaking to residents is that we are in need of another grocery store. From the perspective of our business owners, an “anchor” store would provide what the residents need and draw people from around the area. A natural grocer or larger franchise like a Costco would provide some growth for the community and convenience for the residents.

The next issue is getting people to Fruita. One road block to bring in another store is the number of residents. We need to work more closely with marketing and tourism to bring more people to the area by focusing on our natural assets.

The third issue to mention is creating opportunity for our residents to shop locally. Once we determine what people need, we will work with the Fruita Chamber of Commerce to focus on bringing them to our town.

Q: Why should voters elect you?

A: My living and work experience runs from small, stunted communities to fast-paced growth. I have seen more than just Fruita, and right now we are in need of a little “outside the box” perspective to reach new horizons. I am known for my aggressive and determined personality that has aided in achieving my goals. I stay involved in the community as a business owner, youth coach, and by holding a position on the Fruita Chamber Board of Directors. I have an open mind and vision that aids in creating new ideas, and my conservative background supports my focus to be fiscally and personally responsible.

* * *

Brandon Schuette

Age: 29

Profession: Manufacturing scheduler for Halliburton Drill Bits and Services

Years lived in the Grand Valley: three

Q: Why are you running for City Council?

A: I am running for City Council because I care about the future of the community I surround my family with. I believe that being involved is the best way to ensure that Fruita stays the beautiful, safe and charming city that my wife and I chose as our home.

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

A: I believe the most important issue Fruita is facing now is the need for economic development. The best way to accomplish this is to keep Fruita’s money local and to promote tourism. We have many resources here in Fruita and we should advertise those resources and bring business to Fruita.

The second most significant issue we face is to make sure we have a proactive approach to the growth of the city instead of reacting as growth happens. The small-town charm is one of the things that makes Fruita so great, and as we grow, we need to ensure that we do not lose this quality.

The third significant issue is to maintain our conservative budget. As we build our new recreation center, repair our streets and replace our wastewater treatment facility, I believe that it is imperative that we closely monitor our budget and finances to ensure Fruita stays fiscally sound.

Q: Why should voters elect you?

A: I believe voters should elect me because I am a young, energetic, honest and motivated person who believes in Fruita and wants to make a positive difference. I am very approachable and welcome the opinions, views and ideas of others. I believe the City Council’s purpose is to serve the public, and that’s what I hope to do.


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