Changing of the guard on Basalt council — Infante and Slack are in, Grauer and Kittle are out |

Changing of the guard on Basalt council — Infante and Slack are in, Grauer and Kittle are out

Councilman Gary Tennenbaum (right) shakes the hand of Basalt Town Clerk Pam Schilling after he takes the oath of office Tuesday while new Councilman William Infante gives a big smile. Mayor Jacque Whitsitt cheers in the background.
Scott Condon/The Aspen Times

Tuesday was the changing of the guard on the Basalt Town Council when Mark Kittle and Bernie Grauer left the board and William Infante joined.

Ryan Slack also will take a seat on the council but he was unable to attend the swearing-in ceremony.

The council lost its official mascot with Kittle’s retirement. For the past four years, a miniature teddy bear wearing an orange Bronco’s John Elway jersey has graced Kittle’s desk in council chambers. Kittle didn’t seek re-election in the April 3 election. Grauer failed to win re-election.

Infante took the oath of office along with Gary Tennenbaum, who won re-election. Slack will be sworn in at the May 8 meeting.

The makeup of the board will now be Mayor Jacque Whitsitt, Councilwomen Katie Schwoerer and Jennifer Riffle, Councilman Auden Schendler, and Tennenbaum, Infante and Slack.

Whitsitt thanked Kittle and Grauer for their service the past four years. She said the council accomplished “a lot,” listing the hiring of Town Manager Ryan Mahoney, construction of the pedestrian underpass of Highway 82, approval of the 56-unit Roaring Fork Apartments affordable-housing project by Stubbies bar and approval of 77 deed-restricted housing units at Willits.

Whitsitt credited Kittle, a Basalt native, with bringing a level-headed approach to discussions and representing Basalt old-timers.

“Whenever I think of Mark I think of the salt-of-the-earth, common-sense guy,” Whitsitt said.

Kittle channeled his inner Homer Simpson and replied with a “Woo-hoo.”

Whitsitt credited Grauer with being the best prepared of all council members she has worked with because he meticulously did his homework on council matters. She noted that he “single-handedly” worked on Basalt’s efforts to increase the purchase age for tobacco products from 18 to 21, approved by the council this year, and raising the tax on tobacco products to help battle addiction, approved by voters April 3.

Grauer said it was “an honor” to work with the council.