Photo by Scott Franz
Steamboat Springs resident Maxine Ohman, left, listens to Steamboat Springs City Council President Cari Hermacinski answer questions during a public meeting at the Steamboat Springs Community Center on Monday. Hermacinski discussed the potential increase of water rates in the city as well as other local issues.
Steamboat Springs Steamboat Springs City Council President Cari Hermacinski didn’t have a hard time finding a hand to call on at the Steamboat Springs Community Center on Monday. Steamboat seniors asked Hermacinski a variety of questions about issues ranging from potential water rate increases to the reasoning behind the council’s selection of its newest member.
“There was a lot of consensus for Bart,” Hermacinski told audience members gathered at the Routt County Council on Aging meeting, referring to new council member Bart Kounovsky. “Someone with his type of financial background will be very beneficial to the city.”
Kounovsky, the chief operating officer of Colorado Group Realty, was selected last week to be the council’s newest member. Hermacinski said the council is deliberating on a number of important issues and said she was excited to get feedback from the community.
When asked about potential increases to the city’s water rates, Hermacinski told the audience the council was not taking the decision lightly.
“There was no enthusiasm from any of the members of the council surrounding water rate increases,” she said. “What a horrible time it is to be considering this. But to sustain our water funding, something has to be done.”
Hermacinski told the audience that she thinks modest water users should be rewarded monetarily for their low usage and that decisions about water rate increases would be made after the council has more time to meet and discuss alternatives. She said the council is considering several options besides rate increases, including one that would delay any increase until after the economic outlook in the city had time to improve.
Other residents asked questions that required simpler answers. Steamboat resident Nathalie Smith was concerned about the lack of crosswalk signage along some intersections of the Yampa River Core Trail. She told Hermacinski that she has witnessed several near-collisions between cyclists and cars near Fifth Street downtown.
“I need to know who to contact to request these signs,” Smith told Hermacinski. “We need to attract cyclists and tourists and get clarifications of the rules at these intersections.”
Hermacinski told Smith she could contact Philo Shelton, Steamboat’s director of public works, to request signage for potentially unsafe intersections.