Avon’s newest leaders readying ideas | VailDaily.com

Avon’s newest leaders readying ideas

Nicole Frey
Preston Utley/Vail DailyMayor Ron Wolfe thanks voters Wednesday in Avon. Wolfe was re-elected to the Avon Town Council Tuesday.

AVON ” With Avon Town Council candidates Mayor Ron Wolfe and Councilman Brian Sipes maintaining their positions behind the dais, attention is turning to the new guys on the council ” Dave Dantas and Rich Carroll.

Yesterday morning, Dantas’ 2-year-old, Benjamin, greeted his father saying, “Congratulations Daddy.”

“But he doesn’t realize what’s up yet,” Dantas said.

Adults are also expressing their enthusiasm for the new additions to the Avon Town Council.

“They have some fresh ideas and fresh perspective, which I think is going to be good,” said Councilwoman Kristi Ferraro. “I think it’s going to be a pleasure to work with them. It’s not going to upset the dynamic we have. I think it’s going to add to it.”

The newbies’ first job will be to get up to speed on town business ” no easy feat current councilors said.

“The learning curve is pretty steep for a couple months, but I’m sure they’ll jump right in,” Councilwoman Tamra Nottingham Underwood said.

Councilwoman Amy Phillips said during her first eight months on council, she spent 10 to 12 hours every weekend studying town-related information so she could make informed decisions. But Carroll said he’s not worried and prepared to put in the time to read up and talk to town staff and fellow councilors to catch up.

“The busier I am, the more I get done,” Carroll said. “I’m really excited. It’s a huge responsibility.”

Dantas was equally unfazed by the task ahead, though he conceded, “I’m going to be busy, but it’s a good thing.”

While they’re busy digesting Avon info, they’ll also be pitching their own ideas. Dantas has long said he wants to work on reducing or eliminating property transfer taxes for first-time home buyers or those who move within the town.

Wolfe said those taxes fund Avon amenities, like parks, but it’s worth looking into. So is a Wildridge shuttle Dantas and Carroll have expressed interest in, Wolfe added.

“I’m skeptical that people will use the shuttle, but we owe it to the people to try,” Wolfe said. “It’s been years since it was done.”

Carroll said he’s got ideas for small projects, including improving relations between people in Wildridge and the Avon police. In the long-term, he wants to get an ambulance station in Avon and also improve the relationship between the town and Traer Creek, which developed Wal-Mart and The Home Depot.

“I think people wanted a little balance between experience and fresh folks,” Carroll said. “I think my thoughtfulness and willingness to work with people resonated with them. I think I’ve got an obligation to improve communication between Traer Creek and Avon.”

Traer Creek president, Magnus Lindholm, had endorsed Dantas and Carroll, but extended his congratulations to all the winners.

The Eagle County Republican Women said they were also pleased with the outcome of the election that put two of the group’s endorsed candidates ” Dantas and Carroll ” in council.

“As a Republican Party, we were looking for fresh faces,” said Henri Stone, president of the Eagle County Republican Women, which endorsed Dantas and Carroll. “I think it’s a good game plan, and for us to have a healthy community, we need to have that.”

The group deviated from the norm endorsing unaffiliated candidate Dantas instead of Republican incumbent Wolfe.

Phillips said total turnover is dangerous.

“Complete turnover would not serve the citizens at all,” Phillips said. “We’ve got so many things that are going on, to get a new council person up to speed, it takes, like, eight months.

“I hope that we don’t have complete turnover in the next election as well, but with the campaigning getting as ugly as it was, I’m not sure that I’m going to want to do that again,” she said. “But the two that got hit the worst (Wolfe and Sipes) got elected, so it proves it doesn’t work.”

Candidate Karri Willemssen, who didn’t make it into council on her first try this year, said she’d be back in 2008 and was happy the negative ads circulated during the campaign didn’t involve her.

“I’ve learned a lot going around this time,” Willemssen said. “Now I know next time, I need more exposure. I need to use different strategies. I need to hit more on knocking on doors, make my name larger on signs and get more letters to the editor.”

Candidate Chris Green said he’ll keep his seat on Avon’s Planning and Zoning Commission.

“You know, I didn’t have an ego going into this thing,” he said. “I set out to put my hat in the ring to serve … I gave it my best shot, and I’m comfortable with that.”

Staff Writer Nicole Frey can be reached at 748-2927 or nfrey@vaildaily.com.

Vail, Colorado

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