Engelken won't seek re-election

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— As of the first day to pull petitions to run for City Council, candidates for half of the open seats will not have to contend with incumbents.

City Councilman Jim Engelken announced Monday he will not seek re-election in November for another four-year term representing District II.

His announcement comes on the heels of City Council President Kevin Bennett's decision not to enter the District I race this year.

Councilman Ken Brenner and Council President Pro Tem Kathy Connell both said they will be pulling petitions and thus attempting to run, though no other community members have come forward to announce their candidacies. City Council races are nonpartisan.

City Clerk Julie Jordan-Struble said she expects people to start pulling petitions for the four open seats today, the first day she is allowed to give them out based on state statutes.

They will be due back Aug. 27 with at least 25 signatures on them.

There are three City Council districts in Steamboat Springs, all of which have a seat open in this year's election. Terms for the district seats last for four years. The one at-large seat, currently held by Brenner, is also up for grabs. That seat offers a two-year term on the council.

Brenner said he plans to be at the city clerk's office first thing this morning to pull papers.

Engelken, arguably the council's most passionate voice for affordable housing and a strong advocate for transportation funding, said the six years he has spent on the council have been very rewarding, but he now wants to devote time to other pursuits.

He said he hopes to keep his position on the board of the Regional Affordable Living Foundation, though that spot may be at risk because it is reserved for a public official.

Engelken said the council's biggest accomplishments during his six years included replacing all of the city's buses and vastly expanding transit services.

The council completed nearly 80 percent of the goals set forth in the Steamboat Springs Area Community Plan during his six years, Engelken said.

The intensity level and time commitment associated with being on the City Council, however, proved too much for what is essentially a volunteer position, Engelken said. Council members get paid $400 per month.

That doesn't mean he will be stepping away from civic engagement in Steamboat Springs altogether, however. Engelken said he may still pop his head into Centennial Hall every so often to let his voice be heard.

"You might see me at a few meetings," Engelken said. "I'll be checking up on them now and again."

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