Eight candidates are running for Estes Park Town Trustee on the April 1 ballot. You can meet them, and thank them for running, on Monday, March 31st at 6:30 pm. The wine and cheese gathering will be held at Cheesy Lee’s and hosted by the Estes Park Tea Party Patriots. Everyone is welcome at the event, with a $5 donation requested.
If you can’t make it to Cheesy Lee’s on Monday night, a little about the candidates is below. The Trail Gazette has endorsed three candidates, but do your own homework, as endorsements by one entity are not always the best source of information.
While endorsements are not given on this Fort Collins Republican page, the candidates listed in the top four spots below deserve consideration from a conservative perspective. Remember, you are paying the Estes Park Town Trustees (yes, they receive a small stipend).
Ward Nelson has been a visitor to Estes Park for 34 years, but has lived in the town for 6 years. He says he is not one to rubber stamp tax increases. His background is in public school administration and collaboration. He says, “insufficient revenues mandate cuts in services or finding new revenue sources. I’m not a fan of raising taxes.”
Geraldine Treacy says, “The [Estes Park] budget needs to be increased to cover the cost of restoring and improving infrastructure. The current budget covers current service levels. Estes Park residents have expressed a desire for increased services.” Given her conservative background, she is a surprising supporter of ballot issue 1A to increase the sales tax in Estes Park by 1%. During an ARD forum, her response to some questions was, “I haven’t done enough research to say yes or no to that question.” This could be perceived as being unprepared, or she could have been unwilling to make a statement without knowing the facts.
Wendy Koenig has lived in Estes Park 43 years and is not only running for re-election as a Town Trustee, she ran in two Olympic games and has a Doctorate in Audiology. She is able to speak from experience on the town budget and says, “the outcome of the 1% tax [increase, 1A] will impact budget decisions currently in place. If the tax incentive is defeated, the newly elected Town Board will have to decide if Town roads need to be a priority at the suggested funding level of $1.2 million per year for 10 years, for example.” However, she made the news recently after what were deemed “insensitive and offensive” comments regarding her reference to migrant workers.
Bob Holcomb has a background in financial management. He has been endorsed by the Trail Gazette. On his candidate website he says, “Speaking with visitors and residents about the future of Estes Park, I believe we share the same goals. We all expect and deserve a vibrant economy, up-to-date infrastructure, progressive schools, and a clean and safe town; along with the variety of activities, miles of well-maintained hiking trails and magnificent mountain views we all enjoy. As your Trustee, my decisions will be guided by balancing our future requirements with thoughtful and measured progress to maintain our town’s charm.”
The Rest of the Candidates
Paul Fishman has been in Estes Park since 2002, and owned the 14ers Café in the Park Theater Mall before it burned. Paul may be remembered by Tea Party members as disrupting one of the first events by yelling out “where were you when Bush was in office?” He was asked by other attendees to leave the Bond Park event. He has run for Town Trustee twice before and been defeated. He is now part of the Event Center Task Force and the Strong Tomorrow Task Force.
Mike Williams is a veteran who supports economic development and would like to make Estes Park more affordable (Trail Gazette). His response to a question about issue 1B made him sound like a typical politician, “as an employee of Estes Park Medical Center, I would like to recuse myself and remain neutral on these subjects during this campaign. Rest assured, if I am elected to the board, I am there to be a representative of the residents of Estes Park, and I would support whatever decision is made regarding both the Anschutz Wellness Center and Lot 4.”
Judy Fontius has a Doctor of Philosophy and is proud, “as a school administrator, having the opportunity to experience and affect change in a school I was assigned to specifically to ‘turn things around.’” She is currently on the Estes Park Senior Center Board and co-chair of their fundraising committee, volunteers in Rocky Mountain National Park and is a docent at MacGregor Ranch. On the budget, “Reallocation of funds should be looked at. Many times these efforts do not produce favorable results. If a tax increase were to be called for, the best approach is the sales tax. Visitors contribute approximately 2/3 of sales tax funds. Any other increase burdens residents.”
Janna Allerheiligen is a long-time Estes Park resident and is pushing for an enhanced emergency communication system, economic development, and affordable housing.
If you’d like to meet these candidates, don’t forget to mark your calendar for the Tea Party meet and greet on March 31, 6:30 pm.