Frisco gets a new mayor and fills 4 town council seats

FRISCO — The new Frisco Town Council has been selected.

A total of five candidates entered the council race for four open seats, including one two-year term because council member Hunter Mortensen is taking on his new role as mayor.

Frisco voters ultimately selected incumbents Jessica Burley and Rick Ihnken along with Andrew Aerenson to help lead the town and enact the community’s vision for the next four years. Andy Held will serve the two-year term.

A total of 1,787 votes had been tabulated by 11 p.m. Tuesday, with Burley leading the way with 442 votes, or almost 25% percent of the vote.

Burley, a graduate of Emory University and the University of Denver, works as the sustainability coordinator for the town of Breckenridge and has served on Frisco’s Town Council for the past four years. She’s also participated in a number of other local groups, including with the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments’ Water Quantity and Quality Committee, and the Summit Climate Action Collaborative. 

Unsurprisingly, Burley ran primarily on a platform of improved sustainability and environmental programs in town, including transitioning to net-zero emissions.

“We can no longer wait and see about the impacts of development on our small town, but rather we need to guide that development with smart decisions for Frisco’s future,” Burley told the Summit Daily last month. 

Burley also outlined expanding the town’s Housing Helps program and implementing a pay-as-you-throw trash program as priorities of her reelection. 

“I am excited about Frisco’s future as we emerge from this pandemic and heal as a community,” Burley wrote in an email Wednesday. “We have a huge opportunity to make amazing strides for sustainability and resilience, support our local businesses and families, and maintain our ‘Frisco first’ priorities.”

Ihnken received the second highest number of votes with 397. He has been serving as a council member for the past four years and currently works as a station captain at West Metro Fire Rescue, along with former roles with Summit County Ambulance Service and Flight For Life and with the Arapahoe Basin Ski Area and Keystone Resort ski patrols. 

Ihnken outlined maintaining and improving Frisco’s infrastructure as his No. 1 priority for reelection, hoping to serve as a driving force in keeping the town’s water wells and treatment plants up to meeting residents’ needs, implementing a storm water and spring runoff plan, and helping to facilitate the rollout of broadband in the area through the town’s “dig once” ordinance. 

Ihnken also noted that he could be a valuable presence on the council in ensuring Frisco’s small-town identity is maintained as the town continues to grow, along with bringing a strong voice in the town’s collaborations with partners like the Colorado Department of Transportation. 

“I am hoping to continue to slow the spread of COVID-19 by working with leadership to get people the information they need to stay safe and healthy,” Ihnken wrote in an email Wednesday about what he hopes to accomplish. “Looking forward, I want to leverage resources the town has to help the individual, business and community recover as quickly as possible.”

Aerenson received the third highest number of votes with 368. He moved to Frisco in 2015, and works in real estate as a business entrepreneur and attorney. He’s also worked as a ski instructor at Breckenridge Ski Resort and has served in various roles with groups around the county, including on The Summit Foundation’s board, The Rotary Club of Summit County, the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance and more. 

Aerenson ran on a platform of partnering with neighboring governments, pushing cooperative efforts to help deal with countywide issues like housing, child care and sustainability. He also said he hopes to implement new decision-making criteria for the town — a process that would take a closer look at identifying new opportunities, managing the impact of major events, better integrating environmental considerations and helping residents to share in town successes. 

Finally, Held received the fourth highest number of votes with 325.

Held came to Frisco in 1987. He owns Held Joinery — he’s helped in the construction of a number of Frisco projects over the years — along with serving as a member of the town’s planning commission and working as a representative on the Summit County Wildfire Council, among other local groups. 

Held ran primarily on a platform of responsible development as the town looks toward the future, outlining the implementation of the town’s community plan, improved sustainability efforts and better connectivity as priorities. 

He also voiced a desire to create a more comprehensive wildfire mitigation and preparedness plan and to create better affordable housing initiatives for locals in town.

“I am humbled that the residents of Frisco have seen fit to put their faith in me to help lead us through such times as these,” Held wrote. “I am greatly appreciative to have earned a seat at the table. I will represent for the long-time local in a positive and constructive way.”

In addition to the new council members, Hunter Mortensen will serve as the town’s new mayor. Mortensen, a former council member and mayor pro tem, left his position early to run unopposed for the position on a platform emphasizing environmental protection.

Mortensen called on the new council to support the area’s amenities and economy by protecting the environment.

“I want to continue making Frisco the envy of other communities around the Mountain West,” Mortensen told the Summit Daily last month. “To do this as mayor, I will always take into account that our economy and environment are one and the same.”

Mortensen also outlined improving workforce housing options as another of his priorities, along with helping to enhance the town’s technology infrastructure, identifying opportunities to upgrade the area’s cell and internet services.

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