Town councilmembers Jonathan Greenspan, Jonathan Sweet and Dan Garner were elected to second terms and candidate David Schroeder was elected to his first term – taking the seat of Mayor Rube Felicelli, who could not run for another term because he is term-limited.
Greenspan took the most votes with 306, while Schroeder, Sweet and Garner took 269, 253 and 213 respectively. Candidates Mike Wisniewski, Craig Snitko and Gary Bash were unable to secure one of the four open council seats. There were 427 ballots cast, representing a 47 percent voter turnout.
Greenspan said that his re-election gives him an opportunity to re-establish the community vision.
“There were seven good candidates running for these seats and it was a definite race,” Greenspan said in an interview Wednesday. “The bottom line is that council needs to bring the community back together to re-establish our vision here. We have got to start rebuilding the culture here. This is a very exciting time for Mountain Village. We have a fresh start and we can build a better place to live.”
Sweet echoed Greenspan’s remarks.
“I appreciate having the opportunity to finish this transition we [the previous council] have started,” Sweet said in an interview. “We very much need to reach out to the community and find common ground among the different factions and provide the leadership in finding a consensus.”
For months now, the community has been involved in a bitter debate concerning the Silverline, a large condominium project slated to house a Family Adventure Center in the town’s core. Councilmembers approved the project on Feb. 1, but because the project was so controversial, council decided to hold a special municipal election in May where approval ended up in a deadlock 293-293. That tie was broken during a recount, when a “yes” vote was found in a “no” pile, resulting in the affirmation of council’s previous approval.
The project’s approval currently sits in the hands of a San Miguel County District Judge, after the town admitted that illegal votes were cast in that special election. Schroeder, the only new face to be elected to council, said he hopes to mend the community’s split over the Silverline project.
“One of the first and foremost priorities is dealing with the rec center split,” Schroeder said in an interview. “There is a solution somewhere and that can be found when we get all the parties together and have a conversation and begin a dialogue. It is not my intention to tear everything up and put it back together on council. There are a lot of smart people on council. I just hope to make a contribution. I know we are going to do what is in the best interest of Mountain Village.”
The integrity of the Mountain Village election process is itself under challenge. Residents Richard Child and Brian Eaton filed joint complaints on June 8 that claimed at least six non-resident property owners who held less than 50 percent interest in their Mountain Village property, and at least 12 who hold their property in trust, cast ballots in the special election. The Mountain Village Town Charter does not authorize such persons to vote. Town Clerk Bernadette Ervin took extra precautions on Tuesday to make sure every ballot cast was legal and certified.
“After the complaints were filed, we did conduct a complete audit of our voter registration, which meant going through all of our resources and then double checking them with the San Miguel County Clerk and Recorder’s website,” Ervin said. “We also went back and looked at the county assessor’s list and verified the list as well. Going into election day, we certified every [mail-in] ballot we received and we did the same thing with the ballots we received on election day.”
According to the town charter, the newly elected town council will appoint a mayor at their next meeting on July 19.
Garner was unavailable for comment at press time.