YC Commissioner candidate Adam Gates

Adam Gates will face plenty of challenges if elected Yuma County Commissioner.
Gates is the Republican candidate for the District 1 seat in the November 8 mail-in election, winning the Republican primary in June.
“I get a good vibe wherever I go,” Gates said. “It’s been a fun campaign. I have got to meet a lot of people.
“There’s a lot of optimism in northeast Colorado,” he continued. “We’re blessed to have the communities we have, we just have to keep going in the right direction.”
Gates is a lifelong Yuma County resident. He owns a truck that he drives for producers during harvest and planting seasons, has some rental properties in Yuma, and also runs cattle with his dad, Robert. He said he is confident he will be able to meet the considerable time commitment that comes with being a county commissioner.
While Yuma County leaders have done a good job keeping the government on sound financial footing, despite tighter revenue streams, the challenges will keep coming.
Gates said inflation is making it tougher for county employees to make ends meet. Higher salaries offered in other jobs also is making to tougher to retain and attract employees. Gates noted if higher salaries are offered to new employees, current ones also need to be compensated. He added that simply increasing salaries would not necessarily solve all problems.
“We need to find people who truly love their job,” he said. “If they’re not passionate about what they do, no level of money is going to help with that.”
The Yuma County Jail currently is, and will continue to be, a hot topic. Sheriff Todd Combs announced last week he was closing the jail as a full-time facility, due to a lack of jail staff. The sheriff cited relatively low pay as a jailer in Yuma County as a main issue for staffers seeking work elsewhere.
Gates said that as commissioner, his intention would be to keep the jail open and keep at half-capacity, at a minimum. He also noted there are less inmates due to the prevalent use of Personal Recognizance Bonds by the District Attorney’s Office. Gates said the sheriff is making progress in trying to slow the use of PR Bonds, and the commissioners need to make sure to keep pushing hard on the issue.
The candidate said the condition of the county roads always is a popular issue when visiting with county residents. Gates said he thinks Yuma County Road & Bridge is doing a good job with the main routes. He also noted conditions have been even more difficult as the drought has resulted in extremely dry roads, which makes it hard to blade, then when there was a rain, big trucks created ruts, so the crew was back to fixing those.
Alternative energy, particularly wind energy, is becoming a topic in the county as a company is considering installing wind turbines in the southwest corner of the county. Gates said it is important the county makes sure it has solid land-use codes for such projects, but otherwise the county should not be telling people what they can do with their own property as long it meets codes. He noted that some people are against wind turbines, but many are in favor, and that they are on their way to Yuma County as they are seen all over the area. He added, though, that it will still be several years before there are turbines in any part of the county.
Gates said he supports alternative economies that do not interfere with the local ag economy.
The candidate said generating revenue for the county is becoming even more of a challenge. He said cuts in property taxes are great for the property owners, but it also is the county’s main source of revenue.
“There has been discussion at the state level of property tax cuts,” Gates said. “If passed, while that is good for property owners, that can have consequences in how that affects the county in providing services.”
He said while no one likes paying taxes, there is a reason for them so the county can provide its residents with services.
“You can’t have everything for nothing,” Gates said.
Water remains a big issue in the county, particularly in regards to the Republican River Compact, and Colorado needing to retire irrigated acres in this area. Gates said the county needs to continue doing all it can to support the effort.