Barron says he’ll run for mayor’s seat again
Incumbent seeking 4th term, touts conservation, redevelopment.
By Noah Brenner, Jackson Hole, Wyo.
Date: April 23, 2008
Jackson Mayor Mark Barron announced Tuesday that he will run for re-election to a fourth consecutive term at the helm of the Town of Jackson.
“I am both inspired and enthusiastic about the potential to serve another term in office,” Barron said in a release. “I’ve been blessed to work with some of the most creative and hardworking people, on meaningful and important projects during my time as mayor. I’d like to continue those efforts for another two years.”
Barron, a businessman who owns Blue Spruce Cleaners and High Country Linens, is running on a platform of continuing initiatives that he has helped put in place over the last six years. He listed his five top goals as promoting energy and resource conservation, consolidating town and county government, overseeing the revision of the comprehensive plan, revitalizing the core of Jackson and preserving “in-town jewels” like Karns Meadow and Flat Creek.
The mayor, along with the Jackson Town Council and staff, has committed to reducing the town’s energy consumption 10 percent by 2010 and has begun to purchase renewable energy from Lower Valley Energy, he said.
Consolidation of local governments has been pursued by both town and county officials, but in order to consolidate some services, the state must change certain statutes. Bills to change those statutes have failed previously in the Wyoming legislature, but the Joint Committee on Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions will take up the issue as an interim study topic.
“The population of Jackson and Teton County is just about 19,000 citizens and the combined budgets for the town and county are in excess of $80 million,” Barron said. “I question whether citizens are getting the most bang for their buck. Can we create a more cost-effective, more efficient delivery of services? I believe we can and must do better as leaders of this community.”
Though some town residents have bristled at encouraging large redevelopment projects downtown, Barron said he supports the trend.
“I continue to believe that downtown and our commercial areas need our support and vision,” Barron wrote. “The Center for the Arts and parking garage provide a new and solid anchor for fun downtown activities. Children and adult classes, headline shows, incredible dining and interesting shopping are bringing locals back into town.”
Part of the decision about how town should grow, will be made during the revision of the town and county comprehensive plan, which is underway and should be complete by the end of 2008.
“Town and County began this effort in partnership and I feel it important to see this through,” Barron said. “How we plan for growth and our work force, while balancing our precious open space, natural and wildlife resources, remain our greatest challenges.”
In town, that balance is exemplified by efforts to improve water quality and habitat in Flat Creek and protect riparian areas in Karns Meadow, a parcel the town purchased to provide storm water treatment and wildlife habitat during Barron’s tenure.
Barron ran for re-election unopposed in 2004 and 2006. He didn’t want to speculate on his chances of facing an opponent in the 2008 election.
“I haven’t heard anything and frankly it’s really none of my business,” he said in an interview. “I just want to be proactive about what I think I can do for the community.”