Carbondale trustees interview board applicants
Carbondale trustees began interviewing applicants to fill the position that Trustee A.J. Hobbs is soon to vacate during their Tuesday meeting.
The board interviewed four of the six applicants, the majority of whom are women.
Since former Mayor Stacey Bernot’s resignation and the end of former Trustee Pam Zentmyer’s second term, the board has been dominated by men with the exception of Trustee Katrina Byars.
Prior to the interviews Ed Cortez, who’s running for mayor against Mayor Pro-Tem Dan Richardson, opposed the board’s decision to appoint the next trustee rather than send the issue to voters.
Heather Henry, a local landscape architect and owner of The Plantium Company and Connect One Design, who has also served on the town’s parks and recreation board and planning commission, said that building all that experience made her feel prepared to apply for the board.
“I’m ready to sit here and join you guys.”
Carbondale is frequently considering renewable energy issues, Henry noted, adding that alternative transportation is an issue close to her heart.
Henry’s vision for the town in five years is to have supported alternative transportation to the point that biking, walking and buses overtake cars on the roads.
Michael Durant, a local small business owner who’s also spent six years on the planning commission, focused on his commitment to solid financial management and accountability to taxpayers.
Durant said he doesn’t bring any ideology to the board other than a strong belief that a healthy economy is based on growth.
“If we’re not growing then we’re dying.”
He characterized himself as a “numbers guy” who wants to see specific results and returns on investment.
Durant said his chief concern for Carbondale is supporting the business environment. He suggested tapping into Carbondale’s art district as an economic driver.
Durant also ran for the board of trustee in the Carbondale municipal election in April.
Rebecca Moller, a paralegal in Carbondale who also has served on the parks and recreation board, focused on the double-edged sword of some affordable housing solutions others have presented.
Candidates in the most recent election all talked about affordable housing and many supported higher density in Carbondale, but they didn’t address the traffic and parking problems that high density brings, she said.
“I agree that affordable housing is a big issue in Carbondale, but we must do it smartly and we must not think that limiting the number of cars in a high-density area is a viable solution to the parking issue,” she wrote in her application.
Moller said she’s not afraid of being the dissenting voice in a room.
“I’m usually the one dissenting vote. It wouldn’t be the first time.”
Erica Sparhawk, program manager for Clean Energy Economy for the Region, said she’s put in plenty of time at long trustee meetings in her role with CLEER.
A Carbondale native, Sparhawk said there’s a lot more to her than just her position at CLEER. She focused on continuing the town’s improved connectivity and the need to diversify Carbondale’s economy.
The town’s boards and events also need to draw more representation from the Latino community, said Sparhawk, who also speaks Spanish.
For affordable housing the board should partly build its reserve funding to have the money available to jump into an affordable housing opportunity when it arises, Sparhawk said.
The board is scheduled to interview the last two applicants, Beth Broome, a local veterinary technician and ranch hand, and Gwen Garcelon, co-founder and director of Roaring Fork Food Alliance, during its Sept. 13 meeting, when the board may also decide on an appointment.
After the appointment, the board is still going to be short one member.
Bernot’s replacement will be elected in November, and if Richardson, the current mayor pro tem is voted in, the trustees will have to go through the process of filling a vacancy on the board, again.
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Grace Wesseling is an animal lover, a cheerleader of seven years and another soon-to-be graduate of Bridges High School, class of 2021.