9 Steamboat Springs residents apply for seat on city council | SteamboatToday.com

9 Steamboat Springs residents apply for seat on city council

Scott Franz

Like attending groundbreakings and advancing city policy? The Steamboat Springs City Council might be for you.

— Tony Connell's seat on the Steamboat Springs City Council is now one of the hottest tickets in town.

Nine residents with a diverse set of occupations, ages and backgrounds have applied to replace Connell, who is stepping down next week because of work demands and a desire to spend more time with his family.

The applicants include a cycling advocate, a representative of the Young Professionals Network, two school teachers, two massage therapists, a public relations professional, a leadership coach and a man who has negotiating experience with the United Nations.

Many of the applicants serve on other community boards and have a long history of volunteerism and community service.

Asked to name the top issues facing the city, many of the applicants mentioned the high cost of housing.

Others have specific suggestions for the council, including an idea to have the council start its own Facebook page to address transparency.

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Whoever is appointed to the seat next week will have to help the current council tackle a number of other challenges.

The city government is currently trying to build a shared law enforcement facility on the west end of town, improve community trust in the wake of controversies and chart a more sustainable future for Howelsen Hill.

The council is also in the middle of evaluating a potential new housing development on the west end of town that would require an annexation.

Connell's replacement will serve until at least November when the seat is up for election.

Three of the applicants ran unsuccessfully for the District 1 seat in 2015.

The new council member will be compensated to the tune of $842 a month.

City Attorney Dan Foote said Wednesday night that unlike the other council members, the newly-appointed member will not be offered the city's health insurance benefits.

Foote noted that the city recently discovered the health insurance benefit has been given to the council for many years without the approval of the voters, which violates the city charter. The charter states that the electorate must approve the council's compensation.

Voters will likely decide in November whether the council should continue to receive the health insurance benefit.

The council will interview the applicants in public on Tuesday night.

The appointment, which occurs by a majority vote of the council, is expected to take place after the interviews.

The community's interest in Connell's seat is comparable to the interest the community had in the last council seat that was vacated in 2010, when 10 residents initially applied for the position.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10

Steamboat Springs City Council applicants

Sarah Braat: Massage therapist, former owner of Karma Bar and Lounge

Paul Hebert: Engineering/management consultant, retired international civil servant

Matthew Helm: Teacher at Steamboat Springs Middle School, former Routt County Sheriff’s deputy

Richard Levy: Massage therapist, former U.S. Forest Service wilderness ranger

Timothy Lormand: Public relations expert, self-employed advertiser

Eric Meyer: Routt County Riders, licensed civil engineer

Lisel Petis: Financial manager and general counsel at Gerber Berend Design Build, Young Professionals Network member

Patrick Slowey: Teacher, Steamboat Springs High School, former U.S. Army officer

Michael Shaler: CEO of Steamboat Leadership Institute