Five candidates run for Carbondale Board of Trustees

Ryan Summerlin
Glenwood Spring Post Independent

Five candidates are running for the Carbondale Board of Trustees, and the mayor is running unopposed.

The deadline for nomination petitions closed at 5 p.m. on Monday, and the town had just enough candidates for an election.

Four out of the six trustee seats are up for election on April 3, and all of the incumbent members are appointed trustees who are running to keep their seats.

Mayor Dan Richardson is running unopposed for re-election. Trustee Frosty Merriott is the only trustee who is term-limited.

Three sitting trustees’ seats will be up for grabs, including Erica Sparhawk, Heather Henry and Luis Yllanes. All three were appointed in recent years, serving the terms of former trustees who had resigned.

Additionally, April Spaulding and Lani Kitching have declared as trustee candidates.

Of those five candidates, the four who get the highest number of votes will be elected to the board.

Rather than running to represent a particular district of Carbondale, all candidates run in a single race. The three candidates who receive the highest number of votes will serve four-year terms, while the fourth highest vote-getter will serve a two-year term.

Trustee Heather Henry said she, and the other appointed trustees, have the benefit of having already gotten their feet wet and engaged in the town’s issues. First on her mind leading into the election is affordable housing and the town’s environmental board. Henry said she wants the board to continue its responsible and controlled proactive thinking on growth, and how that fits into jobs, affordable housing and transportation.

Trustee Erica Sparhawk, too, said that a benefit of being first appointed to the board is the chance to get a taste for the job.

“I’ve really enjoyed it, and I like listening to all sides of the issues,” Sparhawk said. “Through that experience I have also come to realize how important it is for people to be engaged and come talk to us.

“It’s also important for women to be on our board, and I think I bring a good perspective, being born and raised here, and now raising my own kids here,” said Sparhawk.

Trustee Luis Yllanes, who was appointed to the board only four months ago, said one of the most important issues to him is how Carbondale can maintain its local businesses and encourage new business not only to relocate to town but also invest in the town.

“There’s so much that can be done, you can bring any idea to the table,” Yllanes said of the board.

April Spaulding said she wants to ensure that the town keeps its forward momentum and doesn’t lose the perspective of the working people.

“That’s why I’m running,” she said. “I’m afraid of Carbondale losing affordable housing, and afraid for some small business owners who are getting pushed out of their leases, leaving stores sitting empty.

“The working man and woman is really my perspective, and that’s what I want to bring to the board,” Spaulding said.

Richardson said he’s happy with the interest in the town board election this year.

“I feel fortunate that we got to hand pick three trustees, and I’m excited that all like it well enough to pull petitions and run,” Richardson said. “And that we have additional people out there running shows we have a lot of engaged people in Carbondale. There are always more people running than there are open seats.”