The candidates for four Morrison trustee positions tended to agree on most issues concerning the town, and they had ideas on how to make improvements while keeping its small-town character.
Four of the five candidates talked with voters at a recent candidate forum, discussing their views on the newly revived police department, keeping Morrison Morrison and the town’s character.
Sean Forey, who has been Morrison’s mayor for eight years, is term limited, so he could not run for mayor again. Instead, he is running to be a member of the board of trustees.
He could not attend the forum, but a statement read on his behalf said Morrison’s future was important to him, and his goal by continuing to serve on board was to protect what Morrison has and to keep Morrison Morrison.
Kathleen Dichter, who in the past served as town trustee and mayor, said the town has come a long way. She said she is running for trustee because she cares and has the time to do the job, and she has experience working in government on the local, county and state level.
Incumbent Paul Sutton, who is running for a second term, said the town has been doing great things in the four years he’s been on the board, and he wants to continue the work and programs that have been taking place.
Adam Way said he wanted to provide a fresh perspective to the town board, working with both businesses and residents to improve Morrison. He is excited to give back to the town he’s been part of for 30 years.
Incumbent David Wirtz, who was appointed to the town board last year, said he liked how Morrison has remained small — with about 400 residents — for decades. He said while some worry about the town’s revenue streams, he’s less concerned about them because the town’s budget has been in the black, focusing instead on what businesses and citizens want.
Marijuana, small-town identity
Sutton, Wirtz, Dichter and Way said they would listen to the wishes of voters, who will decide in a referendum on whether to allow a marijuana dispensary within the town limits and the sales tax to be levied on the dispensary.
They also said that Morrison shouldn’t change its character. It can’t add a lot of new development because there isn’t much vacant land, and they prefer small growth that doesn’t change the town’s feel.
The candidates also agreed that it was important for Morrison to keep its small-town identity no matter what happened in surrounding areas.
“The people and the personalities keep the identity of the town,” Way said. “What makes it a great place to live is the town’s personality.”
Sutton agreed, noting that it was a delicate balance between maintaining Morrison’s identity and adapting to change.
The candidates said they were pleased that the town has a local police department again, noting that once it became public that the Morrison Police Department’s work had been suspended last year, noise and speeding became even bigger problems.
Morrison hired a new police chief in July 2021, and town officials contracted with the Jeffco Sheriff’s Office for law enforcement while she revamped the department and hired new officers. She resigned three months later, and the town hired a new police chief last month, who has brought a new police force.
“This is an opportunity with this new police chief to have community police officers where we are much more in touch with them,” Sutton said. “I’m optimistic that will be better in the future.”
Wirtz agreed, noting that a community police force will help keep the streets safe by slowing speeders, especially when the town has such a large amount of pedestrian traffic.
Several candidates said they wanted to see more community get-togethers, especially with the town’s new police officers, so they become part of Morrison and know residents and business owners.
Dichter suggested that it would be beneficial for the town to have a small dog park — a place where dogs could run.
Wirtz would like more connecting trails and safe ways to walk along highways in the town, plus ways to slow speeding vehicles.