Tony Connell stepping down from Steamboat Springs City Council | SteamboatToday.com

Tony Connell stepping down from Steamboat Springs City Council

Scott Franz

Steamboat Springs City Council members Tony Connell, left and Scott Ford are sworn in 2013.

— Citing work demands and his desire to spend more time with his family, Steamboat Springs City Councilman Tony Connell plans to step down from the council next month.

"My work demands at Connell Resources have changed this year, and I will be unable to dedicate myself to the council at the level of commitment that I believe is necessary to do a good job," Connell wrote in a letter announcing his planned resignation. "I also hope to spend more time with my three teenagers in time which is lost in meetings for the council or associated responsibilities."

Connell told Steamboat Today Thursday afternoon he still plans to provide input at council meetings as a citizen.

"I'd like to be one of those positive community members who help with solutions rather than looking for problems," he said.

Connell will step down Feb. 15, almost nine months shy of the end of his first term.

His fellow council members will have to appoint a replacement who lives in his district, which runs from the downtown area to west Steamboat.

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Connell was elected to council in November 2013.

"I'm disappointed to see he's got to leave early before the term is out," Council President Walter Magill said. "He's been a good member to have the last three-and-a-half years."

The council on Tuesday will discuss how it will go about choosing Connell’s replacement.

Magill said he thinks the council should accept applications for the vacancy and conduct interviews of the applicants.

Connell's replacement will serve until the next council election in November.

"I think it will be a loss for council," City Manager Gary Suiter said of Connell's resignation. "Tony has brought a lot of experience to the table. I've always appreciated his insight and his comments.”

Suiter said he thinks anytime there is turnover in a city council, it can impact the dynamic of the council.

"And we have a good dynamic going," Suiter said.

In a long goodbye letter to the council, Connell cited the downtown improvement project, police station planning and the hiring of a new city manager and police chief as accomplishments of the current council.

He said he thinks the city still has work to do to improve its financial sustainability, solve substance abuse and mental health issues and improve downtown parking.

Asked what he enjoyed most about serving on the council, Connell said it was working to solve problems.

"I really enjoyed helping set goals and help problem solve and understand the needs of the community a little bit better through that process," he said.

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