Breck candidates face ‘quality of life’ issues |

Breck candidates face ‘quality of life’ issues

BRECKENRIDGE – If there’s one thing the Breckenridge Town Council candidates have in common, it’s their love of the historic mining town.

That’s why it makes it so hard to separate them out on other issues, because caring about the town means caring about affordable housing, child care, water supplies, fiscal responsibility, business vitality, the relationship between the ski area and the town, open space, transportation, marketing, special events, Breckenridge’s long-term vision – all those things that add up to a good quality of life in the High Country.

Nine candidates – counselor Mary Augustyn, incumbent and Colorado Mountain College accountant Jim Lamb, Grand Timber Lodge co-owner Rob Millisor, restaurateur Eric Mamula, TV host Jeffrey Bergeron, real estate broker Carol Rockne, professional project manager Dave Cook, sporting goods store manager Chris Kulick and property manager Ron Schuman – are vying for three seats.

Councilmember Ernie Blake is running uncontested for the mayoral seat.

Despite all their similarities, the nine do stand out on different issues.

Cook believes that providing affordable housing is the best way to create a viable business community by helping those who work here to live here.

He suggested allowing deed-restricted homeowners the right to sell their properties so the town could recoup its “invisible equity” and pool money – up to $82 million by his estimates – to help others buy homes.

Lamb is running a campaign based on continuing the efforts of the current council, including its environmental programs, capturing water to which the town has rights but has let run downstream, maintaining good relations with the ski area and strengthening the Breckenridge Resort Chamber (BRC).

Augustyn said she wants to help small business owners and fight on behalf of domestic violence victims to make Breckenridge a safer town.

Mamula said he wants to grow the town’s business base by diversifying business, and continue with the town’s open space efforts and address children’s’ issues.

Rockne cites her long history in town – and the time she now has to devote to it – as major criteria for her being elected.

She, too, wants to do something to support small businesses that are challenged to keep their heads above water.

Kulick, at 28 the youngest candidate, touts his age as a means to bring younger people into the political process.

Schuman said he thinks the next council should look at the way Mountain Village adjacent to Telluride allows its second homeowners to vote on town issues, work toward getting the town and ski resort’s marketing plans on the same page and generate energy to revitalize downtown.

Millisor, a board member of the Breckenridge Resort Chamber, feels the organization does well on its limited marketing resources – a $1.1 million investment that generates $6.7 million worth of exposure. But the BRC needs more, he said, to bring its destination visitors back.

Bergeron is fighting for the common man, he said, adding that Breckenridge needs to maintain its position as a town that can take a “waiter and turn him into a homeowner.”

He also wants to keep Breckenridge the way it is, and that doesn’t involve four-laning Highway 9.

Citizens registered to vote in Breckenridge can vote at the town hall from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. April 6.

Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 228, or

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