Park City Council winners quickly set priorities
Andy Beerman was easily re-elected to the Park City Council on Tuesday as voters also selected Nann Worel and Becca Gerber for the other two spots decided on Election Day, ending a campaign that was as notable for its politeness as it was for the politicking.
Beerman will be sworn in for a second four-year term in early January. Worel and Gerber will take their oaths of office for the first time then as well. Beerman, 46, lives in Old Town and owns and operates with his wife the Treasure Mountain Inn on Main Street. Worel is 61 years old and lives in the Hidden Oaks neighborhood of Solamere. She is the executive director of the People’s Health Clinic and a member of the Park City Planning Commission. Gerber, 35, lives in the Iron Horse district and is the director of marketing for Aloha Ski & Snowboard. She is a member of City Hall’s Recreation Advisory Board.
The preliminary results released by the Summit County Clerk’s Office on Tuesday night:
Beerman, 1,265 votes or 25.1 percent
Worel, 1,011 votes or 20.1 percent
Gerber, 913 votes or 18.1 percent
Rory Murphy, 862 votes or 17.1 percent
Hope Melville, 688 votes or 13.7 percent
Dan Portwood, 293 votes or 5.8 percent
Mayor Jack Thomas and the City Council, meeting as the Board of Canvassers, are scheduled to finalize the results at a meeting on Nov. 16. The numbers could change slightly as a result of the canvass, but it is highly unlikely the positions will change.
Beerman was competing in his third election in four years after winning his City Council seat in 2011 and then unsuccessfully challenging for the mayor’s office two years later. He was the only incumbent seeking re-election as Dick Peek and Liza Simpson opted against campaigns early in the election season.
"For me, it felt like a vote of confidence that Park City’s residents agreed with the messaging I’m putting out there," Beerman said, adding, "It’s a vote of confidence for the Council’s priorities."
Beerman said City Hall’s energy programs will be a priority during the early days of his second term. He wants to press energy efficiencies in municipal buildings and the municipal fleet of vehicles. Beerman also wants City Hall to launch a discussion about reducing energy use on a communitywide basis. He said he will stress transportation and his work with the Mountain Accord, a group crafting plans for the future of the Wasatch Mountain region. Beerman is City Hall’s representative to the Mountain Accord.
Beerman said his experience will allow him to be more effective and more focused as a City Councilor.
Worel said she is truly humbled by her support on Election Day.
"You’re putting yourself out there when you run for anything," Worel said.
Worel said she wants to gain a good understanding of City Hall departments before she is sworn into office. She hopes for "in-depth time" with the departments over the next two months.
She said a priority for the early part of the City Council term is a discussion about engaging Park City residents. Worel would like to hold fireside chats in neighborhoods with elected officials.
"People are saying I don’t know who to call," Worel said as she described some comments she heard about the relationship between Parkites and City Hall.
Gerber, who positioned herself as a candidate from a younger generation, said she is pleased she was backed by a wide range of age groups. She received "multi-generational support," Gerber said.
"I’m so excited. I’m excited to be a part of the conversation," Gerber said.
She acknowledged she delivered a concession speech to friends after the first results showed she might not capture one of the three City Council seats.
Gerber said priorities during the first months of her City Council term will be to "add some urgency to the housing discussion" as well as to address City Hall plans to reduce carbon emissions. Gerber, as an example, said she wants the municipal government makes progress on plans for a patchwork of City Hall-held properties along the lower Park Avenue corridor during the first 90 days of the term.
The City Council campaign was subdued compared to some of the rollicking contests of the past. The candidate field addressed numerous topics like growth, traffic, the environment and the economy over the summer and the fall. There was frequently general agreement on the broad issues, but the candidates sometimes offered differing details. There was not a singular campaign issue as there has been in the past, when topics like the economy or the proposed Treasure development seemed to weigh heavily on the candidates and voters.
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Several people approached Mayor Andy Beerman and the Park City Council this week pressing issues important to senior citizens. The issues include the availability of housing for people who want to age in the community.