MEEKER I Katelin Cook, a member of the Meeker Town Board since August 2007, has resigned her position on the town’s governing board, and the town has already started the process to find a new board member.
Cook wants to spend a little more time at home with her baby daughter, Carson, who was born in August.
“I worked with a great board and it was really interesting to see how the process works,” said Cook, who left as the executive director of the Meeker Chamber of Commerce in the first half of 2014 to become the Rio Blanco County economic development director, a job she will continue to hold.
“My years on the council offered me a great perspective on how a small town works and I learned how things are really run,” she said.
Regarding her leaving the council, Cook said, “There were really too many conflicts between my job with the county and being on the town board, I now have a baby to take care of, and she’s already four months old and there was just too much time I was away from home.
“The town has night meetings, I often work late in my office at the county and when I’m home, after dinner I have to decide whether to pay the bills, do the dishes or do research on something city-related like marijuana. I just didn’t have time to enjoy my life,” Cook said. “It was a great honor to be elected to the town board twice, but I’ve done my part. It was a great experience, I am glad I did it, but it is time to do something else,” she said.
Asked what council action was taken that she is most proud of, she said immediately, “The hiring of Scott Meszaros as town manager. There is just great synergy with Scott and all of the employees. It was a great move.”
Another action she was a part of and is proud of, she said, is “the city sidewalk project—we have been working on that for years and it looks like it will actually happen during spring and summer of 2015.”
Looking forward, Cook said, “I am looking forward to a couple of good things in 2015, including the town’s business grant programs. There will be two of them, and these are funded by the town, not the state or the feds.”
One, she said, is a site-advancement program, where funds are available for local businesses to improve their properties such as cleanup, physical improvements to a property or even landscaping.
The second is an economic development program in which the town is investing some of its money in the local businesses, helping them to help themselves grow and improve their businesses.
She said the town is also taking a look at duplicating or something similar to Rangely’s “Shop and Dine,” program. In that program, Rangely sets a couple of weeks during late November in which businesses in that town print receipts in their stores and town/area residents can turn in those receipts to the town to get a rebate on their sales taxes.
“It seems to be a success in Rangely, and a lot of residents turn in their receipts to claim the rebates, and that has increased sales and the number of people doing more of their shopping in the Rangely area for the past two years,” she said.
Regarding the vacancy on the Meeker Town Board that she is leaving behind, Cook said, “I would truly encourage folks to throw their hats into the ring to be appointed to fill the board position. The appointment is good until the next election, which would be in early 2016, when the appointee would then have to run for election in order to retain their seat.
“It was a rewarding position because you really do feel like you are accomplishing something,” she said. “It is also a very interesting position because you will learn a lot about the town and how a small town operates. I learned a lot during my time on the board, and you can never take that knowledge and experience away.
“I also learned to appreciate my fellow board members,” she said. “I found out firsthand that these people are well educated and that they will think out their reasons for doing what they do on the board. Their reasoning is well thought out and even balanced, and I have a lot of respect for each and every one of them.”
The Town of Meeker is currently accepting letters of interest from persons interested in filling Cook’s vacancy. That decision will be made by the town Board of Trustees at its regular board meeting on Feb. 17.
The letters of interest must be received at Meeker Town Hall, 345 Market St. no later than 4 p.m. on Feb. 12.
Qualifications for the position of trustee or board members are: person must be a registered voter within the Town of Meeker, they must be 18 years of age or older, and they must have resided in the Town of Meeker for at least 12 consecutive months immediately preceding the date of appointment.
All candidates will be required to be in attendance at the 7 p.m. meeting on Feb. 17, when there may be interviews by the board for the selection.
The person appointed to fill the vacancy will hold office until the April election in 2016, when they would have to run for election.
For more information, interested persons may call 878-5344.