Dramatically altered council ponders future

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After a swearing-in ceremony Tuesday, the new Steamboat Springs City Council will have to elect a new council president.

The choice could be down to two.

"There's really only two candidates," said newly elected City Councilwoman Cari Hermacinski, referring to the experience of current councilmen Steve Ivancie and Loui Antonucci. "You need someone with institutional knowledge to run meetings."

But Hermacinski also said the most important thing would be to choose a president who really wants the job, whether it's an existing council member or not.

Jon Quinn, who defeated Councilwoman Karen Post in District 3, agreed that the new council president doesn't have to be Ivancie or Antonucci, but said electing one of the two might be a wise gesture.

"I can tell you I'm not interested in the job," Quinn said. "But choosing one of the previous council members shows a willingness to pull together."

This year's election gave five new citizens seats in Centennial Hall - and took seats from all three incumbent candidates - presenting what City Manager Alan Lanning called "a potentially dramatic shift in philosophy."

Ivancie and Antonucci will be the lone remnants of the current City Council. Ivancie - who on Election Day, said "I fully support the incumbents" - said Friday that he is looking forward to his first meeting with the new City Council this week.

"It's new blood," Ivancie said. "I think one of the very exciting things I see is they're young professionals with families, which I think bodes well for our community. : When it comes down to it, we all want what's best for this community. I'm sure all these people care deeply about their community."

Getting a handle

If there will be a dramatic shift, the new council members aren't letting on to it.

"I don't have any big moves," Scott Myller said Tuesday night.

Myller defeated current City Council President Susan Dellinger, who wondered the same night how the new council will fare with so much inexperience.

"I'm going to be surprised to see how it goes with only two who have been on there," she said.

Quinn said any dramatic changes would be put on the back burner while he learns the ins and outs of being a councilman.

"At this point, it's a matter of wrapping my brain around the task and actually getting a handle on the process," Quinn said Tuesday. "Since I wasn't really sitting there, I'm going to have to take a long, hard look at what was done."

Lanning plans to help Quinn and the other new council members take that look by bringing them a list of decisions made by the current City Council, to see if the new council wants to see them through. Lanning said city staff would adapt to whatever decisions the new City Council makes.

"I guess we'll change as the issues are changed, whatever pace that is at," Lanning said Wednesday.

Pendulum swings

Both Quinn and Myller expressed a desire to revisit the city's decision to cancel its intergovernmental agreement with the Routt County Regional Building Department. The city currently is analyzing a possible contract with an outside contractor to provide building department services for the city. Quinn said repairing the rift with the county department would improve city-county relations and adopt less of a "go-it-alone attitude."

Councilman Towny Anderson, defeated Tuesday by Hermacinski, said he isn't too worried about the current City Council's work being undone.

"I think that the measure of our success as a council is what sticks in the next couple years and what doesn't," Anderson said Tuesday night. "The pendulum has swung. If it swings too far to the right, there's going to be an outcry. I believe in the collective wisdom of the community."

Hermacinski said she wants to change the way City Council interacts with the community and increase its efficiency.

"I don't know about a major change in philosophy, but I sure want a major change in procedure," she said.

Specifically, Hermacinski said she would like to see the council no longer serve as the city's liquor license authority, give more power to the Steamboat Springs Planning Commission, hold less executive - or secret - sessions and run on a tighter schedule.

The new council also will need to replace Hermacinski and Myller on the Planning Commission. Planning Director Tom Leeson said the normal procedure will be used, and the City Council will appoint two people to fulfill the vacant terms. Leeson said he expects that process to take about a month. In the meantime, he said the commission has enough members to make a four-member quorum and conduct business as usual.

- To reach Brandon Gee, call 871-4210

or e-mail bgee@steamboatpilot.com

Comments

steamboatsprings 6 years, 11 months ago

Great article Brandon. I am confident that the new council will take a measured approach, truly understand the issues they face, set priorities and work efficiently to conduct the city's business.

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sugarcone22 6 years, 11 months ago

I knew I voted for the RIGHT person when I read that "Hermacinski would like to see the city council no longer serve as the citys liquor license authority"

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STEMBOATwannabe 6 years, 11 months ago

Good Luck! With so many problems on the horizon, the city council will have much to do!

Residents of SS should be honored that you want to take on this job.

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below_me 6 years, 11 months ago

If not the city council as liquor authority, who do you propose should do it?

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