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Candidates’ top concerns

Editor’s note: As part of its coverage of Basalt’s municipal election, The Aspen Times has asked the two mayoral candidates and five council candidates to share their backgrounds and views on issues that have been on the front burner in Basalt over the past year and longer.

This is the final round of answers. Today, the council candidates will explain what they believe are the most pressing issues in the town’s future…

Name: Mark Kittle

Position sought: Council

1. To allow for well-designed responsible growth in the commercial sector.

2. Clean up and restoration of both river corridors within town.

3. Incorporate a better policy and procedures plan with town staff.

4. Historic preservation of certain entities, coke ovens, Arbaney barn, etc.

5. Better marketing provisions for tourism.

6. Residential growth within existing limits. No annexation.

7. Some form of activity, fund-raisers, bake sales, spaghetti dinners to bring citizens closer together and promote “good neighbors.”

Name: Glenn Rappaport

Position sought: Council

I am interested in protecting Basalt’s economic base. I will encourage and support the arts, education and better recreation. I want to belong to a town that values its history and takes steps to ensure that it is not forgotten. And I am for a town that is not afraid to explore business opportunities that may enable a larger segment of our population to work here and travel on Highway 82 more by choice than by necessity.

The lens that I will look through when making decisions with other board members will include things like: How will this action help Basalt families and promote social interaction? How will my decisions make Basalt safer for our children as well as for adults? Are we improving our connections between the three major pieces of our community, the south side of the highway, the downtown core and El Jebel? How are our actions as a board aimed at providing the most good for the greatest number of people? Does what we are doing make sense financially for our citizens at this time? How do we reconcile our relationship between the desire to attract tourism and the need to protect our small-town character? And where can I get a decent sandwich?

Name: Bernie Grauer

Position sought: Council

Growth and the right vision for Basalt’s future are the primary issues this election and for the next four years.

The second most important issue for me is to have a Town Council that is open-minded, easily accessible by its citizens and responsive to citizen concerns. I pledge to operate under those principles, if elected.

My vision would have Basalt retain its small-town character. To me that means preserving and enhancing the original downtown, with additional local retail shops and businesses, while allowing slow residential growth. The most pressing town issue is achieving a community consensus on building a new library that provides space for cultural/community activities. Such a facility would be a hub, promoting positive community interaction. Some call that social capital. I call it money in the bank for small-town character.

I would work to mend the contentious relationship between the Town Council and the library district board. The new library should be child- and family friendly. A Willits venue seems best, given its central location in the district and two acres of town land there. The town should make that land available for the library. I could also support a Lions Park location, if space issues can be resolved.

Name: Laurie Dows

Position sought: Council

The river master plan and the accompanying land-code amendments are the major issues for the upcoming council to manage. This can’t be emphasized enough. This plan deals with life-safety issues, including flood hazard and the relocation of many families to a safer location. How the Town Council relocates these families and still keeps them a part of the Basalt community is of paramount concern.

The river master plan will be a cornerstone of Basalt’s social, economic and environmental vitality. It will be the responsibility of the new council to implement this plan with thoughtful and creative vision.

Name: Jim Paussa

Position sought: Council

The last major project the present council completed was the river master plan. This plan cares for the river’s ecology and calls for moving the residents that live in the flood plain to safer ground. Implementing this plan is the next big issue in my opinion. There are serious challenges. Doing the right thing will be very hard work, i.e. keeping the “Basalt way of life” healthy and obtaining the actual funding to work on the rivers. I hope the new council will be open to, once again, calling upon good people to step up and offer their time and expertise.


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