Carbondale’s election sparks interest, but Basalt’s sparks none | AspenTimes.com

Carbondale’s election sparks interest, but Basalt’s sparks none

Aspen Times Staff Report

Two very different scenarios have unfolded for the April 2 municipal elections in Basalt and Carbondale.

In Basalt, the election was canceled when only three candidates put their hats in the ring for three positions on the Town Council. Incumbents Tracy Bennett and Anne Freedman will return to office for four more years.

Tiffany Gildred takes a council position unchallenged. She takes the seat of Dave Reed, who was appointed 18 months ago but decided against seeking election.

While Basalt’s municipal election was canceled, Carbondale’s campaign is one of its most active ever. Three candidates are vying for the mayor’s seat, and nine candidates are running for three council seats.

Incumbent Mayor Randy Vanderhurst is facing challenges from Michael Hassig and Erik Mazur.

Three incumbents are trying to keep their seats on the council. They are Krista Paradise, Mark Whalen and Fred Williams.

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Challenging for council seats are: Scott Chaplin, Russell Hedman, Christopher Kelsey, Barry Maggert, Maureen “Moe” Miles and former Councilman David Rippe.

Three of the nine candidates will earn four-year posts.

The crowded field in the council races reflects the high level of interest that Carbondale’s land-use and economic development issues have attracted.

One faction within town supports approval of the Crystal River Marketplace commercial development and endorses courting big-box retailers as anchors.

Another faction supports limits on projects like the Marketplace and promotes alternatives to support small, locally owned businesses.

In Basalt, the lack of interest in the council races may reflect a high level of citizen involvement and satisfaction with government. Citizen committees recently ran a campaign to get a town open space tax approved and created a master plan on short- and long-term changes to the Roaring Fork River.

Town Manager Tom Baker’s style features enlisting citizens to work on boards and commissions that set the town’s direction rather than relying solely on the Town Council to make decisions.

While Basalt’s Town Council election is canceled, it will ask residents to cast ballots May 21 on whether a home-rule charter commission should be formed. If so, the commission will work on a draft plan that defines the powers and form of a home-rule government. Now the town government’s powers are dictated by state statutes.

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