Red Cliff voters choose mayor, board members
RED CLIFF, Colorado – Voters in Eagle County’s oldest town Tuesday elected a new mayor and three new town board members, and returned an incumbent to office who had been appointed earlier this year.
Scott Burgess won the mayor’s job. Newcomers Jake Spears, Jaclyn Parks, Kelli Holtz and Chris Keran also earned seats on the town board. Anuschka Bales, appointed earlier this year, will return to the board.
Several of the candidates gathered Tuesday evening at Mango’s to wait for results and talk about their hopes for the town.
Burgess said one of the things he’d like to tackle, and soon, is trying to organize a town cleanup, especially since Red Cliff, like the rest of the county, doesn’t have much snow on the ground these days.
But there’s plenty of other pressing business to attend to. Since it looks as if it may be some time before the town, the Eagle River Water and Sanitation District and their insurance companies settle all their various claims over a town water system freeze-up in February, the current town board Monday voted to reimburse individual property owners for costs they incurred to get their own lines running again.
Getting settled with the water and sanitation district may be the biggest item on the new board’s to-do list as they settle in to work. So is a substantial town debt, combined with the county’s highest property tax rates and highest water bills.
“We’re going to have to get educated,” Parks said.
New board member Chris Keran said he wants the board to dive right into money matters.
“It’s hard to appeal to people who might want to invest in the town with our high taxes and water bills,” Keran said.
That job might be easier if the town could reduce or eliminate its debt, he said.
Stepanie Burgess, Scott Burgess’ wife, said she hopes the new board brings a fresh attitude to the work ahead.
“I hope they all come in with enthusiasm and vibrancy – it’s exciting,” she said.
Parks and Keran, who together run Mango’s, said they also want the town government to communicate better with its residents. Parks said she’d like to get the town’s website up to date.
“It took a long time to just figure out how to get involved,” Parks said.
Longtime resident Bob Will agreed that the town’s government needs to communicate better with residents, but also to the rest of the county.
“They need credibility and responsibility,” Will said.
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