An even dozen aims for Avon council
Many of the candidates say Avon is at a critical point in its 24-year history, as construction on the sprawling Village of Avon slowly doubles the size of the town. Meanwhile, the town’s finances are slumping while Vail Resorts wants help building a gondola up to Beaver Creek Mountain.
Council members Debbie Buckley, Mac McDevitt and Brian Sipes are running to retain their seats, but term limits prevent Mayor Judy Yoder from doing so.
The other candidates include (in alphabetical order of last name): Vail Daily sales associate Bob Angel; Bobby Bank; architect Tab Bonidy; Hispanic activist Rene Martiniez; Avon Planning and Zoning Commissioner Mike McClinton; Steve Miller; Vail Resorts property manager Ron Neville; Albert “Chico” Thuon; and Planning and Zoning Commissioner Ron Wolfe.
“I want to provide better ways for people to live here, to work here, to play here and raise a family,” says Wolfe, 61, a retired engineer who worked for Avon Products (no association with the town).
“We need to look at questions of taxes and housing that’s affordable for young professionals and young couples –that’s not the government’s definition of affordable – but we don’t want to lose that vibrant part of the community,” Wolfe says.
The Home Depot or Wal-Mart will open stores next summer and fall at the Village at Avon. The town will not get sales tax revenues from either of the “big boxes” for more than a decade, however, and because those stores may take away customers from other Avon businesses, there will likely be a further slump in the town’s tax collections, McDevitt says.
“We’re going have a fall off in taxes –a pretty big fall that hopefully won’t be as big as projected,” McDevitt says. “We have to be good stewards of the town’s money, find ways to make up that shortfall and not spend money on things that we don’t need.”
Bank, 39, an Eaglebend Drive resident who runs his own advertising business, says he’s disappointed in decisions made by the Town Council, especially regarding the Village at Avon.
“I think they gave away the whole store with the VIllage at Avon,” says Bank. “I’m for development, but it needs to be responsible.”
Whether he is elected or not, Bank says, he would like to see a big change in the Town Council.
“I just don’t think the current council really represents my neighborhood,” he says. “I just want them to have common sense in their decisions, and to me it doesn’t appear that they do.
Neville, a property manager at Arrowhead and Bachelor Gulch, says the various developments underway in Avon are one reason he’s running for council.
“Avon is in a real exciting time right now with all the new developments,” Neville says. “It would be fun to be involved and make sure everything keeps going forward smoothly.”
Angel, 44, who formerly ran the European division of Petsmart, says he can help small businesses adjust to The Home Depot and Wal-Mart.
“A lot of small businesses try to compete with the big stores instead of adapting,” Angel says. “They’ll need some counsel on the transition and I’ve got 25 years of experience in retail and big box operations.”
Sipes, 35, an architect, was appointed in June to fill the seat vacated by Rick Cuny. Sipes says there should be better connections between the town’s commercial areas.
“The decisions made in the next four years will affect the town for the next 50 years,” Sipes says. “I’d like to see east Avon studied with the same scrutiny as west Avon, to tie them together. Hopefully, we can engage the developer of the Village at Avon to be part of that so the Village is pulled into and made part of the town, rather than being a whole separate town.”
Martinez, 27, who is a maintenance worker for the town of Vail, is the first Hispanic candidate in the history of Avon.
“More than what I have to offer, I really want to know what’s important to everybody in this community, I want to know what people would really like to change,” says Martinez, also a volunteer with La Mesa, a Hispanic advocacy group.
“A lot of cities, they’re only creating problems for future generations,” he says. “I think if we grow at a certain rate, we’ll be able to accomplish a lot of things and not leave problems.”
Buckley, 45, a Web developer with her own company, says she wants the streets of Wildridge to be safe for the many families that live in the subdivision.
“We’ve looked at widening the road and putting a bike path around the road,” she says. “It’s really important up here. There are so many little kids, and no matter what the police do there are still so many people coming through here too fast.”
Bonidy, 44, who runs Tab Associates, says the list of issues council members will have to deal with in the next four years is long.
“Some of the very important things have been established, but there are all the things that will pop up – and they will pop up – with that development,” Bonidy says. “I’m just extremely interested in protecting homeowners and small businessmen because this is the town that I live in and work in – everything we do centers around Avon.”
Matt Zalaznick can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 606, or via e-mail at email@example.com.