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  • Dylan Anderson

Buccino will be only incumbent among four city council seats on the ballot in Steamboat this fall

Council members Robin Crossan and Heather Sloop are term limited and Ed Briones has already announced he won't seek reelection.

Michael Buccino
Steamboat Springs City Council member Michael Buccino. (Michael Buccino/Courtesy)

Steamboat Springs City Council member Michael Buccino says he is running for reelection in November, making him the only incumbent who will appear on the ballot when four council seats are up this fall.

Buccino said he feels there is a good balance to the current council and him continuing when three other members are not would provide good consistency to the city’s governing board.

“It’s tough for new council to get ramped up,” Buccino said. “I bring a little bit of seniority to this council. This will be my second term, I’ve been on it for four years, and I’d like to keep bringing affordable housing, transportation — all these things that I’ve been part of I can still help finish. I don’t think I’m done yet.”

Council President Robin Crossan and President Pro-Tem Heather Sloop are each limited from running for council again after two terms and Council member Ed Briones announced last month that he would not seek reelection this fall. That means that only Buccino’s district two seat will have an incumbent and races for district one, three and an at-large seat will be open races.

Buccino first ran for council in 2015, losing that race handily to Jason Lacy, who got nearly triple the votes. Soon after the loss, Buccino joined the city’s planning commission, which has sometimes been a stepping stone to council.

When the 2019 race came around, Buccino ran unopposed, as Lacy opted to run for the two-year at-large seat on council instead of the four-year district two seat. Council members are limited to serving two consecutive terms and it doesn’t matter if those terms are two or four years.

When looking ahead, Buccino said he feels traffic, parking and Brown Ranch will be the biggest issues for the next City Council.

“I think the biggest fear we have is that we’re expanding this area out on the west end of town and we don’t have the transportation to handle it,” Buccino said. “And it’s not a problem that we can solve in a year or two down the road.”

The biggest problem in terms of traffic is that no matter what improvements are made to U.S. Highway 40, everything will still need to travel through the bottleneck at the intersection near Bud Werner Memorial Library with 13th Street, Buccino said. He said the problem is worst when headed into Steamboat in the morning.

A study for the Brown Ranch shows the road will need to be widened to four lanes out to Routt County Road 42 as the development comes online. This project will be more than the city or Yampa Valley Housing Authority can pay for on its own, and Buccino said he could be an important voice supporting that on the state’s transportation planning regions, which make recommendations for project funding to the larger state transportation commission.

Still, Buccino said that if Brown Ranch can bring housing the community needs, then putting up with more traffic will need to be a reality.

As for parking, Buccino said council has gotten a lot of heat for the spaces that will be lost to the new fire station and city hall project, but he has an idea to add more parking. He wants to build a structure downtown on land the city owns near Eighth Street and even favors the idea of asking voters whether they believe a structure is needed.

How to pay for it? Buccino said one idea is instituting paid parking downtown, with a program that would give locals a certain number of hours to park each month for free.

“They have these systems where you register your card and as a local you get 10 hours for free and after 10 hours of parking you start paying,” Buccino said. “Or you buy it and maybe it is $50 a year and you get 10 hours a month.”

Improving regional transportation with a Regional Transportation Authority could be another key way to alleviate both housing and traffic issues Buccino said, and he is supportive of asking voters for a property tax to support that effort.

As for a larger city-wide property tax, Buccino said he has gone back and forth but doesn’t think it is necessary right now as sales tax revenues continue to increase month over month.

“Our sales tax has only gone down four times since 1978,” Buccino said. “It works for our community; it still works for our community. … I would rather save a property tax for an RTA.”


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