Race for city council is wide open
Rifle’s city council is going to look quite a bit different come this fall.
Of the four seats up for election, Councilor Joe Elliott is the only incumbent running for a seat. The other three incumbents — who will have served a combined total of 24 years when the current terms end in September — are taking their names out of the race.
The decision effectively means council will have at least three new members after the Sept. 8 municipal election.
So far, no potential candidates have turned in the required nominating petition, according to Rifle Clerk Lisa Hamilton. Candidates have until the end of the business day June 29 to return a petition with at least 15 valid signatures from registered Rifle voters to the city clerk’s office.
Several people have contacted Hamilton’s office seeking a petition, but with the city pushing the availability of the petition online it is hard to gauge what the actual interest is, she said.
All four seats are at-large positions, and three of the four seats are for terms ending in September 2019. The fourth term — which will go to the candidate who comes in fourth place — ends in 2017.
Although the potential interest within the community is still unknown, the city usually does not have a hard time finding enough candidates to run, said Mayor Pro Tem Jay Miller — one of the three incumbents not running for reelection.
Asked to comment on his decision not to run again, Miller, who is nearing the end of his second four-year term, said the time is right.
“I don’t believe in making a career out of the position,” he said. “Eight years is enough.”
The only councilor with more years on council than Miller is Jonathan Rice, who is finishing out his third four-year term. Rice has also decided not to run for reelection.
“When I got on the council my oldest son was a third-grader and he’s about to start his third hear of college,” Rice said. “When I think about it in those terms that’s a long time.”
Councilor Rich Carter is hanging it up after four years on council. While the experience has been rewarding, Carter said his schedule has become increasingly busy. He intends to continue serving on the boards of various community organizations.
As for any advice for incoming councilors, Carter said, “Love your city, love your town.”
Rice shared similar advice and also suggested coming into the position with an open mind.
The departure of Rice, Carter and Miller would make Elliott one of the more senior councilors, if his reelection efforts are successful. Having been appointed to council in September 2014 to serve the remainder of a term vacated by Hans Parkinson, Elliott admitted the thought of being one of the more experienced councilors seemed weird.
If reelected, he said he would focus on improving the city’s infrastructure.
Ballots for the Sept. 8 municipal election will be mailed starting Aug. 17, and must be returned via mail or in person to the clerk by 7 p.m. the day of the election. Anyone wishing to run for council can pick up a petition packet at the clerks office or online at http://www.rifleco.org/election.
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