Incumbents challenged in elections at Crown Mountain, Basalt fire
Two special districts in the midvalley that typically generate little public interest or scrutiny are holding contested elections May 6 for their board of directors.
In the Crown Mountain Park and Recreation District election, the most vocal opponent of a proposed midvalley recreation center is running against three incumbents for the three seats. Challenger Katie Schwoerer successfully led opposition to the recreation center in the election last November. The center was crushed at the polls. Now she wants to join the board.
“I’m running to give a voice to the 75 to 80 percent of voters that don’t want a recreation center,” Schwoerer said.
The board members running for reelection are board president Bill Reynolds and members Rich Pavek and Ted Bristol. The three seats are for four-year terms.
Schwoerer said she has attended Crown Mountain board meetings since the recreation center fight began in the fall. She is particularly interested in the district’s financial issues.
“I’m just trying to shine a light on what’s happening there and how they’re spending our money,” said Schwoerer, a former Basalt town councilwoman.
The Basalt and Rural Fire Protection District’s board elections have attracted eight candidates for four seats. Incumbents Robert Woods, John Young and Ed Van Walraven are seeking reelection to seats with a four-year term. They are being challenged by former board member Bob Guion, as well as volunteer firefighter Bill McEnteer and former volunteer Vonda Williams.
There is also a race for a two-year seat. Incumbent Leroy Duroux is seeking reelection and facing a challenge from Barb Forrest. Duroux was appointed to a seat after Guion resigned. That seat is up for election this year and will be up for election again in 2016, as regularly scheduled, as part of the district’s effort to stagger when board positions are up for election.
McEnteer said he was an Aspen firefighter for 20 years and has volunteered with Basalt Fire Department for 12 years. He was president of the volunteer firefighters’ association for five years. He said he is especially interested in board issues that pertain to volunteers and their wellbeing.
He also is concerned about lack of turnover on the fire district’s board. The last contested election was 2002, he said. Candidates are often recruited or incumbents run unopposed in the races with low visibility. The district rescinded term limits some time ago because it generally had trouble attracting candidates, according to district officials.
McEnteer wants to limit board members to serving two terms of four years each.
“It’s time for a little bit of a change,” McEnteer said. “I think the board needs to be a little more professional in the way it does things.”
The fire district election is by mail ballot only. The ballots will be mailed to voters within the district the week starting April 14.
The Crown Mountain election will be held at the Eagle County office and community building from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on May 6.
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Current Basalt officials say the town government has violated the Colorado Taxpayers’ Bill of Right by increasing the property tax mill levy over the prior years 10 times since the mid-2000s. Two former mayors contend the mill levy could be adjusted in any given year as long as it didn’t exceed the mill levy in 1994. It’s a $2 million question.