Jane Newberry is certainly no newcomer to Green Mountain Falls’ politics, town hall operations and the community.
A lifelong resident in the area, she was first appointed to the board of trustees about 12 years ago, and served consecutively for most of the last decade as a trustee, mayor pro tem and a liaison to nearly every city office. Newberry also boasts of her long-time involvement in the community, going to school at Ute Pass Elementary and graduating from Colorado College. She currently works as the budget manager for Colorado College Athletics..
Newberry ran two years ago for the mayoral slot and lost to Lorrie Worthey.
As for her main reasons for running for mayor again, Newberry says she has a strong passion for government and believes she can play a role in fixing some of the problems the town is experiencing. She is part of a group of candidates that call themselves “Smoother Roads Ahead for GMF.” This slate of candidates has stressed their overall management experience and what they describe as a “fresh mix of ideas.” “We can do better,” said Newberry, in describing the group’s overall philosophy.
“We need to listen to everyone and understand what people are asking for,” said Newberry, in citing the importance of addressing the concerns of citizens at meetings. “There never seems to be the right time.” she added in commenting on many unanswered questions at board meetings. She has tried to update citizens on board activities by taking detailed minutes and posting them through her social media sites.
In addition, Newberry says she has a strong interest in the budget and for the parks. She would like to see several key capital projects completed. As for questions about the town’s finances, Newberry says we “need things a little more open and accountable.” Like most candidates, she supports the hiring of a full-time municipal clerk.
The candidate believes the conditions of the town’s roads have taken a beating in the last two years. She concedes that the current administration confronted some tough hurdles in losing its entire public works department, shortly after the election of 2014. The candidate, though, questions why so much road equipment was sold and why more dollars weren’t allocated for maintenance.
“I don’t know about you, but our roads have been a lot worse than they were two years ago,” said Newberry. “We need to get some more road base out there,” If elected, she says she would take a strong look at how funds are allocated for road maintenance and view “needs versus wants.” She also wants to explore more grants for improvements.
Law Enforcement and Pet Projects
Unlike her stand two years, Newberry says she supports having a town marshal, but concedes that there needs to be a balance between public safety and road maintenance and park concerns.”
“Let’s have a marshal,” said Newberry, in describing a strong sentiment in the community. “But the town has needs.” As a result, she would like to get more outside advice on how to handle law enforcement for a town with limited dollars. Newberry and members of the “Smoother Roads” group in a campaign flyer cite “a lack of accountability” with the town’s public safety department. But the idea of a town manager, which was pursued by several former trustees including herself two years ago, needs to be put on hold for right now, according to the candidate. “I don’t think we are ready for that,” said Newberry.
As one of her pet projects, she would like to see the town complete improvements for the city park located next to the swimming pool.
Newberry admits much frustration occurred over the controversy involving the feeding of waterfowl in the lake and Gazebo area. She questions the current law put in place that only permits children to feed ducks and geese occasionally. Newberry says many people are confused about the final compromise the board crafted in dealing with a controversy, dubbed as “Goose-gate.” The candidate believes this issue was dragged on for way too long, a trend that she and other critics of the current administration have complained about. “You need to make a decision and move on.”
Also, she believes it is important that the town takes steps to assure that “animals aren’t being abandoned” in the park. “We need to take a balanced approach.”
Bringing the Town Together.
Newberry believes too much is made of the factions that have dominated local politics for the last several years. “Strong feelings are fine,” said Newberry, who doesn’t’ see a problem with disagreements at local meetings. “It doesn’t have to be adversarial. We do the best we can and move on.”
And for the most part, she believes most residents are happy to live in such a scenic area. “We have a pretty happy environment.”
The mayoral candidate also says she could give the town a boost with her grant-writing skills. She notes that she played a big role in facilitating the town hall project and contends that she was responsible for bringing more than $1 million in grant monies through her previous stints as a trustee. And with her background, Newberry says she could help with the town budget process.