Commissioner Henderson seeks second term in Montrose County

MONTROSE – Ever since he was a Delta High School junior attending Boys’ State, Ron Henderson wanted to be elected to the position of county commissioner.
“It was just something I wanted to do, and I finally got a chance to do it,” Henderson said.
Now, after three years of serving as Montrose County commissioner from District One, he says he’s ready for another term, even if it involves additional contentious issues such as JetAway Aviation, Montrose Memorial Hospital and West End water rights.
So far, the current Montrose County board of commissioners – Henderson, David White and Gary Ellis – are batting about .500 in the courtroom. They inherited the JetAway controversy from the previous board, and are hoping that JetAway’s appeal of U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch’s dismissal of the wannabe FBO’s federal anti-trust lawsuit goes nowhere.
On the other hand, it’s the commissioners who are appealing the Montrose Memorial Hospital decision that the MMH board’s reincorporation and lease of the hospital was legal.
The status of the hospital “may have to go back to the way it was in order to go forward,” Henderson said.
The Montrose hospital was founded by a vote of the townspeople in 1946.
It’s too early to tell on the West End water rights lawsuit, but Henderson reminds all critics that the commissioners were advised by the federal government and other stakeholders to pursue the court fight. Water is needed for West End development in case uranium production suddenly booms – that’s the theory behind the lawsuit.
One potential controversy looming over the commissioners is the pending salary increase for county staff and employees, which Henderson all but admitted was a done deal.
“I can see how you can say that,” he said. “More in my mind, it’s a realization of what’s going on.”
Montrose County has become a “training ground” for better-paying governmental entities, such as the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department, and even private companies such as the North Fork coal mines, Henderson pointed out.
The county can afford the staff pay hikes without a tax hike by implementing efficiencies made possible by the adoption of the county’s new strategic plan, Henderson said.
“It allows us to aggressively confront these issues the taxpayers want us to take care of,” the incumbent commissioner said.
He is being challenged for the Republican nomination by Ed Ulibarri, a homebuilder and former Montrose City Council member.
The GOP primary is June 26.

Montrose County Commssioner Ron Henderson

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