Olivier Bosmans decided to jump into the race for Durango City Council in February. He was one of the last people to turn in his candidacy paperwork, he said.
“The more I started getting involved and getting to know more about who is leaving and who is running – that was a concern to me,” Bosmans said. “That concern is based on technical and financial skills. I’m concerned for the city at the City Council level.”
Bosmans, 49, is one of seven candidates running for three open seats on City Council in the April 6 elections. The candidates will replace Mayor Dean Brookie, who is term-limited; Chris Bettin, who declined to run for re-election; and Melissa Youssef, who is running as an incumbent candidate.
Bosmans, an international project manager and environmental consultant, said Brookie and Bettin brought most of the technical and financial skills to the council. (Other current council members also have business and finance backgrounds.)
“On the council, you need diversity. When those two people leave, there will be a void,” Bosmans said. “I think that void needs to be filled.”
That’s what Bosmans aims to do, if elected.
In his pitch to voters on Facebook, Bosmans emphasizes his engineering and financial backgrounds. Bosmans has worked as an international project manager and environmental health and safety consultant for more than 20 years. In 2005, he launched his own international company, Globos LLC, based in Durango.
The technical skills he aims to bring to council are experience with construction and engineering assessments and handling large amounts of data. He has worked closely with construction, development and remediation with a variety of clients, like local governments and architects.
The city of Durango’s total revenue in 2020 was $102.7 million, and City Council members play a leading role in deciding how the money gets spent. But Bosmans wasn’t fazed by taking on a multimillion dollar budget. He said he has handled significant budgets before.
He was reluctant to share a top priority for his four-year term on council during an interview with The Durango Herald, saying there are a variety of issues the City Council needs to address, like affordable housing. But when pressed, he said it was financial responsibility and sustainability.
If elected, Bosmans plans to whip city finances into shape. The city’s $710,000 embezzlement case spanning a decade revealed systemic flaws that needed to be fixed with internal controls, accountability and oversight. Not only that, but the city’s major projects and city operations need to be sustainable, he said.
“People are tired of seeing costs increase, regular proposed tax increases, and embezzlement or inappropriately spent funds,” according to his Facebook campaign page.
Bosmans, originally from the Netherlands, moved to Durango in 2005. He has an engineering degree from the Netherlands and a master’s in business administration from Germany.
In April 2019, he started a three-year term on the La Plata County Planning Commission, which would overlap with a City Council term. He also spent a year on the county’s Board of Adjustment from 2020 to January.
“Either you’re part of the solution or you’re not,” he said about his involvement in public service.
But Bosmans wanted voters to know, first and foremost, that he is committed to Durango. His three children were born in the city, he said.
He is involved as a parent with the Durango School District 9-R and enjoys a variety of outdoor recreational activities.
“The most important part of me is the fact that I’m committed and invested in Durango, which I call home,” Bosmans said. “My children, who were all born here, will always call it home.”