After the smoke cleared from the first contested Hotchkiss Town Council election in a decade, two new trustees, Georgia Hopper and Jim Roberts had won seats and an incumbent, Belinda “Lindee” Cantrell, has succeeded in her campaign as a write-in candidate after failing to turn in her regular candidate petition by the deadline.
Cantrell ran paid advertising, the first Town candidate to do that in recent memory, put out numerous posters and handmade yard signs as well as being aided by a letter distributed by members of the Cedaredge based, Western Slope Constitutional Patriots. The letter focused on promoting Cantrell’s candidacy while terming her and several other candidates as “conservative.”
The others, also successful in the election included Dustyn Foster and Carrie Wingfield. The letter claimed that there was an attempted takeover of the town by “environmentalists” as an apparent reference to the Trustees’ narrow approval of a partnership agreement with the North Fork Vision 2020 Heart and Soul planning process along with endorsement of the successful effort to have the North Fork designated by the State as an “emerging“ creative district.
Foster and Wingfield voted for both initiatives while Cantrell opposed the Heart and Soul agreement but gave a nod to the Creative District. Both initiatives are focused mainly on economic development. Jane Wills will be leaving the council after being appointed a little more than a year ago.
Trustee Sheila Maki was term limited after serving for 11 years. Besides Wills, who received only 41 votes, Ralph Sandman II received 60 votes and planning commission member, Mary Hockenbery, was the sixth place candidate with 77 votes. Cantrell received 87 votes, Wingfield 122, Roberts 116, and Foster and Hopper tied at 99. Five trustee seats were up for election.
Upcoming items for consideration in the coming months include the adoption of a revised Hotchkiss Community Master Plan and the development of a Downtown and Highway Corridor Improvement Plan as well as hiring a new building inspector, and approval of a new trails project constructing a new sidewalk along Highway 133 and 92. Some development of the new park area at that intersection may also be included.