Crossan, Lacy, Sloop and Meyer win city council seats
November 3, 2015
Steamboat Springs — Robin Crossan, Jason Lacy, Heather Sloop and Kathi Meyer won’t have much time to relish their elections to the Steamboat Springs City Council before the hard work begins.
On Tuesday, the four new city council members will be asked to kick off the hiring process for a new city attorney and city manager and consider approving the second and final reading of the city’s $56 million budget proposal.
In the coming weeks, the new council will also have to hit the ground running on a project to build a new public safety facility with Routt County, negotiate a new long-term use agreement with the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club at Howelsen Hill and repair strained relationships with other elected officials in the wake of recent tensions.
The new city council members also said restoring public trust in the police department following an internal investigation that led to the departures of the city’s former police chief and deputy police chief will be a top priority.
Lacy said hiring a new city manager is one of the biggest tasks the council faces.
"That’s going to be a really important decision," Lacy said. "We need someone that’s going to be a real part of the community, who really wants to be here, who's really invested in being a good leader in our community.”
Meyer, a longtime member of Planning Commission who won a council seat on her third attempt, said finalizing the city’s financial plan for 2016 has to rank near the top of the priorities list.
"Other than deciding leadership, it's the second reading of the (2016) budget,” she said. “It may be very straightforward. There might be some questions and discussion, and I think there should be. I know Walter (Magill) wants to talk about spending $2.5 million on a second sheet of ice (at the Howelsen Hill skating rink), and Tony (Connell) may want to talk about four big parked (capital) projects," including a field house.
All of the 11 candidates in the city council races kept the election competition civil and focused on their visions for the city.
With 32.6 percent of the vote, former school board member Robin Crossan prevailed over four other candidates in the crowded District 1 race.
"Foremost is for this council to get together and decide its (priorities)," Crossan said. "I ran not on any agenda. I'm open to anything."
Crossan brings years of public service experience to the city council. She served eight years on the Steamboat Springs School Board, including acting as its president.
Like many other candidates, Crossan made better government transparency a campaign promise. It’s something she already has a track record in.
She was president of the school board when it decided for the first time to hire a new superintendent completely in public.
Meyer claimed the at-large seat with 66.5 percent of the vote but almost didn’t run.
"I had no intention of running until I saw that two incumbents (Bart Kounovsky and Sonja Macys) were not running," Meyer said. "I felt I had the experience and wanted to offer it. I didn't make the decision until a week before the petitions came out."
Meyer is poised to bring to the council years of experience in promoting affordable housing solutions.
She has served as president of the Yampa Valley Housing Authority’s board of directors for 10 years, and she said the city needs to constantly review its housing policies and practices to ensure it is not inadvertently increasing costs through unnecessary regulations.
With 74.03 percent of the vote, Lacy took the District 2 race over Michael Buccino.
"I’m just really honored that the community decided to choose me. I’m looking forward to working with the group," Lacy said.
He added all the city council races were civil and professional.
"I feel like really we couldn’t have gone wrong any way," Lacy said.
As a city council member, Lacy will help guide a downtown revitalization project he had a hand in launching through grassroots efforts with other downtown business leaders.
Lacy served on the volunteer committee that oversaw the spending of lodging tax dollars on the creation of a new park on Yampa Street.
As a councilman, he will now be able to help prioritize the city’s spending on a range of downtown improvement projects, such as new sidewalks and pedestrian lighting, which were funded by the previous city council.
Lacy has chaired the city’s planning commission for the past four years.
And with 51.02 percent of the vote, Sloop topped Erin Walker in District 3. Of note was the fact that 19.96 percent of the people who voted in the election did not cast a vote in the race.
"Now’s the time to get to work," Sloop said. "This is what I really wanted to do. Campaigning was kind of the afterthought for me"
Sloop brings many years of political and civic experience to the council.
She served as a senior engineer for Routt County for a decade and as the deputy coroner for two-and-a-half years.
During the campaign, she said her 14 years in Steamboat would give her the hindsight to understand where the city has been and the insight to listen to constituents to know where the community wants to be in the future.