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City’s future in voters’ hands

Election to decide three seats on 5-member council today

Debbi Betwee was one of many voters to drop off ballots at Durango City Hall on Monday,  one day before the deadline for the Durango City Council mail-in election. Outstanding ballots should be dropped off at City Hall or the La Plata County Clerk’s office today. Enlarge photo

SHAUN STANLEY/Durango Herald

Debbi Betwee was one of many voters to drop off ballots at Durango City Hall on Monday, one day before the deadline for the Durango City Council mail-in election. Outstanding ballots should be dropped off at City Hall or the La Plata County Clerk’s office today.

After the election today of three councilors, the next Durango City Council could finally adopt a new Land Use Development Code and settle the contentious issue of accessory dwellings.

The council also could decide on a nominal fee for plastic bags at the supermarket, but councilors might also turn away from environmental and social issues to focus attention on the city’s aging infrastructure.

Given the controversies, it is difficult to predict where the next council will wind up, but the voters today will determine which three of the six candidates on the ballot are best suited to deal with the issues.

The candidates are Christina Rinderle, the only incumbent and a Realtor at the Wells Group; Dean Brookie, an architect; Keith Brant, the owner of Durango Premier Vacation Rentals; Jordan Golson, a technology journalist; Floyd Patterson, a former 9-R Durango District school-board member and roofing company owner; and Kristen Smith, an artist and server at Ska Brewing Co..

The top three vote-getters would then join incumbent Councilors Dick White and Sweetie Marbury after the swearing-in ceremony April 16. Mayor Doug Lyon is term-limited and Councilor Paul Broderick decided against seeking another term.

City Clerk Amy Phillips anticipates a final voter turn out of 35 percent. As of Monday, 2,596 ballots had been returned for a voter turnout of 27 percent.

According to campaign-finance reports for March 13-29 that were due Friday, Brookie was the biggest campaign spender at $4,609.96.

Brookie also took in $1,871 in new contributions, including $50 from former Mayor Leigh Meigs, $50 from former Mayor Maxine Peterson and husband Carroll Peterson, $111 from Katrina Blair of Turtle Lake Refuge and $50 from Julie Westendorff, a La Plata County Commissioner.

Bobby Lieb, the chairman of the county commission, gave $50 to Brant, who reported spending $2,127.24. He took in new contributions of $1,803.47.

County Commissioner Gwen Lachelt gave $50 to Rinderle, who reported spending $784.20. Rinderle reported contributions of $1,325.

Rinderle also reported spending $550 on a campaign event at Brew Pub, 117 W. College Drive, on March 15. She also received an in-kind contribution of $100 worth of cookies from Bread.

Smith reported spending the least on campaign expenses, or $411.66, leaving a balance of $3,753.34 in her campaign account. She reported two new contributions of $50 from David McHenry, a landscape architect, and $40 from Ward Travis, a retiree.

Patterson, the roofing company owner, is largely self-funding his campaign with $2,000. He reported total contributions of $2,300.

Golson did not return a campaign report by late afternoon on Monday. Phillips, the city clerk, said Golson was confused about the filing dates and won’t be fined $50 a day, the maximum fine, because Golson has been in contact with city officials about eventually filing a report.

The final campaign-finance reports are due May 2.

jhaug@durangoherald.com

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