Only one candidate will run to replace mayor of Avon in recall vote

Avon’s recall election is expected to take place with a general election in November.
Chris Dillmann / Vail Daily

For the upcoming November 2 recall election in Avon, residents had the option of running for City Council seats from Mayor Sarah Smith Hymes or Tamra Underwood should either recall prove successful. However, only one candidate submitted a petition before the deadline to be considered a replacement.

Beatriz Bustamante has filed a petition to run for a city council seat in the event Sarah Smith Hymes is recalled in November. Should voters decide to remove Smith Hymes, Bustamante would be elected to Avon City Council, provided she receives at least one vote.

No candidate has petitioned to come forward in the event Underwood is recalled. If Underwood is recalled, there would be a vacancy for her seat on city council and council would be required to appoint someone to her post within 75 days of certification of the election results.

Also on the ballot will be a 200-word summary, provided by the Avon recall committee, which includes the entity’s reasons for requesting the recall of Smith Hymes and Underwood.

In that summary, the committee cites that the council members “acted contrary to the wishes of the residents of Avon”, referring to the Hahnewald Barn controversy. He also cites that council members have “not eliminated a 2% Avon real estate transfer tax”, calling the tax a “huge additional tax” that could derail real estate sales.

In response, Smith Hymes and Underwood will also have an opportunity to provide a 300-word rationale as to why they should remain in office for the poll.

In Underwood’s statement, she refers to her “abundance of local pride” having lived in Avon for “nearly 50 years.”

“The work I have done alongside my fellow council members is far more important and more substantial than the issues I am under attack on,” the statement said.

In Smith Hymes’ statement, she writes that during her last seven years on city council, she has led “the COVID response, water management and drought planning, affordable housing, action climate, access to public lands, transport and collaboration “.

Smith Hymes calls the grounds for dismissal “unfounded” and says voting for the dismissal “would send a message to future candidates that you will not tolerate frivolous recall efforts to overturn regular election results and remove voting rights.” .

Both statements respond directly to the reasons listed in the statement from the Avon recall committee. Underwood and Smith Hymes write that although they initially supported the reallocation of the barn, they chose to let it demolished after a community investigation showed that this was what residents wanted.

On land transfer taxes, Underwood wrote that “all councilors agree that this is the essential source of revenue to fund the city’s capital spending.”

Smith Hymes’ statement added that the tax has been supported by Avon city councils for 40 years and that it is “unfair” to “pick a councilor for the recall or a policy supported by the whole council.”

Among the reasons themselves, Smith Hymes wrote that “differences in policy should not be grounds for recall.”

Smith Hymes and Underwood were both elected to city council in November 2018 and have one year left in their terms. This is Smith Hymes’ second term on the board.

Earlier this year, several Avon city council members hinted that the recall effort was a way to elect members of Avon’s recall committee, or those who share their views, to the advice in a roundabout way.

In his voting statement, Smith Hymes wrote that “there is ample and timely scope for those who oppose the leadership of the Council to stand for election themselves, or to support candidates who share their points. of view ”.

None of the members of Avon’s recall committee, or anyone associated with the group, petitioned to run for office.

At the August 10 city council meeting, Tom Ruemmler, who has worked with the recall committee since the start of its efforts, said neither he nor the committee members intended to run. Ruemmler had already run for a board seat in 2018, but failed to secure enough votes to win a seat. Adrienne Perer, another member of the recall committee, also ran at that time but was not elected.

“You violated our voting rights over and over again. And that’s what this petition is about; it has nothing to do with gender or going in through the back door, ”Ruemmler said. “I’m not going to replay; I don’t want to be associated with people who have this type of ethics and morals. The other people I know who have run before, they don’t want to be associated with them either.

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