Water, growth top issues in Thornton forum

Last minute event draws more than half of candidates

Posted 10/23/19

Residents who made their way to Thornton City Hall Oct. 18 got a chance to hear what more than half of the City Council candidates think about the city’s water supply, traffic and why they should …

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Water, growth top issues in Thornton forum

Last minute event draws more than half of candidates

Posted

Residents who made their way to Thornton City Hall Oct. 18 got a chance to hear what more than half of the City Council candidates think about the city’s water supply, traffic and why they should win Nov. 5’s election.

“It’s really become a time when we need to have someone who can be here full time, with their finger on the pulse of what’s going on in the city,” Mayoral candidate Beth Martinez Humenik said. “That’s my commitment. I have the time, I will make the time.”

While Humenik promised to treat the mayor’s position like a full time job, her three opponents — current councilors Jan Kulmann and Eric Montoya and resident James Treibert — said they had no problem balancing the position with their current jobs.

“I’m a working mom and we know how to juggle things,” Kulmann said. “We know exactly we need to do to work with our family and our support structure to make it happen. And I’m really excited for the opportunity to do that as mayor.”

“I’ve been juggling since I was 19 years old, and I know what it’s like to do this job,” Montoya said. “I’ve been on the council for the last seven years, so I know what I need to do.”

Candidate forum organizer Mary Payne said she knew that three of the candidates for City Council seats — Ward 1 candidate Shawn Reza, Ward 3’s David Acunto and Ward 4 incumbent Adam Matkowsky — would not be able to attend the last minute forum.

“They said they had other commitments, that they couldn’t get out of,” Payne said.

Of the remaining candidates, only Steve Cervantes was a no-show. He’s one of five seeking the Mayor’s chair in the election.

Payne said she and some friends realized that no candidate forum was planned for the Thornton council race. She contacted the League of Women voters, who agreed to sponsor event and provided the moderator, Marge Innes.

In, all 13 candidates are seeking five open seats for on the City Council. Five candidates — Cervantes, Humenik, Montoya, Treibert and Kulmann — are seeking the mayor’s chair, replacing termed out Mayor Heidi Williams.

Two candidates, Reza and Jacqueline Phillips are seeking the Ward 1 City Council seat. Julia Marvin and Tamara Pierce are seeking the Ward 2 seat, Acunto and Jessica Troy are seeking the Ward 3 seat and Matkowsky and Curtis Kowalski are seeking the Ward 4 seat.

The two hour forum was broken in half, with the four mayoral candidates present taking the stage for the first hour, followed by the five candidates for the City Council ward seats.

Water on top

All four of the mayoral candidates agreed that protecting Thornton’s water supply is their biggest concern. Kulmann said she’s worked hard to make sure that a pipeline from Larimer County’s Cache La Poudre River gets built. The Larimer Commissioners voted against that pipeline last winter and the city is currently challenging that decision in court.

“Right now, we are on track,” Kulmann said. “We are working hard to make sure we are good stewards of the water and that we are working with other communities to bring that water to Thornton.”

Montoya agreed.

“Development is going to continue to happen in Thornton,” he said. “But right now, the experts are telling us that if we don’t have that water within the next five years, we are basically putting a ‘No Vacancy’ sign on the city of Thornton.”

Treibert said he wants to work with Thornton’s neighboring cities to get more water.

Candidates for the four City Council seats had different concerns. Ward 1’s Phillips said her constituents in the southern end of the city were worried about growth.

“In general, the main concern is about planning and the fear that here in Ward 1, we won’t get the development we want,” Philips said.

She said her constituents would like to see more recreation options closer to where they live.

Ward 2’s Julia Marvin said she’s hearing residents concerned about the pace of growth, while her opponent Pierce said she agreed with Phillips.

Ward 3’s Troy agreed that water is a big deal, but she said residents are more worried about growth.

“They express it in different ways,” she said. “Some are worried about traffic and street safety. People concerned that when their kids grow up, will they be able to afford to live here.”

Kowalski agreed that growth is the biggest concern.

“It’s certainly an issue in Ward 4, where we have space to grow,” he said. “They talk about traffic and the train station and all the development around that. It goes back to worries about terrible planning and getting ahead of things and getting the infrastructure we need in place.”

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