City council chooses new leaders, adopts 2016 budget | SteamboatToday.com

City council chooses new leaders, adopts 2016 budget

City Clerk Julie Franklin administers the oath of office to new Steamboat Springs City Council members, from left, Heather Sloop, Kathi Meyer, Robin Crossan and Jason Lacy. Lacy and Meyer voted to seek more information about the police investigation, while Crossan and Sloop voted against the effort.

— The newly-seated Steamboat Springs City Council on Tuesday elected new leaders, unanimously approved a $56 million budget and began weighing in on a number of big community issues ranging from the future of Howelsen Hill to the hiring of a new city manager and attorney.

In a close 4-3 vote at the start of the meeting, the council chose Walter Magill as the council president over new council member Jason Lacy.

One of Magill’s first big initiatives as president will be to oversee the launch of new council work sessions aimed at creating more public discussion on hot topics ranging from the future of the city’s historic ski hill to the council’s relationship with a new city manager.

After Magill’s appointment, Lacy accepted the president pro-tem position.

Faced with the choice of appointing a fresh face as president or a veteran member who has worked with several previous councils, the new council appeared almost evenly divided.

All of the new council members — Robin Crossan, Kathi Meyer and Heather Sloop — wanted Lacy to serve as president, and he would have secured the position had he voted for himself.

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Without four other votes, however, Lacy cast the deciding vote for Magill to take the leadership role, avoiding what could have been a tie for the position.

Magill is the council’s longest-serving member, with eight years on the dais.

Councilman Tony Connell said Magill’s institutional memory would be valuable and help keep the council on task.

In nominating Lacy for the post, Crossan praised his management style and said he would help move the city forward.

The council then moved on to the adoption of the 2016 budget.

The group embraced a request from city staff to add an additional $65,000 to the budget so the city could hire a new public works coordinator.

The council also voted to make available an additional $125,000 in the capital budget to ensure a comprehensive soil study on Howelsen Hill is performed to gauge the prospect of future landslides.

The final budget proposal passed unanimously, a first in Citizens Hall in several years.

Big tasks still await the new council in the coming weeks.

The group next week will interview the three executive search firms that want to help the council find a new city manager.

Council members also learned it could take five to six months after a search firm is selected before a new city manager is hired.

The council will also soon outline what it is looking for in a new city attorney and begin that interview process.

A few community members attended Tuesday’s meeting simply to see the new council, observe the group and offer well wishes.

Noting the new council shared several laughs and put in motion a number of significant decisions, Crossan said the new council had set a good tone at its first meeting.

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