Lone Tree council has regional reach

Officials serve on variety of metro-area committees

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Lone Tree council members carry clout that extends well beyond the city limits. Four of the five serve on or chair boards of other metro-area organizations, commitments that not only come with responsibility, but require hours of additional volunteer time.

Mayor Jim Gunning chairs the Metro Mayors Caucus.

Mayor Pro Tem Jackie Millet is treasurer for the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG), and a governor-appointed board member of the Regional Air Quality Council (RAQC).

Council Member Susan Squyer chairs the Cherry Creek Basin Water Quality Authority.

Council Member Harold Anderson leads the Centennial Airport Noise Roundtable.

That accounts only for the committees in which council members hold leadership positions. All five, including newest Council Member Kim Monson, are required to serve on three or four committees outside their elected city post.

“I don’t think people understand the time commitment it takes to be a council member or mayor,” said Gunning, who also counts the C-470 Corridor Coalition and FasTracks Task Force among his many committees.

“What happens in the metro area and our region has a big impact on us,” he said. “If we weren’t participating with the C-470 Coalition, we wouldn’t have any input into how it would work for Lone Tree. If I wasn’t on the FasTracks Task Force, keeping the southeast extension front and center in people’s minds, maybe it would have drifted off.”

Gunning estimates his council and committee work adds up to about 40 hours a week. That’s in addition to his full-time job as a United Airlines pilot.

Millet, a civil engineer, says her time investment is at least 25 hours a week. She said she feels honored to serve on DRCOG and RAQC.

“I enjoy working on city stuff because you get into more of the nuts and bolts,” said Millet, a civil engineer. “But I also enjoy the bigger picture view of the region. You really need to put your parochial hat aside and figure out what makes sense for the region. I think my analytical background has certainly helped me there.”

Squyer is the first woman to chair the Cherry Creek Basin Water Quality Authority. It’s a role in which she would never have imagined herself, but as a self-defined “lifelong learner,” she relishes a fresh challenge.

Construction in Lone Tree’s RidgeGate development elevates the city’s role in the authority, which protects water quality in the reservoir that extends from Denver through Cherry Creek Reservoir south to Castle Rock.

“Cabela’s was one of the first projects in the city that was actually in the (Cherry Creek) watershed,” Squyer said. “The fact that development is now moving into the watershed will make it more important to us to understand what’s going on with water quality.”

Harold Anderson’s work on the Centennial Airport Noise Roundtable involves hearing and attempting to address complaints about aircraft noise.

“The hottest issue we’re having is helicopter noise over Greenwood Village,” said the former pilot. “So I’m spending as much time helping people in Greenwood Village as I am Lone Tree.”

Like his fellow council members, Anderson gains satisfaction from the added responsibilities.

“If I didn’t enjoy it, I’d sit back and let somebody else do the work,” he said.