Blue River on track to host first municipal election in decades
Ryan Summerlin February 21, 2012
Rumor has it that Blue River hasn’t had a municipal election sine 1978.
Most years, incumbents run unopposed and there just aren’t enough candidates to require a vote, town clerk Kathy Neel said.
But this year might be different.
Trustees Jon Warnick, Larry Nelson, Rob Theobald and Mayor Lindsay Backas are all up for re-election this year, and all have announced plans to get their names on the ballot in April.
But Toby Babich, a Summit County native and Breckenridge lodging company owner is also considering a bid for office.
“My desire to serve the people of Blue River centers around maintaining the unique character of this wonderful community I raise my children in and keeping the needs of the residents of Blue River at the forefront of all government decisions that are made,” Babich said.
He hasn’t decided whether he’ll make a bid for a trustee seat or mayor, he said.
The incumbent trustees in Blue River are coming off a financially tough but productive term, they said.
Town officials oversaw the construction of two bridges in Blue River, the paving of an important road and the opening of the town’s first park.
“We’ve done so much in the past four years,” said Backas, who has lived in Blue River since 1997. “There’s just a few more things I’d like to look at. Transportation is one, just to bring Blue River up to standard with the rest of the county.”
Backas and incumbent trustee Jon Warnick also hope to see a southern bus route that would service Blue River added to the Summit Stage system. Due the high cost of new routes and falling property tax revenue, the town’s primary source of income, that dream may still be distant, but is something both hope to accomplish in their second terms.
Warnick also touted an accounting clean-up project he led last year, that returned misdirected sales tax revenue from Xcel Energy bills to the town, increasing town income without raising taxes. He pledged to continue to work for careful spending and lower taxes in Blue River if re-elected.
“Blue River includes affordable single-family housing for many workers in the county” Warnick said. “I will work to keep taxes affordable while increasing services in the areas of road maintenance and public transportation.”
Larry Nelson, who boasts the moniker of historian, because he as served multiple terms over the course of the last 22 years, also prioritized responsible budgeting.
Rob Theobald, currently both trustee and town building manager, said the town needs to continue to implement codes and regulations that are uniform with the rest of the county.
“I want to try to be on the board for my full term limit,” Theobald said. “Some of the big issues are the budget and having the funds to pay the expenses of public safety and public works.”
The candidates must turn in a petition with signatures of registered Blue River voters supporting their run to the town clerk’s office by March 2 to get their names on the ballot.
If there is an election this year, only Blue River residents will be allowed to vote in the town’s municipal election April 3.