Kathy Elmont, Ouray city clerk and treasurer, said Ben DeGear and Gary Hansen both filed petitions to run for the seats being vacated by Robert Stoufer and Sandy Stuller, and no write-in candidates were received by the Monday deadline.
Elmont said a resolution will be introduced at the Sept. 8 council meeting to formally cancel the Nov. 3 election and declare Risch, DeGear and Hansen elected as of that date.
Unlike after former elections, when council members didn’t take their seats until the following January, because of the city’s new home rule status, the new members will take office on Nov. 16, the next meeting after the election.
Home rule status, adopted earlier this year, is a big reason Hansen decided to run, he said, since he served on the Home Rule Commission which wrote the city’s new charter.
“The Home Rule charter says we hit the ground running, and the budget will land right in our laps,” he said.
Whether starting so soon is a “good thing or a bad thing” remains to be seen, Hansen said, since home rule is new territory for the city. He said many home rule experiments fail because the charter isn’t written strongly enough.
“I would like to see how our charter plays out,” he said.
DeGear, who teaches English at Ouray High School, said one reason he ran is because he and his wife Mariah are having their first child this month and he wants to become more a part of the community.
“I’ve been getting a feel for how things operate,” he said. “We have obvious things like the water line (to the hot springs pool), and the new budget coming up that may or may not be finished by the time we get in office.”
The Skyrocket Creek diversion project is also important, he said, but repairing the hot springs water line should be a priority.
Mayor Risch said he decided to run for a second two-year term because he wants to see some projects through, such as energy conservation in street lighting, a proposed micro-hydro project using the old Biota water line, and further development of geothermal energy from area hot springs.
“Plus, I’ve kind of enjoyed the last two years,” Risch said. “There have been challenges, but the residents are outstanding and the city has a good staff that’s good to work with.”