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Months of unanswered questions about who would fill the two city council seats representing northeastern Centennial's District 4 finally came to a conclusion on Feb. 7, when the second and final post was filled by a veteran of former council service.
Ron Weidmann moved to the area in 1979, far before Centennial was incorporated, and helped the city grow from its early days. Now he's back to represent District 4 again. He was sworn in Feb. 7 after the Centennial City Council interviewed him and two other applicants who were finalists to take the position.
The other District 4 seat had been in limbo for weeks following the November election, when Councilmember Marlo Alston's razor-thin victory was challenged before she prevailed in a recount.
“I feel like we've got the city on a pretty good course,” said Weidmann, who served on city council for his district from 2006 to 2014. “I like the form of government we have. I like the contract-city model.”
As he spoke during his interview in a public meeting before the council, he went on to say the aspects of the city he likes best and wants to keep in a “pristine manner” are its streets and its public safety.
“I want to keep Centennial safe,” Weidmann said.
The initial field of nine applicants to fill the vacant seat on council was narrowed down at a Jan. 22 special meeting, where city council selected the three front-runners to be interviewed at the Feb. 7 meeting. Each of Centennial's four districts has two seats on the nine-member council, which includes the mayor. Mayor and former District 4 Councilmember Stephanie Piko's election to the mayoral seat left one of the seats for that district vacant, and Alston took the spot that was up for election in November.
Weidmann listed a few of his priorities during his interview.
“The roads are very, definitely important, and they have been for me from day one,” Weidmann said, recounting his previous time on council. For “years we've had Smoky Hill (Road) that looks kinda junky out there but performs well as a road.”
Weidmann advocated for improvements, but also said he doesn't like pushing such projects onto future city councils and that the city needs to pay as it goes.
“The median on Smoky Hill has been a sore spot for a long time since I've lived here,” and to update the median would be a good first step, Weidmann said.
Annexing more land south of Centennial in some areas — places like Dove Valley — to extend the city boundaries to the Arapahoe-Douglas county line also made Weidmann's list of goals during the interview. On his application for the position, he said the city should annex — or take possession of — more land whenever possible to enhance its city services.
After the interviews, council voted unanimously to appoint Weidmann over John Miquel, a former District 4 candidate from November's municipal election, and Sarah Whitely, the president of the Piney Creek Community League, which provides activities and events to residents of that community.
The 8-0 vote wasn't without its hesitation, though, as council had a hard time choosing between Weidmann and Miquel, an enthusiastic newcomer who in 2016 completed Centennial 101, a seven-week program that teaches residents how the city government works, and has attended most council meetings and budget workshops since then, according to his application for the vacancy spot.
In the end, council coalesced around the argument that Weidmann's experience would serve the city better over the next two years before the seat is up for election and that he requires less training to adjust to councilmember duties.
Councilmembers encouraged Miquel to run as a candidate in the next election, though.
“I hope to see you throw your hat in the ring in two years,” Councilmember Ken Lucas said.
Councilmember Candace Moon said the city needs citizens like Miquel, and Councilmember Carrie Penaloza expressed how difficult the decision was.
“I'm not going away,” Miquel said, adding that he'll have to see what his next move is.
Multiple councilmembers also expressed appreciation for Whitely's qualifications and encouraged her to serve the city in other ways.
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