Dillon elects Imamura, Christiansen, Scalise to Town Council in first election since 2014

Renee Imamura, from left, Dana Christiansen and Tony Scalise have been elected to Dillon Town Council on Tuesday, April 5.
Courtesy photo

According to Dillon Town Clerk Adrienne Stuckey, this is the first election Dillon has had since 2014. Previous elections, like the one in 2020, have been canceled due to not enough candidates running. That wasn’t the case this time, as five people ran for three open council seats that serve four-year terms.

As of 8:50 p.m. Renee Imamura received 138 votes, Dana Christiansen got 123 and Tony Scalise had 114. Mayor Carolyn Skowyra ran for reelection unopposed and received 127 votes.

Imamura is an incumbent, while the second seat was Jen Barchers’ — who ran for reelection — and the third seat previously belonged to Karen Kaminski, who didn’t run for reelection. The new council members will be sworn in at the Town Council meeting April 19.

Imamura wants to focus on the town core as well as improvements to the marina and park. She has lived in Dillon since 2004 and been involved with the Breckenridge Backstage Theatre, Corinthian Hill Homeowners Association board, Summit Youth Hockey and Dillon events.

Imamura is an associate broker with Slifer Smith & Frampton Real Estate and ran to continue to listen to input from the residents and the business community. She wants to see a coffee shop in the town core in addition to retail shops and more restaurants. Imamura also wants to work with businesses to create more housing for their employees.

For the marina, Imamura wants to work with Denver Water to implement a plan to connect it to vital infrastructure, such as water and sewer.

Imamura was against a cap on short-term rentals and believes that a property owner should be free to do what they want if it doesn’t disturb neighbors or the community. To address the workforce housing situation, Imamura would like to incentivize homeowners to provide long-term rentals. She also wants to find additional land to build workforce housing units, such as the project currently in the works on Summit County Road 51.

“I am so grateful, and I appreciate all of my constituents out there voting for me, and I’m going to do the best I can for them,” Imamura said Tuesday. “I’m excited to go forward with the town developments and work with the residents of the town.”

Christiansen is a member of the Dillon Parks and Recreation committee. He is a retired aerospace engineer and former ski patroller at Keystone Resort. He has spent 15 years in Summit County.

Christiansen ran for Town Council to give residents a voice, as he feels that they are not being well represented by current Town Council members. He was inspired to get involved by learning that council members ran unopposed in previous elections and that they voted in favor of the walk-up windows for marijuana stores despite public outcry.

Along with listening to constituents, Christiansen’s priority is to implement the master plan for downtown Dillon. He wants to improve walkability and make the town more lively with restaurants, fountains, ice skating rinks and other public spaces, in addition to upgrading the town center.

Christiansen also wants to have more affordable housing in Dillon, as he sees it contributing to Dillon’s overnight parking issues. He doesn’t believe charging a fee for overnight parking is a solution. However, he would like to see an excise tax on short-term rentals. The revenue it generates could go toward various unfinished town projects, he said.

“I’m grateful to the people of Dillon,” Christiansen said Tuesday. “We’re here to serve them. As a new council member, I want to see things get done. I’m going to push hard for accomplishments and representing the people that got me here. I’m very happy that I think the direction of the council is now turning back toward the people.”

Scalise is retired and has lived in Summit full time for two years, though he has been a property owner in Dillon since 2013 and previously lived in Dillon Valley in 1985. He is the director of the Anchorage West homeowners association and volunteers as an audio/video volunteer at Dillon Community Church.

Scalise feels that Town Council hasn’t been listening to residents. The ones he has spoken to have told him they feel disregarded and behind tourists and businesses in terms of importance. He also wants to create better communication with the town and residents so they are informed of projects without having to attend meetings.

On the subject of short-term rentals, he doesn’t wish to step on the rights of private property owners. Rather, he wants large employers to be more responsible and create housing solutions for their employees who can’t afford a place to live. He sees limits on short-term rentals as something that could potentially affect real estate sales, and said short-term rentals bring in business.

Like other candidates, Scalise wants Town Council to make progress on unfinished projects like the Town Park and improvements to the town core and marina. He calls Uptown 240 an eyesore and said the park needs to become available for community use as soon as possible.

“Now the work begins,” Scalise said Tuesday. “There’s a lot of things in Dillon that we can make really great. It’s a great little town. I love it. Now I can have a hand in making it an even better place with people I know I can work with that are great people that really care about the town. … With the results of the election, I think the residents of Dillon, who pay the property taxes and live there full time, will now be heard probably a little louder than they have been for the last four to eight years.”

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.

Summit Daily is embarking on a multiyear project to digitize its archives going back to 1989 and make them available to the public in partnership with the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection. The full project is expected to cost about $165,000. All donations made in 2023 will go directly toward this project.

Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.