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  Comments (1) Total Thursday Apr. 17, 2014
New Mayor Sets Positive Tone in Troy
Darren Coldwell takes office following two chaotic years at City Hall
Troy City Hall - Beacon File Photo
Two years after a recall election split the community and its city government, the town of Troy has elected a new mayor who is trying to set a positive tone at City Hall. Darren Coldwell was sworn in on Jan. 2 as the town’s third mayor in just as many years.

Coldwell replaced Mayor Tony Brown, who served for a year and a half after Donald Banning was ousted in a recall election in May 2012. Coldwell was elected in November with nearly 70 percent of the vote, taking 225 ballots compared to Brown’s 98. The new mayor said he had thought about running in the past and finally decided to take the plunge in 2013. He has run Booze N’ Bait, a liquor and sporting goods store in Troy since 1992.

“I want to put a positive foot forward,” he said. “I hope to set the tone that we are going to be a positive force.”

Rumblings of political unrest begin in Troy during the winter of 2012, two years after Banning was first elected mayor. In January, city councilor Fran McCully began circulating a petition to recall Banning. Among the reasons she gave were that Banning had tried to fire then-City Attorney Charles Evans without consent from the city council; that in March 2011; the mayor had cashed a check to cover travel expenses that were never approved; that Banning had gone ahead with the construction of a picnic area at a local park and never consulted the council; and that Banning had gone forward with the codification of city ordinances but never told anyone. Banning maintained that he was only doing his job and that McCully was trying to grab more power for herself.

Election officials accepted the petition and, after Banning tried to fight the effort in court, a recall election was held in May. Banning lost by 67 votes and on June 8 the council selected Brown to finish out Banning’s term. But even with a new mayor, councilor Joe Arts said infighting persisted. He said he was hopeful about having new faces on the council. Along with Coldwell, Dallas Carr and Kimberly Rowse were elected to the board.

“I think this will be a great improvement over what we had,” Arts said. “We want to heal the city government after the past four years.”

Coldwell said he is excited about getting Troy residents involved with their local government. He said he wants to tap into the town’s rich community sprit that is most often displayed when neighbors need a helping hand. Most recently, that outpouring of support was shown to the victims of an apartment fire in December. Following the blaze, local residents donated everything from clothing to furniture to help the victims.

Coldwell has quickly made changes at City Hall. Soon after being sworn in, he created two committees; one to look into purchasing a new excavator and another to review the city’s outdated drug policy.

“I want to make improvements, I don’t want to be a rubber stamper who just shows up once a month,” he said.

He said he hopes to go out and attract new business to the area, saying that while recent layoffs have been hard, it also means that there is a large workforce ready to work. He touted Troy and Lincoln County’s quality of life and inexpensive cost of living.

Coldwell invites anyone to stop into City Hall if they have grievances or want to meet with him. He plans on being available on Monday morning and afternoons and Tuesday through Friday, from 3:30 to 5 p.m., “unless it’s sunny out and there’s a potential for golf,” he said.
On 01-10-14, all of us in Libby commented....
He’s not kidding about the low cost of living here.  I sold my Flathead condo last year and bought a 4 year old home for cash on the river with enough money left over to make it to 65 and social security.
Kellyn Brown
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