10 apply for City Council seat by deadline

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— The candidate pool for the vacant Steamboat Springs City Council seat topped out at 10 Thursday, as a deputy district attorney and two members of the real estate community jumped in before the application deadline.

Patrick Welsh, deputy district attorney for the 14th Judicial District Attorney’s Office in Steamboat Springs; Bart Kounovsky, chief operating officer of Colorado Group Realty; and Dave Moloney, a Realtor with Prudential Steamboat Realty, were the final three applicants for the at-large City Council seat vacated earlier this month by Jim Engelken, who is moving to the Front Range with his family.

The trio gave different — and similar — answers to an application question asking what they think are the three most important issues facing the community.

Kounovsky, 46 and a former senior financial analyst for TIC, cited city budget management during the continued down economy; encouraging base area redevelopment “as quickly as possible” while maintaining a long-term vision at the ski base; and preserving Steamboat’s sense of community.

Kounovsky is a business part­­­ner in the downtown Space Station gas station and convenience store. He said that role has given him insight into the small-business environment.

Moloney is 49 and has been a licensed Realtor in Steamboat since 1990. He cited long-term planning, especially through updates to area community plans; maintaining “economic viability” to boost declining sales tax revenues; and promoting and preserving “the assets that make Steamboat Springs an appealing place to be.”

“You will find that I am not a ‘growth at any cost’ type of a person,” Moloney wrote. “I believe in well planned, community focused, environmentally friendly, growth.”

Welsh, 38, said the city’s high unemployment, lack of local professional positions and lack of affordable housing all must be addressed. He said in his work with the District Attorney’s Office, he often meets with “numerous people from all walks of life and (has) the opportunity to discuss what’s happening in their lives,” providing a rare window into the community.

Welsh said city voters’ March rejection of the proposed Steamboat 700 annexation — which he said had a “flawed” plan — means that affordable housing remains a key issue for city officials to address in new development.

Tim Rowse, who applied for the vacancy earlier this week, was the public voice of the Let’s Vote group that successfully opposed Steamboat 700.

Rowse said he decided to apply after realizing he could play a role in local government.

“I believe and feel there needs to be a closer connection between public opinion and council decisions,” he said. “700 is a great example of that.”

Rowse, 40, said he’s trying to figure out what to do next, career-wise, after recently closing a construction business.

Those four candidates join local businessman John Fielding, beverage distributor Kevin Kaminski, landscaper Kyle Pietras and three Steamboat Springs Planning Commission members — Cedar Beauregard, Rich Levy and Kathi Meyer — in the bid to serve the remainder of Engelken’s term, through the November 2011 election.

City Council President Cari Hermacinski has said that some candidates will be eliminated from contention Tuesday night in Centennial Hall, when City Council will select finalists.

Hermacinski said narrowing the pool to “three to five candidates” would allow the City Council to spend ample time with finalists during interviews Aug. 3. Steamboat’s city charter requires the council to appoint a candidate that night, but Hermacinski said the new member likely won’t begin service until Sept. 7.

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