Hayden Town Council race comes into focus before Monday filing deadline

Mayor Jim Haskins, incumbent council member Bill Hayden seeking re-election

— With a Monday filing deadline quickly approaching, the race for the Hayden Town Council is starting to take shape.

The council has four seats up for election this fall, including mayor.

Hayden Mat and Frame owner Jim Folley hopes to become the first newcomer on the ballot. He said Tuesday that several friends in town encouraged him to run.

“I've been pro-growth for a number of years, and I've seen a lot of negativity toward growth as far as what our council has done in the past,” Folley said. “If I could voice my opinion as a town council member, maybe it would have a little more heat.”

He said he disagreed with the town council's decision last year to prevent Hayden's Kum & Go gas station and convenience store from moving to a new location downtown.

Folley opened his frame shop on Jefferson Avenue in 2006.

As Folley works to run for his first term on the council, two incumbent council members have confirmed they are running for re-election.

Hayden Mayor Jim Haskins said Tuesday he already has filed for his second term as mayor.

Freshman council member Bill Hayden, who owns the Hayden Mercantile, also plans to run again. Council member Tom Rogalski announced Tuesday he will not seek re-election.

“I learned a lot about government and how it really works, and about the hard-working people behind the scenes that us taxpayers sometimes take for granted,” said Rogalski, who has served six years on the town council. “I've had a great experience, but it's time for me to move on.”

Incumbent council member Richard “Festus” Hagins has picked up a petition form but could not be reached Tuesday to confirm he is seeking re-election.

Haskins, who has served more than 10 years on the board, predicted the town's budget and the proposal to build a casino at Yampa Valley Regional Airport will be the biggest topics of discussion at upcoming town council meetings.

“Based on the number of calls I've been getting, the casino is going to be a big one,” Haskins said.

He said although he hasn't decided whether he will support the Sleeping Giant Group's proposed gambling venue, he is more open to a casino today than he was the last time a casino proposal came to Hayden in 1999.

“A lot of the things I was worried about back then I'm not worried about now,” he said. “It should be a good debate.”

Folley said he is supportive of a casino in Hayden.

“I think it could help bring families and jobs in, and help our enrollment at the schools,” he said. “There are pros and cons, but an opportunity like this doesn't come around very often.”

Potential candidates for the council race have until 5 p.m. Monday to apply for the ballot.

Candidates for mayor must gather the signatures of 30 registered Hayden voters before the deadline. Candidates for the council must gather 25 signatures. For more information, call Town Hall at 970-276-3741.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com

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