By Andrea Stone
Residents of Balfour Beatty Communities at Fort Carson have an opportunity to make a difference in their communities. The annual mayoral program elections will be held Aug. 21-22. The deadline to run for mayor is Aug. 16.
“The reason why mayors are there is to be the eyes and ears for commanders, to make sure the quality of life for the military is sustained,” said Joey Bautista, Fort Carson Army Volunteer Corps program manager.
To run for mayor of a village, candidates must reside in that village. While it is a volunteer position, it does come with perks — free child care during meetings and events, free computer training, a parking pass for the Exchange and assisted cleaning of quarters upon a permanent-change-of-station move.
“I got to meet so many different (people),” said Kathleen Fry, outgoing mayor of Apache Village. “(The mayors) built this special relationship you just can’t beat. You make lifelong friends.”
Fry served as the Apache Village mayor for two consecutive years.
“I enjoyed it. It was worth every second,” she said.
Even if candidates lose the election, they are still needed.
“You want to make a difference. You put your name in. You lose. Don’t stop there,” Bautista said. Runners-up can serve as deputy mayors or help with tasks such as maintaining the Facebook page or putting together the village newsletter.
“It’s a good program,” said Rachel Tierney, outgoing mayor of Kiowa Village. “It’s good for community involvement. You’re a voice for the people.”
Tierney and her deputy mayor have helped residents get work orders completed by BBC and are working to get repairs done to the road in Kiowa Village. They were also trying to establish crosswalks for children before school starts.
The mayor program relies on partnerships between BBC, Army Community Service, the Directorate of Public Works and other organizations.
Mayors are responsible for attending monthly meetings, nominating residents for yard of the month and getting information out to their residents. They also work with Fort Carson police if there are heavy traffic or speeding issues in their village.
“They aren’t the enforcer, but they are the voice of their village,” Bautista said.
If no one signs up to run for mayor of a village, Bautista goes door to door, encouraging residents to run. Blackfoot Hill, Cherokee
East and Cherokee West villages all need candidates.
To run for village mayor, contact Joey Bautista, Fort Carson Army Volunteer Corps program manager, at 526-1082 or firstname.lastname@example.org before Aug. 16.