Barnes appointed the new mayor of Mt. Crested Butte

New finance committee allows outgoing councilmembers to stay involved 

By Alissa Johnson

A new group took the helm of the Mt. Crested Butte Town Council last week, including two new councilmembers and a new mayor. Two familiar faces will remain active in new roles: a town finance committee is being established to help guide budgeting and the five-year plan, and will include citizens at-large.

At the April 5 Town Council meeting, town clerk Jill Lindros swore in four councilmembers: incoming council members Bill Thompson and Janet Farmer, as well as councilmembers Ken Lodovico and Nicholas Kempin, who both filled vacated seats last year. Farmer then nominated Todd Barnes for mayor and Barnes nominated David O’Reilly as mayor pro tem. Both were voted in unanimously.

“For me it is an honor to be chosen to lead,” Barnes told the News. “Momma always said, ‘with privilege comes responsibility.’ I would like to promote our town, valley and resort as an incredible destination. Fiscal responsibility is key to me as well as entertaining continued efforts in the affordable housing domain/dilemma. It has always been important to me personally to work where you live and vice versa.”

Council  members Bill Thompson, Janet Farmer, Ken Lodovico and Nicholas Kempin were sworn in on April 5.  photos by Lydia Stern
Council members Bill Thompson, Janet Farmer, Ken Lodovico and Nicholas Kempin were sworn in on April 5. photos by Lydia Stern

As part of the evening’s agenda, Barnes recognized outgoing councilmember Gary Keiser for his service. Keiser completed eight years as councilmember and two years as mayor pro tem.

“See you in two years,” Barnes joked.

The council will recognize outgoing mayor David Clayton at a later date, since he had to leave the meeting early for a family emergency.

Also on the agenda, the council appointed members to various Gunnison Valley boards and organizations. Among the appointments, Barnes will stay on the chamber of commerce board of directors and will join the Colorado Association of Ski Towns, Club 20 and the Gunnison Valley Regional Housing Authority.

O’Reilly will continue to represent the town at Region 10, a regional league for economic assistance and planning, and the Crested Butte Center for the Arts.

Councilmember Danny D’Aquila will continue to represent the council on the Mountain Express board of directors and the Gunnison Valley Rural Transportation Authority (RTA). He will be joined by Lodovico at Mountain Express and Farmer on the RTA.

Farmer also enthusiastically volunteered to attend Downtown Development Authority meetings, indicating that her interest in the DDA in part led to her running for council. In general, she brings a lot of excitement to her new position.

“I have loved Mt. Crested Butte since I first came here in 1973. That love, combined with my personal value of giving back to my community, inspired me to run. I came into office with an open mind, eager to learn. I want to contribute to the best of my ability,” she told the News.

Lastly, Lodovico expressed interest in the newly created finance committee, given his experience running a small business.

Town finance director Karl Trujillo explained, “This is a committee we haven’t really had. We just had audit committees. The finance committee is going to help with the five-year plan, budget, and the audit so we would need at least one councilmember and two citizens.”

Three citizens had volunteered, including outgoing mayor Clayton and outgoing mayor pro tem Keiser, who both have extensive knowledge of and experience with town finances. The third, Robert Fox, is a relatively new town resident with 25 years of experience in the finance industry in New York and Toronto.

“Is there room for three citizen members or is this something you want to keep smaller and limited?” Kempin wanted to know.

“I don’t think it would hurt to have three,” Trujillo said.

“He seems very qualified, so if there’s room for him, why not?” Kempin said.

“Any member of the community who is new and wants to get involved is perfect,” Barnes said.

The council appointed all three members to the committee.

Newly appointed councilmembers will serve four-year terms, and the mayor’s position is a two-year term.

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