Ready to put a dome over town?
by Mark Reaman
Longtime Crested Butte resident Jim Schmidt will sit in the middle seat of the Crested Butte Town Council for the next two years. Schmidt topped Chris Ladoulis in the great 2017 mayoral runoff election, garnering 276 votes to Ladoulis’ 243.
The two were forced into a runoff election when neither received 50 percent of the vote in a four-man race for mayor last November. The runoff election concluded on Tuesday, December 19 with the two pulling in a total of 519 votes. There were some disqualified ballots due to addresses not matching a registered address or missing a signature. Last November there were 736 votes cast for mayor and Schmidt tallied 331.
“I am very happy that this seemingly unending process is over,” commented Schmidt following the traditional victory beer at Kochevar’s after the results were announced. “It’s time to dig in and get to work. I want to thank Chris for running a great campaign.”
Town clerk Lynelle Stanford said the runoff election, while rare, went pretty smoothly. “It was a mail ballot election, so the period of time for receiving ballots was spread out over a couple of weeks,” she said. “On Election Day, the election judges had already begun their processes, and they were able to work throughout the day. The election judges were instrumental to the election. They were a dedicated group of people who essentially volunteered their time to carry out the election. The election judges sorted envelopes, confirmed that each voter met criteria, and completed a hand count of the votes. They started on Friday afternoon with establishing their processes and sorting envelopes, continued Monday afternoon, and then were at Town Hall all day until it was done on Election Day.”
Schmidt, who has spent literally decades on the Town Council and has been mayor three times before, said he is ready to move forward. “I want to have the new council review, with help from the staff, all the plans we have. The transportation plan, the energy action plan, the recreation plan, etc.,” he said. “In addition, we need to review the pre-annexation agreement with Cypress. Something we haven’t done in a long time is review the zoning districts of the town to see what has worked and what hasn’t. The Brush Creek situation is certainly of prime importance. It is too large, too dense, and offers very little true affordable housing.
“I want to challenge the council, the staff, and people of the town to come up with creative energy solutions,” Schmidt continued. “Electric-powered dump trucks? Elon Musk has started making them. Geothermal heating? Methane gas capture? A dome over the town? I also want to challenge the council members to lead the way with their own special projects. For instance, I jumped at the opportunity to lead the committee that designed the Lupine Trail. The folks from GoCo and the Trust for Public Land were astonished we built a trail so quickly.”
If the statistics gods take a break and a miracle (or Russian interference) occurs, there could be a recount. Schmidt beat Ladoulis by 33 votes. But there are still 34 uncounted ballots under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA). Nine such ballots are still out and, under the rules, another 25 random ballots have been reserved to mix in with those, according to Stanford. “So, there are potentially 34 votes out,” she explained. “The election judges are back on December 28 to finalize the count, since UOCAVA voters have through December 27 to get the ballots back.”
If every single ballot uncounted so far had a checkmark next to Ladoulis’ name, there would be an automatic recount. That recount would have to be done by January 3. No one is anticipating such a recount.
Schmidt will be sworn in as mayor before the January 8 meeting.