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Aragon to end 36-year run as mayor

Staff Writer

Ross Aragon

Ross Aragon

This year Pagosa Springs’ voters will be asked to decide several important issues ranging from amenities on Reservoir Hill to positions on town council.

Mayor Ross Aragon, during the public comment portion at the end of Tuesday night’s town council meeting, announced that he will not run for re-election this April, after 36 years of service in his current position.

“It’s time,” the mayor said. “Thirty years is a long time and I’m going to go out on the positive. It has been very interesting, but there is also a little stress involved, too. Anyway, I want to thank everybody for their support.”

Thirty-six years ago, on April 4, 1978, Aragon defeated Glen Edmonds by a 260-212 vote, which at that time was one of the largest voter-turnouts in town history. Edmonds was not only the mayor in 1978, but also the editor and publisher of The Pagosa Springs SUN.

“I have been one of the few,” council member Don Volger reacted to the mayor’s announcement this week, “who has worked with the mayor over his entire career. We haven’t always agreed, but one of the things I would like to say is I have very much appreciated his service to this community, both personally as a resident and as an employee.”

For many years, before he became a town council member, Volger was the chief of the Pagosa Springs Police Department.

“I have benefitted from his leadership,” Volger continued. “Over the years we have become, surprisingly, very close friends. I, for one, will miss him.”

Volger struggled to contain the emotions in his voice.

“One of the things I learned, finally,” Volger concluded, “is even though I may disagree with the mayor his heart was always with the best interest of this community, which he loves. He viewed it as his family, and that is going to be missed by all of us.” Volger turned to address the mayor directly. “Thank you so much for your service.”

While several other council members nodded their approval of Volger’s comments, no one else chose to speak.

In an earlier e-mail to SUN staff, town clerk April Hessman explained that, besides the mayor’s seat, the three district seats on town council — currently held by Kathie Lattin, Darrel Cotton and Don Volger — are also up for election this year.

Hessman went on to explain the procedure for anyone interested in becoming mayor or running for one of the town council seats, “The candidates can pick up the petition packets on February 14th through the Town Clerk and can begin circulation February 17th.  They have to be returned signed to me by March 7th.”

According to a timeline provided by town attorney Bob Cole, applications for absent voter ballots may be filed with the town clerk at this time. In addition, any petition to submit a charter amendment, signed by at least 5 percent of the registered electors of the town, had to be filed with the town clerk by Jan. 8.

Hessman reported yesterday that a group of concerned citizens, led by Christine Funk, have been circulating a petition to change the town charter so that the mayor and town council seats would no longer be volunteer positions—the mayor would be paid $300 per month and the councilors would each be paid $200 per month.

As of press time there was no word if Funk’s petition had gained enough signatures and been turned in before yesterday’s deadline.

“Ballot questions initiated by the council need to be completed by Ordinance for first reading on February 20th,” Hessman continued. “Ballot questions submitted by the public must go through my office for a petition.” Any citizen-initiated petition for a non-charter related ballot issue must be turned into the town clerk by January 31.

Town council conducted a work session on Jan. 3 to discuss several possible charter amendments and ballot initiatives, including setting term limits, eliminating districts, granting town business owners who live outside of town limits the right to vote in municipal elections and constructing a treetop zip-line course on Reservoir Hill.

Last April, citizens of the town voted by a wide margin to change the town’s charter so that no mechanized recreational amenities could be placed on Reservoir Hill without specific approval of the voters.

Before that election, the Town Tourism Committee had presented a business plan to town council that included a chairlift, an alpine coaster and a zipline course, amongst several other amenities designed to attract and retain tourists.

Certain members of the TTC would still like the town to consider at least part of the plan, and have asked parks and recreation commission chairman Mike Musgrove to discuss the zipline proposal at their Jan. 14 meeting, and make their own recommendation to town council on the matter, with an eye towards putting it on the ballot in April.

March 10 will be the last day a citizen can register to vote, and to be eligible they must resided within the town limits for at least 30 days prior to the election. On March 28 absentee ballots will be mailed out and April 4 is the last day to request one.

The election will be held on April 8.

ed.fincher@pagosasun.com

This story was posted on January 9, 2014.
  • Kemo Sabee

    Lets vote for term limits!

  • walmarthater

    good riddance aragon…now if we could get rid of mitchem!!!!

  • Haha

    Good riddance dummy…the bottom dollar says he celebrates his tenure with a fine recreational joint of Colorado’s finest.

    • Betty

      Your parents probably hate you and called you names. Dummy.

      • Haha

        Your name is Betty so you speak about parent-child hate from experience I’m guessing?

        I laughed, so well done :)

  • Ray Reddington

    YEAH!!!

  • reality

    Now we can get a real mayor. Someone who knows how to run a big company. How about the owner of the Springs Resort?

    • Haha

      Haha, that’s awesome. I hear he has the best weed in Colorado, too. At least, that’s what’s implied in the DEA Affidavit.

  • Walmartsux

    Too bad this didn’t happen before he put walmart in. Now we are stuck with his and Mitchem’s crap.

    • Haha

      At the end of the day, Pagosa Springs is not a service oriented town. It’s so unfriendly and anti-outsider that Wal-Mart might be the only answer to boost the tax income. No one will hear otherwise at least, go Rec Center and spend more!

      I’m not new here, but I was not born here. I brought my education and work ethic along with me, and it wasn’t welcome. The locals treat me like garbage because I don’t treat this town like garbage. If I clean up my yard, oh my god, you might have to clean up yours! There is so much complaining but even more resistance to change.

      Pagosa will improve despite the locals, the same locals that will cry about not being able to afford to stay. That is the price of others having to clean up your messes.

      Better get packing, change is coming. Your run of piggybacking on the Springs and treating tourists like crap, is over…and the numbers show it.

      End rant, get working ;)

  • Pagosa(Dreams Lost)

    Ross AND Mary Jo….Gone.. Yaaaa Hoooo…Good Reddance.. Now maybe this town has a chance of someday being able to support small business again..

  • Dave

    Someday a real rain will come and wash all this scum off the streets.

  • Pam

    For or against no one should be Mayor that long, sometimes you need new ideas and thoughts!

    • jacblack

      someone else of quality should have stepped up!

  • reality

    In case I was interested, what are the qualifications to be mayor of Pagosa Springs?

    • Pam

      I believe you need to reside in the town of Pagosa Springs for at least a year and be at least 18 years of age. If you are serious about running I think a background of budgeting, marketing and business management skills or something similar would be helpful.

  • jacblack

    Thank you for this! I couldn’t agree more. Arm chair quarterbacks after the fact is what plagues this community. I don’t know anyone else who would have given the amount of time and energy that Mr. Aragon has. It is unheard of and he should be commended. One of the main reasons he was in office for so long is because nobody else of any quality would step up! Good luck to the next mayor as you will see how thankless and negative the newcomers to this community can be.