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Mayor denies allegations

JULIE SUTOR
Summit Daily/Reid Williams Frisco Mayor Bernie Zurbriggen held a press conference Tuesday to rebut an anonymous letter sent to town council alleging several election indiscretions. At left is council member Deb Helton.
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FRISCO – Mayor Bernie Zurbriggen said Tuesday he cut no deals to exchange favors for election support. Last week, an anonymous critic of Zurbriggen sent unsigned letters to the Summit Daily News and the Frisco Town Council calling into question the mayor’s ethics.The letter contained three assertions, each under the heading, “Fact or Fiction,” that the mayor is doling out favors in return for campaign support he received earlier this spring from Osprey Adventures, Backcountry Brewery and the Frisco Historical Society.

“I am saddened by the need to respond to (this letter), as it is obviously a frantic attempt by someone, not big enough to put their name on it, to undermine and distract me from the good work being done by our town council, as well as our citizens,” Zurbriggen said in a statement he distributed at a press conference Tuesday.Zurbriggen said that he received some grassroots support for his successful mayoral bid from members of the Frisco Historical Society and from Bernie Baltich, owner of Osprey Adventures.”I did receive a call from Bernie Baltich asking if he could help. I said, ‘Yes, you can make some phone calls,’ and I e-mailed him a voter registration list.”People that serve on the board of the historical society, as well as the executive director, made phone calls for me. There were no deals made,” Zurbriggen said.

Backcountry Brewery managing partner Woody Van Gundy was outraged by the accusation of a back-room deal.”We didn’t come out and support anybody (running for election) in any way, shape or form. We were pretty neutral,” Van Gundy said. “I’m shocked and dismayed that anyone would make that accusation.”Another “Fact or Fiction” item on the list said that the town’s reserves will be depleted in five years, because the town is using those funds to balance the budget.

“I understand that the town budgeted to lose up to $1.5 million in 2003, but implemented major cost-cutting strategies that ultimately resulted in a small gain in reserves for 2003,” Zurbriggen said.The mayor said this year’s budget shows a projected $400,000 loss in reserves, but the town will seek ways to curb expenses again to help the town break even. For a full text of his response, please see page A13.Julie Sutor can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 203, or at jsutor@summitdaily.com.


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