Our View: Candidates Chico Thuon, Adrienne Perer, Russell Andrade and Tamra Nottingham Underwood are right for Avon
October 28, 2018
Every once in a while, voters have a chance to start fresh — or at least significantly so — with local government. Avon voters have that opportunity this fall.
There are four seats up for election this year — a majority on the seven-member Avon Town Council. Eight people are seeking those seats: two incumbents and six new faces.
This year, we're recommending the election of new people to the board: Chico Thuon, Adrienne Perer, Russell Andrade and Tamra Nottingham Underwood.
Thuon, Perer and Andrade are all newcomers to town government, but they also have first-hand experience in the town's business community. That's important for a town that wants to project a more pro-business stance. Perer and Andrade in particular have had to manage businesses — Perer owns a gallery in town, Andrade is general manager of a local restaurant. That means they know the challenges of keeping a business running and successful.
Perer, Andrade and Thuon have all talked about the need to take steps to create more workforce housing in and around town. All three want to know more about the costs of moving the historic Hannewald barn — currently located on land owned by the Eagle River Water & Sanitation District.
This trio tends to favor a hard look at Avon's existing real estate transfer tax, arguing that the current 2 percent levy makes homes less affordable.
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Andrade, Perer and Thuon have all talked about the need for the town to take a hard look at spending projects. The most recent, the "road diet" project to narrow Beaver Creek Boulevard, recently came in nearly $1 million over budget. The eastern portion of the work has also been delayed until the spring of 2019.
Besides the trio of newcomers, Nottingham Underwood would be a steady-hand addition to the council.
A former member of the board — albeit more than a decade ago — Nottingham Underwood knows well the language of local government, particularly in her work as an attorney. Nottingham Underwood played an important role in drafting the documents that created the special district that now holds The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa. Adding the gondola that runs from the valley floor up to Beaver Creek was an important addition, both for the town and the resort.
In addition to the continuing business of the town, the next council is responsible for choosing a new town manager. That person will be responsible for the town's day-to-day operations, as well as executing council priorities for future action.
The four candidates have varying ideas about the qualities a new manager should have, but all seem amenable to reopening the search for a manager if the current candidates aren't acceptable.
The town of Vail in 2017 reopened its search when seeking to replace longtime manager Stan Zemler. That move has so far seemed to work well.
Three newcomers and a veteran would bring a combination of new ideas and an understanding of what's possible to a town government that in the past few years has seemed to lack a steady vision for the future.
Avon isn't a resort town, but it's an important part of the valley's community and economic life. The town requires leaders who understand both day-to-day life and the big picture. Nottingham Underwood, Perer, Andrade and Thuon will be effective guides for the town in years to come.
The Vail Daily Editorial Board is Publisher Mark Wurzer, Editor Krista Driscoll, Assistant Editor Ross Leonhart and Business Editor Scott Miller.
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