Government tracker: Minturn fills final two council seats
Board: Minturn Town Council, evening meeting, May 4.
Present: Terry Armistead, Sidney Harrington, Harvey Craig, Earle Bidez and Mayor Matt Scherr.
Issue: Filling two vacant town council seats.
Who they talked to: Eight candidates applied for two two-year terms. One seat was vacated by Jason Osborne, and the other was vacated by Scherr when he became mayor.
What they talked about: Each candidate spoke for about two minutes and then answered two questions focused on the future of Minturn and growth. Every candidate spoke in favor of growth, but in a sustainable and safe way. Another hot topic was continuing to build infrastructure to bring people to town.
How they voted: Three rounds of voting were required. The first round resulted in a three-way tie between John Widerman, Brad Bickerton and Sage Pierson. Widerman came out the favorite in the second round of voting, earning the first seat. The third and final round of voting between Bickerton and Pierson determined Pierson would fill the second council seat.
“It was a tough crowd,” said Widerman, an employee of the Eagle County Schools who drives the bus route from Red Cliff to Minturn and helps maintain Maloit Park. “The eight people that were up there were spectacular, and I did not expect it.”
Pierson is the owner of Sticky Fingers Cafe and said, “I was going to be a part of it no matter what.”
What’s next: The seven-person council is now full. Armistead, Harrington and Craig all were voted into council for the first time in April, also when Scherr unseated former Mayor Hawkeye Flaherty. Pierson and Widerman now complete the council.
Issue: Closing First Street for a safety project.
Who they talked to: Resident and businesswoman Kristen Tarrin.
What they talked about: Tarrin raised concerns about the recent closing of First Street. Her main concerns include safety for both pedestrians and cars, loss of parking, emergency vehicle response times and a hindrance to local businesses. Two other residents echoed their concerns, saying it’s going to be a “nightmare,” and emphasized safety and confusion.
What’s next: Scherr said this is a tough scenario for new council members because the previous council did all of the vetting to approve this project, which is in motion. Bidez said the town spent the money to study this project, two years in the making, with a bottom line about safety.
Issue: Holy Cross Energy projected plan to build 60-foot tall power lines through town limits.
Who they talked to: Willy Powell, town manager; Janet Hawkinson, town planner; and Mike Sawyer, town attorney.
What they talked about: Town staff told the council of Holy Cross Energy’s potential plan to bring a power line through Minturn to serve as a backup for Vail and Avon if something were to happen to the power in Wolcott. The line is projected to go from Gilman to Avon. Scherr said it would be an “ugly stain” that has no benefit to Minturn. Harrington said Holy Cross has been going door-to-door to talk with residents, but that they’ve been very “vague.” The energy company hasn’t yet made a presentation to the council.
What’s next: Scherr said the council should draft a letter and go to the next Holy Cross Energy board of directors meeting to try to understand more about what Holy Cross Energy is trying to do, and to convey the town’s displeasure. Powell said the company’s time frame for this project is “up in the air.”
Reporter Ross Leonhart can be reached at 970-748-2915 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Instagram at colorado_livin_on_the_hill.