Basalt’s new council members outline their biggest issues

Angela Anderson and Dieter Schindler join the board after an uncontested election

Tuesday was slated as election day for three seats on the Basalt Town Council but it was canceled for lack of interest. Only three candidates entered the ring.

Incumbent Ryan Slack will return for his second four-year term. Newcomers Dieter Schinder and Angela Anderson will take seats uncontested.

Basalt Mayor Bill Kane said he has met with both new members of the board and believes they will make solid contributions. He said he was surprised the election didn’t draw more interest.

“There are a couple of ways you can interpret it,” Kane said. “Well, we don’t have (any) barn-burning issues on the front page every day that really get people stoked. Maybe it’s an indication that people feel like it’s going OK, (they) don’t have to get in there.

“Or maybe it’s boring,” he continued. “I’m not sure what to say. We didn’t get bad people. We got three really good people to serve on council.”

Schindler and Anderson will take their seats on April 12 at the council first meeting after the election date. They replace Gary Tennenbaum, who couldn’t run again because of term limits, and Bill Infante, who declined a re-election bid.

Despite the lack of an election, The Aspen Times asked Schindler and Anderson to answer questionnaires to acquaint them to the community.

Angela Anderson

Angela Anderson

Age: 38

Education: I have a Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in Mass Media and Speech Communication from Houston Baptist University

Occupation: I’m primarily a stay-at-home mom

Family: My husband, Aaron Ward, and I have two sons, Anderson (6) and Ever (3)

Neighborhood: Willits

Years residing in Basalt: 7

Experience on volunteer boards: In 2018, I helped introduce a fundraiser called the Angel Tree project to Basalt and have volunteered on its board over the last few holiday seasons. Angel Tree serves local families each year to make sure every kid gets a gift under the tree. I’m currently volunteering on the Teacher Appreciation Week committee at Basalt Elementary.

Why did you decide to run for town council?

I love Basalt! It’s a gem of a town and I’m grateful to have the opportunity to raise my kids here. I want to show them that it’s important to give back to your community however you can. And, at present, our town council has only one female council member. Gender diversity in leadership is a good thing, so it’s important to bring more women into positions of influence in our town.

The affordable housing crisis is particularly acute now. What ideas do you want to explore to ease it?

We need to take steps to convert short-term rentals in our area into housing for people who live and work here. I’d like to encourage private investment in local housing by offering a financial incentive for homeowners who offer long-term leases for locals.

It’s also vital to loosen restrictions on Accessory Dwelling Units. Allowing someone to build an ADU addresses two issues. First, it creates an opportunity for home ownership that might not otherwise exist. The cost of purchasing a home in this valley is a huge barrier for so many people. Having a rental unit attached to a home allows a prospective homeowner to have a guaranteed stream of income to help make a mortgage more affordable. And second, it brings a desperately needed rental unit into our community.

List three other primary issues that you want to address in the next four years:

— As a stay-at-home mom, I am personally impacted by the child care crisis facing our community. We need more facilities overall and more infant care.

— Recent data shows that human recreation impacts wildlife, and the elk population is especially suffering. I want to explore solutions like wildlife migration crossings to help prevent collisions and protect the animals that also call this place home.

— Like many other locals, I have been saddened to learn recently that some of the mental health resources in our community are not providing adequate care. I’ll be paying attention to this issue and supporting organizations that can provide mental health services for our residents.

Dieter Schindler

Dieter Schindler

Age: 49

Education: B.A. Political Science, Metropolitan University of Denver

Occupation: Food and Beverage

Family: Wife, Michelle Schindler; and daughter, Genevieve (10)

Neighborhood: Elk Run

Years residing in Basalt: 8 years

Experience on volunteer boards: Nearly two years on the Basalt Finance Advisory Board.

Why did you decide to run for town council?

I ran for town council (both times) because I am a personality who wants to help, be involved, and bring a pragmatic approach to solving the evolving issues that face our community. (Schindler ran for office in a contested election in 2020 and narrowly lost.)

The affordable housing crisis is particularly acute now. What ideas do you want to explore to ease it?

Affordable housing has been an issue the Roaring Fork Valley has been grappling with for many years. I think ADU incentives and increased deed restriction incentives could be a few tools to deploy for near-term relief in this current housing crisis. That said, I recognize that sustainable strategies to address the affordable housing issue require robust valley-wide collaboration and need to be nimble to seize immediate opportunities while staying steady in moving toward longer-term solutions. Fortunately, there is already a wealth of information, strategies, tools and learned experiences in the struggle to address affordable housing. As a Basalt Town Councilor, I plan to further immerse myself in this information, bring ideas forward, collaborate and help execute on strategies that address the affordable housing issue while maintaining the character and sense of community that make Basalt a place my family proudly calls home.

List three other primary issues that you want to address in the next four years:

— Finding solutions to enhance early childhood care and education opportunities.

— Grow after school programs and recreational opportunities for middle and high school students.

— Keeping up the positive momentum of Basalt Forward 2030. There are a good number of projects in motion already. I don’t want to lose site of some of the runners up, such as a new and necessary police facility.

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