Mayor Burnett sworn in at Town of Del Norte meeting

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Photos by Lyndsie Ferrell During the May Town of Del Norte Board or Trustee meeting, constituents bid goodbye to former Mayor Chris Trujillo and welcomed new Mayor Shelly Burnett. Burnett is the first female mayor for Del Norte.

DEL NORTE – In a Town of Del Norte trustee meeting, residents, town board members and staff witnessed the swearing in of Del Norte’s first female Mayor, Shelly Burnett.

Outgoing Mayor Chris Trujillo opened the public meeting on May 8 and after working through the consent agenda, stepped down as mayor.

“We want to thank you for your service and present you with this plaque to commemorate your devotion to this community,” said Town Administrator Bernadette Martinez. The audience applauded Trujillo and the meeting was turned over to Town Attorney Gene Farish.

Farish asked Burnett to step forward where she took the Colorado State Oath of Office and was met with a large round of applause.

“I just want you all to know that this will be the only time you see me without jeans on,” said Burnett with a laugh.

In the April election for Del Norte, voters elected Burnett for mayor. Burnett won in a landslide over incumbent Trujillo and candidate Shawn Goforth. Trujillo served as mayor for 14 years and as trustee for four years before becoming mayor.

In an interview with Burnett, she made it abundantly clear that she plans to increase transparency with her constituents.

“I have served as trustee for four years. I was sworn into office during 2020 and the COVID pandemic. It was a learning curve to say the least and the one thing I plan of right away, is being as transparent as I possibly can with my constituents. All too often I have been approached and asked why no one hears about plans from the town, well, my first goal is to fix that,” she said.

Burnett spoke about her fellow board members saying, “I think we have a great board and I think we all have some wonderful ideas to bring to the table. Del Norte is growing, and we need to embrace it. We need to focus on the future and close the book on the past one way or another.”

When asked what she plans to do to increase transparency in the town, Burnett laughed and said that she would start with the simple things.

“We need to keep things simple. It's really not that hard. I plan to get the Zoom meetings up and going and to work on making the website more user friendly. We want the community to come and share ideas with us and to hear what the people have to say,” she said.

Some of the things that Burnett is looking forward to is creating more opportunities to show how great of a community Del Norte is.

“We have so many wonderful things here. For instance, the Music in the Park program. We can really boost that up and partner with other events like the Mercado and Rhythms on the Rio,” she said.

Burnett would also like to see about bringing businesses in to fill some of the vacant buildings along Main Street.

“We have the downtown revitalization project starting this summer and I think we can work with organizations around the Valley to offer an incentive to new business owners to come here. We need some kind of retail store, like a hardware or something similar. We have a great community and so much potential,” she said.

Other projects Burnett has on her list of things to do include affordable housing, the 9th Street project and fixing the roads around town.

“We have to look at things that are a priority and I realize that, but we can start the conversation. We can look at our options some more and again, we can hear what the people would like to see,” she said.