Minturn Council candidate: Bill Burnett |

Minturn Council candidate: Bill Burnett

Shane Macomber/Vail DailyBill Burnett first served on the Minturn Town Council in 1948. He is running for re-election April 4.

MINTURN ” Bill Burnett’s stint working on the railroad was brief.

The 85-year-old Minturn Town Council candidate was a “call boy” for about two weeks when he was 18. When a train crew came into town, Burnett’s job was to rouse the in-town replacement crew.

One time, the train also contained a herd of cattle that needed to be taken out and watered every eight hours, which happened to coincide with the changing of the crews. Burnett decided to have the first crew water the cattle, and thus a railroad official was unhappy he had to pay the men overtime.

“He said, ‘That damn fool in Minturn. Get rid of him,'” Burnett recalled.

Burnett’s stint on the town council has lasted a bit longer, serving since 1998 to the present and for eight years beginning in 1948. At 85, he said he still has energy.

“I don’t think I’m wore out yet,” Burnett said.

Burnett served in the Army during World War II, attacking the Philippines by landing on the island beaches.

“It was mostly brute strength,” Burnett said.

He’s seen the valley evolve over the years. Burnett worked for 15 years in the shops at Gilman and also at the mine mill. He built the hospital, high school and courthouse in Leadville. Later he helped bring “Vail out of the ground” as a contractor, he said.

He continued to work as a heating, electrical and plumbing contractor until he retired 20 years ago.

Burnett’s father came from Salida and his mother from Milwaukee. They met in Red Cliff. His father and grandfather worked for the railroad.

“The Burnett family has been here for a long time,” he said.

In 1958, Pete Seibert and Earl Eaton called a meeting of people in the town of Minturn in the old town hall. Now there were no drawing maps or sketches of what the meeting would be so for sure, it was a packed house.

Mr. Seibert presented his plan to build a ski resort and new town in the Gore Valley, and he wanted whatever help Minturn could give him. Well 44 years have gone by since Pete and Earl built their mountain and town, and the whole Eagle River Valley will never be the same.

This is just like what Bobby Ginn wants to do with his mountain. As a council candidate for Minturn I am in favor of finding out how Mr. Ginn’s project will be of value to Minturn.

As a council candidate I will keep the people informed what is going on so everybody can voice their concerns. Yes, it could be a wise move for Minturn.

As a candidate for re-election for council, I will make it a priority that everyone get involved in these impacts. How do we know what impacts will be until Mr. Ginn puts his final plans on the table?

Sure, we are going to have traffic whether Mr. Ginn develops the mountain or someone else does. Just be glad we will get our say on this project. Everybody has these concerns.

As a candidate for re-election, I would ask the people what ideas they have for the money rather than rely on my own ideas. What we really need are places for our little kids and the big kids to have a place to do something.

The same goes for seniors. We need a place to meet, exercise and other good things. Just look at what some of our neighboring towns have for their people.

One of the big issues to consider if the town has extra money is lowering the sewer and water fees so people can afford to live in Minturn. Can you imagine in days gone by the water rent was $2 a month. The whole town operated on this water income.

As a candidate for re-election, I know these issues and problems. We’ve got a list of big issues including sidewalks, roads and snow removal. We need to pay our staff more for all the work they have to do out there. Plowing snow at 5 a.m. is quite a chore.

Another big issue we will be facing is what to with the old town hall ” tear it down or make a museum. In years gone by the school district gave this building to the fire department and the fire department gave it to the town. Time will tell what we finally do.

When I get re-elected I will do my best to get this issue resolved so people can use this building or build a new one. This is a big item. We know people need a place to hold meetings where they don’t have to pay for space.

As a candidate for re-election, I will get these issues on the table. The biggest concern everybody is talking about is parking. Regardless of what kind of store you have there has to be parking for customers somewhere.

Just like Vail, they charge each store for a parking space in the parking structure, and the parking place is nowhere near the actual store. We have a parking space for these businesses, but they do not want to pay for a space that isn’t close to their store. I will keep working on this problem.

Well the town election laws say all you got to do is be a citizen in Minturn for two years.

I think we need council people that can attend all the meetings, get along with each other and respect each other when you are talking about town business. One of the biggest issues is to keep your cool when people at the meeting disagree with what is going on.

I think I am qualified for all these things and appreciate your vote.

Staff Writer J.K. Perry can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14622, or

Vail, Colorado

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