Steamboat City Council races begin to heat up

Councilman Ken Brenner so far is unopposed for Nov. 6 election

Avi Salzman

— In all but one district, the races for City Council looked to have two, three or even four candidates vying for a seat in November’s election as of Wednesday afternoon. That, along with two potential tax questions that could be placed on the November ballot, make the votes cast on Nov. 6 especially meaningful, said City Councilman Ken Brenner.

“I think this is a real landmark election from the standpoint of giving important direction to city government, not only on the people who will be elected but also on the ballot issues,” Brenner said.

Brenner, a District II candidate, was the lone unopposed candidate in the city of Steamboat Springs as of 4 p.m. Wednesday, which he hopes means he will not have to spend time and money campaigning. Brenner has been on the City Council for four years. During his first two years, Brenner finished out another member’s term and was then elected for the at-large seat in 1999.

Brenner is on the joint city-county Area Plan Coordinating Committee, which will determine the framework for the Steamboat Springs Community Area Plan. He said he thinks that document can be an influential tool with which the community will be able to chart how it will grow. He is also very concerned with the city budget, which he said will soon not be able to pay for the same level of services the city has traditionally been able to offer residents and visitors.

He and Darcy Trask handed in petitions with at least 25 signatures on them Wednesday to run for the council. There are still 12 days to pull petitions and get signatures.

Trask expressed concern last week that she would not be able to juggle two jobs, a family and her duties as a councilwoman. As of Wednesday, however, she was excited to start campaigning.

She is running in District III, where Council President Pro Tem Kathy Connell plans to try for another term. Victor Steele also pulled petitions Wednesday for the District III seat.

District I, which had no candidates attempting to run last week, now has two potential candidates: Omar Campbell and Jim Goossens. Campbell has been an outspoken opponent of the city spending money on tourism marketing and uncontrolled growth.

Trask said she thinks she has a particularly unique perspective on Steamboat because she has studied resort communities and teaches about them at Colorado Mountain College but works in a somewhat less resort-based job. Trask works for The Industrial Company as an administrative assistant for a project called TRAC-10.

“I feel like my primary advantage as a potential City Council member would be that I don’t come to the table with any allegiances with any particular segment of the economy so I can be very objective,” Trask said.

Trask said she thinks she can help solve some of the difficulties working families face in the valley, including everything from affordable housing to child care. Trask currently sits on the First Impressions board but said she will have to step down if she is elected to the council.

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