Castle Pines North Elects New Mayor
New leadership for Castle Pines North includes mayor-elect Jeff Huff, seen here being congratulated by friends and family at an after-election party on November 3. Also pictured are city council members, from left to right: Jennifer Havercroft, Shelley Hamilton-Bruer, Kim Hoffman, John Ewing, Darwin Horan, Doug Gilbert, and city treasurer, Mark Shively.
Castle Pines North elects new mayor, council; County elects new school board
By Lisa Crockett
Just two years after its establishment, the City of Castle Pines North (CPN) has a new mayor. Jeff Huff, who ran against the city’s current mayor, Maureen Shul, won by roughly 270 votes and will take office in January to serve a four-year term.
“In the election we just went through we had a lot of community participation. I owe a debt of gratitude to the volunteers on my campaign,” said Huff “I have challenged the people who helped me to stay involved, and I would invite all the residents of Castle Pines North to do the same.”
Huff said he is looking forward to working with the city council, new members and returning council people alike.
“I will be working for openness and accountability as we work together,” he said.
City Council members who will serve a four-year term include: Jennifer Havercroft (Ward One), Kim Hoffman (Ward Two) and John Ewing (Ward Three). Council members who will serve a two-year term include: Darwin Horan (Ward One), Shelley Hamilton-Bruer (Ward Two), and Doug Gilbert (Ward Three). In all future elections, city council members will serve four-year terms. Mark Shively, who ran uncontested, was elected to the office of City Treasurer.
Election Day also brought changes to the School Board, welcoming Dan Gerken (District D), Doug Benevento (District E), Meghann Silverthorn (District G), and re-electing John Carson (District B). Retuning Board Members include Justin Williams (District F), Clifton Stahl (District C), and Ryan Stewart (District A). Members of the School Board serve staggered, four-year terms.
The election in CPN differs from future elections in that from this point forward, terms for members of the city council will be staggered, rather than every seat being filled at one time, as it was in this election. County-wide more than 45,000 ballots were cast, a little less than 3,000 in the City of Castle Pines North. State statute allows for elections in “off” years (odd-numbered years) to be conducted entirely by mail.
“The use of an all-mail ballot can save between 25 and 50 percent,” said Douglas County’s Clerk and Recorder, Jack Arrowsmith.
Members of the current city council, many of whom helped found the city, as well as new members who will take office on January 11, 2010 have ideas about the city’s potential and ways to meet its unique challenges. The Castle Pines Connection invited all current and future city council members to comment on the state of the city. Here are their responses:
Q: What is the greatest strength of the City of Castle Pines North?
Maureen Shul, mayor 2008-2010: Our community’s greatest strength has been and will always be in the willingness of individuals at specific moments to take a stand, speak the truth, and fight for what most benefits our strong community.
It was through individuals bravely taking a stand that we incorporated as a city, formed a municipal government, brought a library to CPN, broke ground on a new park, opened a new school, and began the effort to reduce taxes for residents and businesses through integration of the metro district.
Our strength will always be in the courage of citizens who are not content to complain from the sidelines, but who will stand up for what is right, speak the truth based on facts, all in pursuit of solutions that best serve our citizens.
My greatest honor has been working with extraordinary citizen volunteers in these efforts. I greatly appreciate the outpouring of support and sentiment these past weeks, and assure you our future is strong and will not be derailed.
I look forward to staying involved as much as ever with our city, and continuing the work begun by so many brave and tireless volunteer activists. There is nothing we cannot achieve working together.
Jeff Huff, mayor-elect 2010-2014: The City of Castle Pines North thrives on the creativity, imagination, innovation, and intellectual capital of its people. The people who live in CPN give the city its unique character. Our greatest strength is our diversity of interests, expertise and collective experience.
Recreation, well-maintained streets, public safety and economic development are the cornerstone of my commitment to residents of our city. In order to meet our objectives and move forward, we need to put our differences aside and embrace our diverse opinions and backgrounds as our greatest strength. Participation from ordinary citizens is needed and I challenge all residents to become involved in some way in our community.
Poised midway between the southern Denver suburbs and the city of Castle Rock, our location provides an ideal spot for businesses to serve fast-growing areas of the county. In addition, home buyers can locate to an area that provides easy access to big city amenities while living in a small town atmosphere. I intend to make sure that the city provides access to superior schools and an environment in which personal and business investment can flourish.
CPN is more than the sum of its parts. We have many things going for us, but the cultivation of three broad concepts can provide us a competitive advantage:
(1) entrepreneurial business and commerce;
(2) creativity and intellectual capital; and
(3) the growth opportunities inherent to our location.
I look forward to serving as your Mayor for the next four years and together we can make Castle Pines North a great place to live.
Q: What do you think is the greatest opportunity facing the City of Castle Pines North, and what do you think would be the best way to meet it?
Jennifer Havercroft, City Council (Ward One) 2008-2010 and 2010-2014: Integration and streamlining of services are immediate opportunities available for CPN residents and businesses due to the multitude of positive results: reducing taxes and fees, single point-of-contact for residents with concerns/compliments, potential for additional amenities, a first step toward a more environmentally responsible community, cleaner and more accessible transparency, and securing a viable, renewable water solution.
To accomplish this, policy makers/public servants should prioritize the community’s interests above personal agendas. Can we come together and focus on solutions rather than taking territorial stances? If so, we can accomplish all of the above.
I will focus on lowering costs, securing water, communicating/engaging with residents and keeping service levels high.
Darwin Horan, City Council (Ward One) 2010-2012: Having cooperative and positive working relationship between the City, the District, the residents and all stakeholders is pivotal and crucial to the long term success of the City. There will be many land use issues to address in the future and by working with the different entities we can mold the current and future landscape of Castle Pines North into a vibrant and financially responsible community. Financial stability is paramount. Continuing the logical pursuit of renewable water sources is also vital.
Developing a decent working relationship with other governmental entities, for instance the County, Castle Rock, Parker, and Lone Tree will be important in addressing matters of regional significance and public policy.
Kim Hoffman, City Council (Ward Two) 2008-2010 and 2010-2014: The greatest opportunity for the residents and the City of Castle Pines North is the integration of the Metro District and the decrease in mill levy (property tax) for the home owners and business owners. The residents deserve a solid, long-term plan for renewable water with a comprehensive plan to pay for the resources. High taxes are the number one reason for decreases in home values. The goals of incorporation was to capitalize on the sharing of HOA services and a decrease in fees and integrate the Metro District with the city to gain maximum efficiency and decrease mill levy. The City staff, the Mayor, Metro Board and the Metro staff is working on an integration plan to be presented to Council in December of 2009.
Shelly Hamilton-Bruer, City Council (Ward Two) 2010-2012: The greatest opportunity is the integration of CPNMD with the City. With integration, residents will realize a significant decrease in property tax mills paid to CPNMD. Additionally, integration will lower the high CAM burden that is currently placed on our existing business owners and that precludes new business owners from coming to CPN. Integration will also streamline our City’s services, removing one extra layer. Key to our community’s survival, integration will strengthen our position in securing renewable water rights. With lower property tax mills, everyone benefits from lower taxes, increased property values and efficient civic services.
John Ewing, City Council (Ward Three) 2010-2014: The greatest immediate opportunity is getting the community’s (City’s and Metro District’s) management, budgets/spending and services better managed. This means getting budgets and spending constraints in place, services improved and streamlined and real and comprehensive directives given to management relative to performance and service expectations. A comprehensive review of the cost/performance relationship of OMI vs. direct staff is at the top of the list.
The water issue, though imperative, will not be an immediate priority due to the fact that water supply challenges will continue well after the municipal services are well managed. When CPN becomes a well-managed community it will have the most tools available to succeed at the challenges ahead and provide a world-class community environment.
I feel that there is some exceptional management talent now in place at the council and mayoral level that will be very proactive and effective at controlling and appropriately directing city management and operations.
I would like to thank the residents of Ward 3 for their confidence shown by the election and I am honored to be able to contribute to our community’s long-term success again.
Doug Gilbert, City Treasurer 2008-2010, City Council (Ward Three) 2010-2012: Thanks to all CPN voters for their participation and support in the past election. Castle Pines North has the potential of a bright future.
To make that potential reality the City needs to do three things: 1) reduce the burden of government through integration of the CPN Metro District into the City and by reducing layers of HOA costs, 2) grow our local economy, and 3) leverage our successes gained through the annexation of the Canyons.
Q: What do you hope to contribute as the City’s new Treasurer?
Mark Shively, Treasurer-elect 2010-2014: I’d like to see people be kind to one another, and enjoy working together as they go about pursuing community service efforts in the best interests of the people living in our City.
I’d like to support the Metro District to achieve its goals. I’d like to support the Master Association, the Parks Authority, and the sub-associations to achieve their goals.
And if there are some ways to help combine efforts with these organizations and our neighbors in the region in order to improve the quality of life of our citizens, I’d like to be part of making that happen.
Q: What advice would you offer to the incoming City Council?
Chip Coppola, City Council (Ward Two) 2008-2010: Give credit – don’t take credit. Listen – what other people say is important. Treat everyone with the same respect you expect. Spend our money very prudently. Disagreement is OK. Disrespect is not. Give everyone a second chance. If you hear a rumor, go to the source before you do anything. If you cannot dedicate the time this job will require – step down. Leave partisanship at the door. Read the council package in advance. Listen to your attorney.
You represent our City, which means you represent me. Please do so with intelligence, humility, and honor. And do not let anyone bully us.
David Neely, City Council (Ward Three) 2008-2010: I want to say sincerely and very humbly, Thank You to the Citizen’s of CPN/Ward 3 for electing me to help lay a strong foundation during this inaugural Council. I learned a lot!
My advice to Council is actively seek out as many counselors as you can, from both sides of the issues. Always do what is right. Residents who are not vocal on issues should be no less represented, many times they just don’t know what’s going on because life is so busy. But residents, please get involved. I will stay active and will pray for City Council.
Ron Clark, City Council (Ward Three) 2008-2010: My recommendation to the incoming Council is to pursue Home Rule status without delay. In combination with combining with the Metro District and establishing a Mill levy to the entire city, The current 19 mills can be cut in half and the City administration streamlined. Once the 2006C bonds are paid off, another 5 to 7 mills can be trimmed immediately, still leaving adequate resources to complete renewable water acquisition. Trimming 15 mills from the existing 43 will make our merchants competitive with surrounding communities, not to mention saving each of us significant taxes each year.