Park City mayor undecided on re-election bid |

Park City mayor undecided on re-election bid

At least one City Councilor will seek another term in November

Mayor Jack Thomas, entering the final 12 months of his first term, said on Monday he has not decided whether he will seek re-election and likely will not make a decision for at least a few months.

It is early in the City Hall election cycle, and it is not unusual for Park City office holders to wait until the spring or the early summer to decide whether they will mount another campaign. The mayor’s office will be the ballot highlight in 2017, but there are also two seats on the Park City Council – currently held by Cindy Matsumoto and Tim Henney — that will be decided.

Thomas is three years into a mayoral term that has seen successes on issues like City Hall’s broad environmental programs but has also been beset by widened worries about matters like traffic. Thomas, an architect, ascended to the mayor’s office after winning the 2013 campaign against Andy Beerman, a City Councilor who remains in that position. Thomas had been a member of the Park City Planning Commission before winning Park City’s top elected position.

Thomas said in an interview he has not yet spoken seriously about a re-election bid with his wife. But he also said it has been a nice experience serving with the five members of the City Council

“I’ve enjoyed this Council much more than anticipated,” the mayor said.

The mayor’s office in Park City is a relatively weak political post as it is defined in City Hall code. Much of the legislative clout rests with the City Council. The mayoral position, though, can be highly influential. The mayor holds the power to appoint the city manager and the city attorney, needing only to seek advice and consent from the City Councilors. The mayor also is the figure that usually speaks on behalf of the municipal government on high-level policy issues.

Nobody has publicly declared their intention to campaign for the mayor’s office. The filing window opens on June 1 and lasts through June 7. If more than two people mount campaigns, a primary would be held in August to reduce the field to two for Election Day in November.

One of the City Councilors whose seat is on the ballot in 2017, Tim Henney, said in an interview on Tuesday he will most likely seek re-election to a second term. Henney is 58 years old, lives in lower Deer Valley and has lived in Park City since 1992. He is an investment manager. Henney said he is pleased with the course of City Hall.

Henney said he is “99 percent in favor of running for re-election for City Council.” He said, though, he is also considering a campaign for the mayor’s office, describing that “1 percent of that possibility is on the table.” Henney said he would not seek the mayor’s office if Thomas runs for a second term.

The Henney campaign will stress issues like transportation, housing and energy, three topics that are already important to the municipal government’s work plan. He said he is “not looking to change the course” of City Hall.

Henney said the municipal government is entering a phase of implementing projects and programs that have been heavily studied during his first term. He said the planning has been “clarified,” pointing to City Hall’s anticipated $40 million investment in housing over a 10-year period.

“We now have housing in the pipeline,” Henney said, describing a commitment to 800 new restricted units in a decade.

Henney, meanwhile, said he supports City Hall’s community outreach efforts, including short videos created by staffers and City Council coffee events with the community.

The Park Record was unable to contact Matsumoto.

The election will likely center on well-known issues in Park City like traffic, housing, the local economy and environmental topics. They have been standard campaign fodder for years. The election, though, could also highlight other issues that have arisen more recently, including, perhaps, the impact on the community of Colorado-based Vail Resorts’ ownership of Park City Mountain Resort.

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