DEL NORTE—Residents of Del Norte gathered at the Rio Grande County Annex building Tuesday night to meet their 2018 spring election candidates. The night was hosted by the town and the Del Norte Chamber of Commerce. The town has three open seats that will be four-year terms with five candidates running, three of which are current board members seeking re-election.
The night began with chamber president William Kreutzer explaining the process through which the night would run and allowing the candidates three minutes each to introduce themselves.
Current board member Bob Muncy kicked off the evening introducing himself to the public, stating that he had lived in the area on and off his entire life. “I went to school here as a kid and I then had kids in school here. This is a thankless job at times, but someone has to step up and do it. I want to see some of the projects we have going be completed and continue to work with the community to make Del Norte a place where people come to live and not just fill their gas tanks and leave.”
Next, Annette Archuleta, another current board member, took the floor explaining her deep passion for the town and the people who lived there. “I want to see the town succeed. I was born and raised here. We have a lot of projects going that I want to complete, the $9 million sewer project being one of them. I am working to help bring the Bustang bus route here. What I want is to see more involvement from the community. We need to work together to be proactive and move our town forward.”
Mark Ulrich, AKA “Moose,” spoke about how he has served on the town board for the past 20 years and that he wants to see the changes that are in the works. “There have been a lot of improvements, but there are still a lot more that I want to see. I want to see infrastructure on the road, more gravel of the roads; I want to see the D on Del Norte Mountain painted and there are a lot of things in town I want to see done. I love this town, and I love all of the people that are here tonight.”
Laura Anzalone gave a detailed description of her extensive background, beginning with her job pumping gas from an ocean, a horticultural lab technician, a wildland firefighter, ski patrol and instructor and an oncologist with the USDA Research Center. “This variety of experience has taught me that working together with patience and mutual respect often brings positive outcomes. I believe in the process of town government and the power of the people and want to contribute to the town to help build a safe and welcoming community.”
Lastly, former reporter Scott Rappold spoke to the attending crowd stating that he and his wife moved to the Alamosa area four years ago and then to Del Norte two years ago from Colorado Springs. “We loved the trails and the skiing and have since fallen in love with the town and all of the beautiful people, and that is why I wanted to jump at the opportunity to serve on the board. My background is that I was a journalist, am a journalist and I spent a lot of hours in board meetings, so I know how local governments work. I think I bring the ability to ask tough questions about local government and what is going on there. I am a proven communicator and a lot what I do now is social media, which I feel the town could really benefit from.”
Questions posed by the public were read after the introductions and addressed concerns for the town’s infrastructure, its ability to sustain growth, when and if it were to occur and whether or not current board members were in support or fearful of the town’s continued growth.
A question answered by Muncy was in regards to the town’s infrastructure and its ability to expand, to which Muncy explained that the grid was one of the reasons the board had difficulty expanding and that the board needs funding to deal with certain growth. “The old potato warehouse for one, we have tried to get people in there as a business incubator but the cost of fixing it is just so great; I don’t know if we will be able to hold on to it or find somebody that can come in and fix it up. The cost is just too great right now.”
Archuleta answered a question on a grant that was turned down by the board last year from CDOT, stating that at the time, the town felt it would be more beneficial to wait until they were better prepared. “The documentation that we received was comprised of questions that needed different numbers and things that were not prepared, so we just didn’t feel that at the time was a good time.”
Ulrich commented on a question that asked whether or not the current board was fearful of continued growth. “We have a lot of new faces here in town, which I am glad to see that. I think having the new faces in town is a good thing. It helps the businesses and I want to see that it continues to grow.”
Anzalone spoke on behalf of a question pertaining to bringing marijuana dispensaries to town stating that she did not have a personal agenda in regards to the issue. “At the end of the day it is up to the community to decide that. As a town board member, it would not be up to me to make that decision. It was already put to the community and was voted down, so I don’t see it as another issue until another petition comes through.”
Rappold spoke on the topic of one question that asked why Intergovernmental agreements were so important, stating, “I think as a small town with limited resources working together with other governments is our number one option when it comes to things like how bad the opioid crisis is or dealing with our jail problem. I think we should be looking to other governments, agencies and county municipalities to stay informed.”
The election takes place on Tuesday, April 3.