Avon Town Council election: 5 candidates to run for 4 open seats

Plus, the local issues Avon voters can expect to see on November’s ballot

In the Nov. 8, 2022 election, five candidates are running for four open seats on the Avon Town Council.
Courtesy Photo

This November, voters in Avon will be voting on four open Town Council seats. These open seats are currently held by Mayor Sarah Smith Hymes and Council member Scott Prince, both of whom are term-limited, as well as Council members Tamra Underwood and Chico Thuon.

Aspiring candidates had until Monday, Aug. 29, to file their nomination petitions with Patty McKenny, Avon’s deputy town manager and town clerk. According to McKenny, the town received five nomination petitions for the open seats on the council.

These five candidates include incumbents Underwood and Thuon, and former Avon Town Council member Rich Carroll. Calyn Rieger and Ruth Stanley are also running.

The candidates are each running for a four-year term in the nonpartisan election. And, per the town’s charter, the four candidates that receive the highest number of votes in the general election will fill the open seats.

The Town Council vote will be a part of the Tuesday, Nov. 8, election, which is being conducted as a mail ballot election and is coordinated with the Eagle County Clerk & Recorder’s Office.

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Following the November election, the mayor and mayor pro tem will be elected by the council members. The mayor and mayor pro tem will serve two-year terms in these roles. Amy Phillips is the town’s current mayor pro tem.

What else will be on the ballot for Avon?

Alongside the Town Council election, Avon voters should expect to see a number of additional county, statewide and federal ballot measures and candidates. This includes congressional and senate races, county elections and more.

Initially, the town of Avon was considering the addition of multiple taxes on this November ballot. This included a possible marijuana tax, a construction use tax as well as a sales and/or lodging tax to fund a new regional transportation authority.

However, after voter polling on each of these tax questions, a concern arose that voters would be more likely to nix certain taxes if there were too many taxes on the ballot. This concern stemmed from the overall results of the Avon survey, which showed voter support for the construction use tax, marijuana tax, and a lodging tax to support the regional transportation authority. Respondents did not, however, support a sales tax to support the authority.

“Knowing that there were other polls that Avon did have support for the RTA tax and that our poll asked that question third and we had people not in support of it, the hypothesis is that asking three tax questions in a row was probably not conducive to a yes vote,” said Town Manager Eric Heil at the Aug. 23 Avon Town Council meeting. “The discussion with council and what staff presented is rather than potentially dilute Avon voter support for the RTA with other ballot questions is to hold off on those until next year and focus all of our effort on the RTA.”

At its Tuesday, Aug. 23 meeting, certain members of the Avon Town Council did express a desire to see the marijuana tax on the November ballot as well.

“I just feel the demand is there. The town, in my opinion, is open to it. I don’t want to take away from the RTA at all, but it seems like every time the marijuana issue comes up something supersedes it as more important and it gets pushed down the road,” said Council member RJ Andrade. “The poll showed 75% to 76% in favor of this tax, with 35% in favor of the RTA, that’s a pretty huge gap and I think to ignore the 75% that were in favor and not at least even put it on the ballot is very irresponsible of us.”

However, this desire — which also was supported by council members Thuon and Lindsay Hardy as well — was not supported by the majority of council, which voted to only put the regional transportation tax question on the ballot for Avon voters so as not to “cloud the issue,” as Prince put it.

“I am opposed to putting the marijuana tax on because I do think this RTA is a monumental effort across jurisdictions and has huge implications for the community,” Smith Hymes said “I do not want to jeopardize the RTA.”

Specifically, Avon voters will be asked to approve a new sales tax as well as vote on the formation of the regional transportation authority. According to the resolution passed by the council on Aug. 24, voters will be asked to approve a new half-cent sales tax to fund the proposed Eagle Valley Transportation Authority. This tax, if approved, would be supplemented by the existing half-cent sales tax that funds ECO Transit to fund the new authority and its plans.

The ballot question states that this tax is projected to generate around $15.5 million in the first year.

The Eagle Valley Regional Transportation Authority effort spans all of Eagle County’s jurisdictions, which includes Eagle County and the towns of Avon, Eagle, Gypsum, Minturn, Red Cliff, Vail and the Beaver Creek Metro District.

And while each of these jurisdictions’ councils and boards will have to pass a resolution to put the sales tax and regional transportation authority intergovernmental agreement to a vote of its residents, the authority will only be formed should Vail, Avon, Eagle County (representing unincorporated portions of the county) and the Beaver Creek Metro District pass the resolution and be affirmed by voters in each individual jurisdiction.

Avon’s council passed its resolution to put the matter in front of voters, but does have a special meeting “penciled in” for Wednesday, Sept. 7, should these other required jurisdictions not decide to put the matter on the ballot. However, these jurisdictions do appear primed to do so, as all eight municipalities submitted letters of intent to do so earlier this month to the Eagle County clerk and recorder.

Municipalities have until Sept. 9 to certify ballot content for the 2022 election to the county clerk.

To check your voter eligibility and registration information, visit For Avon-specific election information, visit or call the town clerk’s office at 970-748-4001. For information on the Eagle County general election, visit or call the county clerk’s office at 970-328-8715.

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