Blue River voters reject incumbents in favor of new mayor and trustees

Shaking up the status quo, the small Colorado mountain town voted to oust its mayor and the two incumbent members on its Board of Trustees

The Town Hall & Municipal Court building is pictured on Dec. 1, 2021, in Blue River. Fresh faces beat out incumbent candidates in this year's municipal election.
Lindsey Toomer/Summit Daily News

Blue River voters elected newcomer Nicholas Decicco as mayor, Tuesday, April 2, ousting incumbent candidate Toby Babich, according to unofficial results the town government shared in an email.

Residents in the small Colorado town also switched up the status quo the Blue River Board of Trustees, with the unofficial results showing that newcomers Jodie Willey, Jonathon Heckman and and Barrie Stimson beat incumbents Kelly Finley and Mark Fossett.

Decicco beat Babich 125 to 71, according to the unofficial results. For the three open Board of Trustee seats, Willey received 132 votes; Heckman received 122 votes; Stimson received 116 votes, Fossett received 82 votes and Finley received 69 votes.

Decicco, who is employed as the director of ski and snowboard operations for R&R Sports Colorado, has lived in Blue River for 12 years. In a candidate questionnaire on the town’s website, he named sustainable development, regulation of short-term rentals and road maintenance as his top issues.

The owner of Breckenridge Resort Managers, Babich had served as mayor since 2017, when he was first appointed to the position. In a candidate questionnaire on the town’s website, Babich had pointed to improving digital connectivity, including enhancing cell service in town and developing fiber-optic service, and safety on Colorado Highway 9 as his priorities as mayor.

“Thanks to all the candidates and voters for showing up, I truly wish the next board the best of luck in continuing building on the incredible list of achievements we have accomplished together as a community in my time as Mayor,” Babich said. “It has been my pleasure and honor to serve the residents of Blue River.”

Willey, a 12-year Blue River resident, previously served on the town’s Citizen Advisory Committee, according to her candidate questionnaire. She said improving infrastructure, including roads and balancing short-term rentals to protect the quality of life of residents were among her top priorities.

Heckman, a 15-year town resident, previously served on the town’s planning and zoning commission, according to his candidate questionnaire. As a trustee, he said he would focus on increasing transparency and pointed to short-term rentals and roadways as the biggest challenges for the town.

Stimson, a town resident for more than two decades, said in his candidate questionnaire that road maintenance is Blue River’s biggest challenge and that he would be opposed to limits on short-term rental licensing.

Residents also overwhelming approved a ballot measure 151 to 43 to allow the town to publish ordinances by title only rather than publishing in full, so long as such ordinances are published in full on the town website. The ballot measure said the change would save the town about $8,000 annually.

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