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Bayfield mayor eyes second term, while board of trustees member seeks to unseat her

Ashleigh Tarkington and Tom Au go head-to-head in April 2 election
Bayfield Mayor Ashleigh Tarkington, seen here in August 2021, is seeking reelection in April. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald file)

The race is on to decide who will oversee the town of Bayfield for the next four years.

Ashleigh Tarkington, Bayfield’s mayor since 2020, is running for reelection. Tom Au, who’s on the town Board of Trustees, looks to unseat her. The election will be held April 2.

Tarkington, who is also the owner of Billy Goat Saloon in Bayfield’s Gem Village neighborhood, previously served as a Board of Trustees member in 2018 and 2019 before being elected as mayor.

Au started his current term as a Board of Trustees member in 2022. Multiple phone calls made to Au on Friday and Saturday were not returned.

Bayfield Town Board of Trustees member Tom Au, seen here in 2014, is running for mayor in the April 2024 election. (Durango Herald file)

Tarkington touted a 3% wage increase given to many longtime town employees during her first term, saying it had been a number of years since such an increase occurred – at least since before her tenure on the Board of Trustees.

Going forward, she wants to build on current town projects such as the Cinnamon Heights deed-restricted housing development to help attract and retain workers such as teachers, police officers, firefighters and nurses.

“We just got a bunch of grant money from the state and from the county to proceed with that project, so that’s pretty exciting,” she said.

Tarkington also said she looks to keep bringing new businesses such as a new hotel, restaurant or grocery store to Bayfield, adding that the town’s newfound high-speed internet infrastructure and a number of available building rooftops will help draw them in.

“I think we can accommodate and handle all of that,” she said. “… I just feel like I’m not done. I want to finish what got started in my first term, and I just want to continue making sure that we’re doing it right.”

Four Town Board of Trustees seats also up for grabs

Laura McLaurin, Matthew Nyberg, Cash D. Snooks, David Black and Kat Katsos each look to secure one of four seats up for grabs in this year’s election.

The top three vote-getters will receive four-year terms, while the fourth-place finisher will be elected to a two-year term and the fifth-place candidate will not be elected, according to Town Manager Katie Sickles.

Lori Zazzaro, who has been on the board since 2020, is not running for reelection. The appointed terms of Charlene Thomas and Kyle Wolff end in 2024. Neither are running again, but there’s a chance Thomas may be a write-in candidate, according to election information provided by Sickles.

The current terms of Mayor Pro-Tem Brenna Morlan and board member Alexis Hartz will end in 2026.

Ballot numbers so far

Four absentee ballots and 10 Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) ballots – the latter of which goes out 45 days before an election – have been issued as of Friday, according to Town Clerk Dustin Hayden.

Residents can fill out an application to receive an absentee ballot, Hayden said.

Election Day voting will be held from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. April 2 at Bayfield Town Hall.

Hayden said the results are expected by posted online at bayfieldgov.org around 9 p.m. that night, depending on voter turnout and how long it takes to hand-count ballots.


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