Rippy resigns from administrator job |

Rippy resigns from administrator job

Heidi Rice
Western Garfield County Staff

NEW CASTLE ” Some people are just hard to replace and according to town officials, New Castle Town Administrator Steve Rippy will be one of them.

Rippy announced his resignation at Tuesday night’s town council meeting after years of serving on the council, as the mayor and most recently as the town administrator.

“I just think that it’s time for me to step aside and allow someone else with new and operational ideas,” Rippy said. “I got into this because I love the town and I enjoyed the idea of building a community.”

Rippy was first appointed to the town council (then a board), in May of 1986. Born and raised in New Castle, Rippy, and his wife Becky, built their first home on Main Street.

“I was always out in the yard and one of the council people came up and asked me if I would consider serving on the board,” Rippy recalled.

He did and after two terms was elected mayor by the voters in April 1994. At the time he was also working at the Garfield County Assessor’s Office ” starting first as an appraiser in July 1981 and then elected as county assessor in January 1995.

He resigned his position as assessor and as mayor in July 2001 to take the New Castle town administrator position.

“I had always wanted to get involved because I saw a town that had been stagnant for a number of years,” Rippy said. “I love this community and I thought it could be something special.”

And help build it he did.

During his tenure, Rippy has seen a number of changes in what was once mainly a mining and agricultural town. During the last several years, New Castle has experienced one of the fastest growth rates in the state, rising from a population of 1,500 in 1996 to about 3,000 now.

Rippy was involved with directing the rapid housing development throughout town, the dramatic increase in commercial businesses, especially in the New Castle Plaza on the east side of town, the expansion of town water and wastewater treatment services, the passage of a 1/2-cent sales tax increase to fund parks improvements, formulating a home rule charter, implementing a streetscape design and constructing street improvements throughout the town…

Along the way, Rippy also became fascinated with the town’s history – earning him a reputation as a local town history buff.

“It came as part of being involved in the town and as I got into it, I became enthralled with the history of the town,” Rippy said.

Current Mayor Bill Wentzel, who is a good friend of Rippy’s and worked with him on town issues for a number of years, said Rippy will be sorely missed.

“He’s a good friend and he’s made my job tremendously easier and more productive,” Wentzel said. “It will be difficult to replace him, that’s for sure. I can’t express how much he means to the town. We’re going to miss him.”

Rippy’s official resignation date is effective on Jan. 1, 2006, but he says he’ll stay on until a suitable and qualified successor is found ” a process which could take from three to six months.

“We’re not going to rush the search and we’ll take as long as it takes to get a qualified person,” Wentzel said. “It won’t be easy to replace Steve, but we’ll find a quality person for New Castle.”

When a replacement is found, what will Rippy do next?

He could work in another town capacity, act as a consultant or start a career as a commercial appraiser.

“I’m not sure,” Rippy said. “I may just take some time to see what I want to do next.”

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