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Benson wants another shot in Avon

Sarah Mausolf
smausolf@vaildaily.com
Vail, CO Colorado
NWS Jim Benson DT 10-21-10
ALL |

AVON, Colorado – Jim Benson wants another go on Town Council.

It’s been a decade since he last served on council, from 1995 to 2000.

Now, he’s put his hat in the ring for one of the four seats up for grabs in the Nov. 2 election.



“I’ve been off the council for 10 years now,” he said. “I’m concerned about the amount of money we’ve spent on Main Street and realigning Lake Street. It all works functionally fine and I think we’ve spent somewhere in the neighborhood of $6 million for Lake Street improvements. It just concerns me.”

Benson said he wants to make sure the town stays on track and doesn’t take on too much debt.



He also wants to make things easier for local businesses by streamlining the way businesses remit sales taxes and doing away with a $75 yearly business license fee.

“Government needs to get out of the way,” he said.

Benson, 45, has an insulation company and previously owned Box Office Video in Avon. He’s also been a skiing instructor in Lionshead for the past 20 years. He moved to Avon in 1993, where he lives in Wildridge with his wife, Lisa, and stepsons, 5-year-old Oliver and 8-year-old Spencer. During his first tenure on Town Council, he was a big supporter of building the roundabouts.



If elected again, Benson’s top priority would be resolving the dispute between the town and developers of Village at Avon. Benson was on council when the town reached the deal with the developers in 1998. At the time, Benson said he thought it was in the town’s best interest to annex the land for the project into town. He said project would have taxed the town’s resources either way, but if the land was part of Avon instead of unincorporated Eagle County, the town would have more control over the development.

A dozen years later, Benson said he’s concerned about how much money the town has spent on lawsuits between the town and Traer Creek. The town has spent about $427,000 in legal costs. The town claims Traer Creek Metropolitan District owes about $3.3 million in outstanding payments.

Benson thinks a handful of representatives from the town and developers should talk things through and try to reach a deal.

“Are we going to get all the money we think the town’s owed? Probably not but that’s just how business works,” he said. “You make the best deal possible, and move forward and keep things rolling.”

He wants to see the development move forward and create more affordable housing for the town.

If more cuts become necessary to balance the town’s budget in the future, Benson wants to look for efficiencies. For example, he questions why snowplows were running in Wildridge on some nights last winter when very little snow was falling. He also questioned whether it was necessary to replace a guard rail along Nottingham Road this past summer.

He said the town should put capital projects like Main Street on pause.

“Keep them on hold until we’re in better financial times,” he said.

Staff Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 970-748-2928 or smausolf@vaildaily.com.


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