Meet Basalt’s three mayoral candidates

William S. Infante

Age: 58

Family: Married to Betina Moreira Infante for 25 years; two children Rafaelo Moreira Infante (22) and Sofia Moreira Infante (20)

Education: University of Michigan — MS environmental policy and MA in economics; University of Vermont — BA economics

Occupation: Economist and business person

Neighborhood: Historic Old Town

Political or civic experience: Basalt Town Council — elected 2018; 25 years of public service between the U.S. State Department/U.S. Agency for International Development and the United Nations.

Why are you running for Basalt mayor?

For 25 years I have promoted democratic values of civic engagement and good, accountable and transparent governance as an international public servant with the US State Department/USAID and with the United Nations. Living and working overseas, it has always been my plan to run for elected office once settled back into the U.S.

Having served now for two years as a councilperson I see opportunities to make Basalt an even more incredible town by defining an identity and common purpose that unite our town and celebrate our history and legacy. Looking to the future, we will strengthen relations within our community and with the towns and counties with which we share the Roaring Fork Valley. Building these strong relations will equip us to tackle the challenges that we face collectively, and which include: housing, transport, energy, climate change, habitat protection and more. At this juncture, the best way for me to serve Basalt and deliver on our community’s expressed desire for connectedness, vibrancy and leadership will be as mayor.

What are three priorities for you?

In 2019, Basalt council, staff and I drafted and approved a strategic framework, the first in at least eight years. Such frameworks that define longer-term goals and objectives characterized my prior experience in federal government, because they provide the basis for transparent budgeting and for holding elected officials accountable.

Basalt’s strategic framework defines four objectives that also reflect my priorities, and thereby provide the critical basis upon which to budget, spend and deliver on our community’s priorities. These priorities include housing, child care, elderly care, green initiatives, arts and culture, and others. Addressing these and other priorities demands coordination with the cities, towns and counties that comprise the Roaring Fork Valley is critical, and so enhancing and strengthening relations is fundamental to delivering on our pledge.

Among my specific priorities:

Sustaining commitment to accountable and transparent governance, which means protecting the financial and fiduciary interests of our taxpayers and town, and ensuring that funds are spent wisely and prudently in the future.

Advancing and supporting knowledge and ideas-based enterprises and entrepreneurship that promote social and economic vitality.

Encouraging the adoption of technology that connects our residents and businesses, and which promote resilience in response to climate change.

William (Bill) Kane

Age: 74

Family: Wife Carolyn

Education: Masters — regional planning and landscape architecture University of Pennsylvania ( Penn), BA Penn State

Occupation: Urban planning consultant (Design Workshop)

Neighborhood: Riverside Drive

Political or civic experience: Planning director Fort Collins, 1972-74; planning director Aspen/Pitkin County, 1974-78; Basalt town manager, 2009-2012.

Boards: Aspen Center for Environmental Studies, Aspen Valley Land Trust, Art Base (board president 2013-2019), Colorado Parks and Wildlife — commissioner 2007-2017

Why are you running for Basalt mayor?

To bring my years of public service experience to bear on the many challenges and opportunities that lie before us. I believe I have a hard-earned reputation for listening and facilitating constructive outcomes. We are poised to become a progressive, compassionate and inclusive community and I would like to be part of the process.

What are three priorities for you?

Our challenges and opportunities will focus on:

1) Long-range comprehensive planning with competent growth controls.

Complete the 2020 Comprehensive Plan update with plenty of public oversight.

Model and understand build out assumptions and reduce growth and impacts to fit community vision.

Create vibrant urban centers within a context of conserved open space. Create a European model for settlement.

Use POST funds to purchase conservation easements on critical land parcels to protect valued open space and reduce growth projections.

Implement our climate action plan.

Explore more locally based renewable energy options to include PV and expanded micro — hydro. (Add Lucksinger spring to current turbine).

Invest in Urban core improvements for Willits and Old Town. Create an Urban design plan that addresses sidewalks, lighting, landscaping, signage and way finding and improved street furniture.

2) Establishment of a clear community identity with our own cultural institutions.

Complete TACAW with town support as needed.

Finalize riverfront plan to enable the construction of a new Art Base.

Support building day care facilities at both Willits and Old Town.

Strong support of Basalt Education foundation and provide help for after school programs.

Continue collaboration with Habitat for Humanity and other more regionally based programs for expanded and targeted housing needs in Basalt.

Formalize communication arrangements for the Latino community to ensure that their voices are being heard.

Continue to fund Basalt Recreation programs and work with parents to identify specific program needs.

3) Honest communications to allow us to come together as small town friends, not bitter rivals.

End rival partisan politics and focus on overall town constituency.

Create a Basalt Community Forum.

Use the public hearing process for pro forma items and final action on complicated issues after they have been thoroughly aired publicly.

Expand on regular meetings with school district to work more together more closely.

Create an ex officio Latino advisory council.

Rob Leavitt

Age: 55

Family: Wife Erika, daughters Tess (16), Jordan (14), dog Bentley (13).

Education: BA Harvard University 1986, Professional Ski Instructors of America certified alpine, telemark and adaptive ski instructor, BEST card, general contracting license, Colorado Real Estate broker.

Occupation: President, Crimson Construction Inc. general contracting; Professional ski instructor, Aspen Highlands.

Neighborhood: River Oaks on the Roaring Fork

Political or civic experience: Basalt Town Council, 2012-2016, mayor pro tem 2014-2016; Basalt Planning and Zoning, 2018-present; Basalt Shooting Range task force, 2018-2019; Roaring Fork School District Facilities Master Plan Working Group, 2014; United Jewish Appeal Aspen Valley, board of directors, president, 2010-2014; River Oaks on the Roaring Fork Homeowners Association, president, 2010-present; Basalt Emergency Management Committee, member, 2012-2016; Mayor’s Cabinet, 2014-present; Golshim L’Chaim, Ski To Live, founding board member, 2008-present; Community Office for Renewable Energy (C.O.R.E.) board member, 2014-2016.

Why re you running for Basalt mayor?

Despite calls to have my head examined and friends questioning my sanity, my work on the Basalt Master Plan this past year, as a member of the Planning and Zoning Commission, has made me acutely aware of the amount of growth contemplated for Basalt. Until we figure out what to do about traffic, parking, where people are going to work and how many residents we can actually accommodate, we need to be more deliberate and strategic in our planning. We can’t build our way out of a growth problem.

What are three priorities for you?

1. A return to civil discourse. Small-town life, and small-town politics, should be about solving problems and improving lives, not battling over every little proposal. We have far more in common than not; we all love our town and wish for it to improve. Disagreements need not divide us. Lively debate is healthy and differing opinions make for better discussions, but mutual respect and a sense of humor should be part of every conversation.

2. Embracing and enhancing our schools, providing more housing for teachers, and making our children feel safe, supported and proud to be here. The Basalt Vista housing project behind the high school is a great example of how cooperation between the town, the schools, and Habitat for Humanity can provide a great product at the right price in the right place.

3. Putting the brakes on growth by limiting the size and scope of future developments. This does not mean NO growth, but we can build smaller developments that preserve open space and sustain our natural resources instead of maximizing build-out potential on every parcel. Density near transit, multiple price points and sustainable building should be goals of future growth.