A green case for Eagle River Station
Katherine Delanoy's letter on April 24 discussed an environmentalist look at the ERS plans. I think that approach is spot on. By having shopping choices in Eagle, we will prevent the burning of huge quantities of fossil fuels as we all have to drive to Glenwood, Avon, Frisco and even Denver to buy life's necessities.
Spending $12 and driving 70 miles, round trip, to buy socks or underwear is just crazy.
And we all have to drive to those towns and farther to go to our jobs!
ERS will create more jobs in this town. Sure, some of them will be on the lower end of the pay scale, but have you checked out any of the salaries in our area lately? The pay is competitive with other employers in the valley.
Vail Resorts, which is a major employer of residents of Eagle, pays $8.25 to $9 an hour for lots of their jobs. And the fact that my tax dollars are not funneling to my town is also crazy.
In addition, the site, a dilapidated ranch property, currently leaches untreated animal excrement and fertilizer runoff into the groundwater, which then seeps into the Eagle River. Eagle River Station will use state-of-the-art systems to filter runoff and will improve the quality of the river water. If you think Chambers is an inviting entrance into our town, look again. Eagle River Station will be a major improvement.
Besides, all of you anti-ERS voters, you have had two years to come up with ideas to raise money equal to what Eagle River Station could potentially bring to Eagle, and so far our income has dropped since that period of time, and no credible ideas have been developed or tried. The fact that this developer is going to invest over $200 million into our infrastructure is an amazing opportunity and a testament to their research and commitment to its success.
Another major issue is the real estate values in our downvalley area. Foreclosures, nonmaintenance of homes and properties, empty houses and very little hope add up to bad news for those of us who own homes in Eagle. If we see a bright future with money to run this town and the ability to make improvements, perhaps our investments will rise in the coming years. Without Eagle River Station, this town will become a blighted zone.
Get the real facts. A majority of our money needed to run this town comes from sales tax. If we bring in Eagle River Station, keep City Market and build for the future, we will have a gorgeous town with fabulous amenities. And people will want to live here. Please see www.voteyestodagle.com for more details. Please support the health and future of our town by voting yes to ERS.
Keep them on board
To the citizens and taxpayers of Western Eagle County Ambulance District: It is election time for special districts. Western Eagle County Ambulance District is one of them. I would like to discuss why the current board should be retained: Brian Schofield, Jon Asper and Arleen Sandberg.
Western Eagle County Ambulance District is just one of the very many special districts in Eagle County that obtains the majority of its funding through taxpayer dollars.
To supplement its budget, the board of the district has received grants from the state, national and other entities that offer grants for health services.
With the economy and all the budget cuts, WECAD has managed to maintain, without raising taxes or mill levies, the same quality service to all of those taxpayers in its district. This is from careful scrutiny of the budget over the past few years, not spending what is not needed and finding ways to supplement the budget.
WECAD is one of the few districts that have kept a full staff with no layoffs. And yes, there were some budget cuts that affected the employees, but those affected are still with us and we hope to reinstate some of those cuts in the near future. They are still here to serve those who need them on a daily basis.
The goal of WECAD is to increase their services to the public and to provide health care for the population in the county where the public can see just how their tax dollars are being spent, whether they have insurance or not. WECAD is here to serve you, the public, maintain a professional presence in the communities and be ready on a moment's notice to answer any emergency call, regardless of the time of day or night or weather conditions. These emergency personnel are here for you.
Over the past few years, I have seen many new programs brought to the public through good management of their tax dollars by the board of directors, who now makes those decisions for a healthier and safer work environment for all the paramedics, EMS and the office staff who are so devoted to giving of their time, both on the job and off.
The most recent program put into effect is the Community Paramedic Program. The goal of this program is to improve health outcomes among people needing medical care and to save health care dollars by allowing paramedics to come into their homes to provide primary care services under a doctor's supervision, to be conducted in their homes. This program provides a community-based prevention service to all of those who may need it.
This program has been so popular that our facility is being used as a model for other EMS facilities across the country. Without the backing of the current board of directors, this program wouldn't be here today.
I would hope that you will continue to support the current board members, who have been dutiful in their jobs and see to it that your tax dollars are wisely spent on health care in your communities - Brian Schofield, Arleen Sandberg and Jon Asper.
With the election coming up, I would like to encourage the voters to look very seriously at this special district, and if you don't already know how much their presence has created a positive effect on this community, and how much the present board has done to make sure your tax dollars are being spent the best way possible, please make a special effort to go in and ask questions or for a tour of the WECAD's two facilities.
The WECAD Board meetings are held on the third Monday of every month at 5:30 p.m. and rotate between the Eagle station and the Gypsum station. The public is encouraged and welcome to attend these meetings.
Pamela J. Schultz
Member of Board of Directors, Western Eagle County Ambulance District
Another Gypsum fantasy
In the footsteps of Minturn's successful annexation of 4,340 acres of private property slated for the Ginn development, including access to $11.4 million dedicated to town upgrades from the developer, Gypsum may have a secret plan.
Gypsum has a similar history beginning in 1996 with the proposed $9 million, 30,000-foot expansion of the terminal in unincorporated Eagle. The Town Council, not much different from the newly elected Town Council running on the platform of "Jobs for Gypsum," quickly decided it was best for Gypsum to annex the airport and surrounding property "right up to the town of Eagle's roundabout." Gypsum even offered to annex the National Guard facilities once the National Guard had the money to pay for sewer hook-up. In addition, the annexation would provide significant revenue-producing, mixed-use property.
The town of Eagle, on the other hand, proud of its new motto: "Best little town in the West," fretted over the necessary improvements, increased traffic and pending business failure. After all, there had already been a failed upvalley airport slated to be turned into a Walmart and Home Depot.
It made no sense: Why would well-healed visitors from the East Coast or West Coast fly little planes into Eagle when there were perfectly good airports in Aspen and Denver?
Sure enough: In 2001, the airport underwent another 30,000-foot expansion and, by 2008, had a 47-fold increase in traffic. Rental car sales tax alone was providing 30 percent of Gypsum's sales tax revenue, and a study by CDOT in 2008 revealed the airport's total economic contribution: $994 million, 10,500 jobs with $294 million in salaries. Traffic: 90 percent of that was moving through the town of Eagle.
In 2005, the retail giant Costco was rumored to be in the hunt. The town of Eagle, already stung by the even larger Kroger Corp. placing a City Market at the outskirts of town, over a mile from the downtown core, was unable to come up with a solution that fit the "small-town feel."
Oops, remember that annexation in 1996? Those sly Gypsonians had space. In 2006, the new 155,000-foot Costco opened in Gypsum, employing over 160 people with great jobs and benefits, contributing millions in sales tax revenue to the town of Gypsum.
So what's the rumored secret plan? What if Gypsum were to exercise its right of eminent domain and annex the Hay Meadow site? After all, the Gypsum Town Council has a history of successful business development and a pro-business attitude. With both the Town Center and Hay Meadow land locked in, there would be substantial revenue for added amenities in Gypsum.
Think it is crazy? Check out Minturn's Supreme Court ruling and the 2009 Colorado Supreme Court ruling on eminent domain. To be honest, some parts of this editorial may not be true. Which parts? The reader needs to figure that out. Watch out, Dotsero!