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Few candidates stepping up for council seats, mayor’s post

With filing deadlines for town elections just two weeks away, choices for Town Council remain slim and, in one case, nonexistent, while the mayoral race is limited to two candidates.

Candidate packets have been available at the Pagosa Springs Town Hall since Feb. 12 and can be obtained from the Town Clerk. On Feb. 15, candidates could begin the petition process for their candidacy. Candidates for council seats are required to collect 25 signatures from registered voters living in the district for which they’re running — and, of course, in order to qualify for the election, candidates must reside in that district.

After collecting sufficient signatures, candidates must file their petitions by Friday, March 5.

For instance, the race for the council seat currently held by council member Mark Weiler (District One), is entirely open; no one has stepped up to run for Weiler’s seat.

In District Two, incumbent council member Don Volger is running unopposed at this point — no other candidates have pulled candidate packets for that district or expressed an intention to run. Volger was appointed to the seat by council last January to fill the seat vacated by Angela Atkinson.

Likewise, incumbent council member Darrel Cotton is, as of press time, also running unopposed in District Three.

After serving eight terms as Pagosa Springs mayor, Ross Aragon is seeking re-election for an unprecedented ninth term. Aragon has been the mayor of Pagosa Springs since 1978, and has the distinction of being one of the longest serving mayors in the nation.

Opposing Aragon at this point is local businessman Bill Hudson.

In April 2008, six candidates ran for three available council seats. However, those were at-large seats and candidates were not subject to district requirements. However, the 2010 election is shaping up to offer town voters no choice (with the exception of the mayor’s race) — and no reason to gripe about Town Council if no one steps up to run against incumbents or even run unopposed for the open District 1 seat.

Aside from the mayoral election, voters will have a choice on the ballot regarding a referendum to repeal an ordinance passed by council last July. Ordinance 743 removed section 2.4.5 of the LUDC, regulations that limited so-called large format retail, or Big Box development, within town limits. If the voters decide to overturn Ordinance 743, section 2.4.5 will remain in the LUDC and council will not be able to revise that portion of the code for two years.