County commissioner candidate: Beveridge brings decades of ‘real world’ experience | VailDaily.com

County commissioner candidate: Beveridge brings decades of ‘real world’ experience

Rick Beveridge

EAGLE — Not so long ago, Rick Beveridge was on the board of the Western Eagle County Metropolitan Recreation District. The group was talking about doing something with almost no money when a flurry of ideas flew through the room. Before you could say, "it's time to break a sweat," Beveridge helped build a coalition that created around $30 million in recreation facilities with $12 million in voter-approved bonds.

If you or your kid plays hockey, swims or hangs out in a local park, Beveridge probably had a hand in creating that opportunity.

"It was collaboration and cooperation. Everyone knew they needed to step up, and they did. That's really they way to get things done," Beveridge said. "There were Republicans, Democrats, independents … all sorts of people were working together."

That's the sort of skill Beveridge says he'll bring to the Eagle County Board of Commissioners.

"With (the recreation district), we were operating with a shoestring budget," Beveridge said. "We did a lot of things with no money."

Beveridge, a Republican, is challenging Democrat Kathy Chandler-Henry, who is running for her first full four-year term after being appointed three years ago.

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"I've negotiated millions of dollars in real estate deals. There has to be give and take on all these things," Beveridge said.

Real-world experience

Beveridge is not a political newcomer. He has spent the better part of three decades on the following elected boards and committees:

• 12 years as chairman of the Western Eagle County Metropolitan Recreation District board.

• Vail Mountaineer Hockey Club board.

• Eagle County Fair & Rodeo board as it brought professional rodeo to town.

• Vail Valley Foundation director of corporate sales and membership.

• Owner of Beveridge Real Estate.

He said he brings more than 30 years of real-world business experience from the construction and real estate industries, and nonprofits.

Affordable housing

Affordable/workforce housing seems to be this election cycle's hot-button issue. It's not a new problem, and yet the current board has done nothing to address it, Beveridge said.

"I am the only commissioner candidate who has planned and built affordable workforce housing. Our current commissioners have been in office anywhere from two to four years and haven't produced a single unit," Beveridge said.

Beveridge said he has mixed feelings about the county's housing sales tax that voters will decide next month. If voters approve it, he said he would see that the money is spent wisely, and buys more than just another layer of government.

Beveridge was a partner in the 72-unit Sawatch condominium project in Gypsum. He and his partners worked with the town of Gypsum to rezone the land from commercial to residential and helped put together the financing package.

That's one of the projects Beveridge has been part of in his 26 years in real estate and construction, experience that he said makes him "very knowledgeable about opportunities for public and private solutions for affordable/workforce housing."

One thing he said is certain: "Government has to get out of the way. Land use regulations need to be revised immediately to encourage, incentivize, streamline and welcome affordable housing solutions. A new vision and mentality will need to be embraced as established by the county's top leadership."

The current board of county commissioners is moving ahead with funding a child care program to the tune of $1.8 million a year. Beveridge says he isn't a fan.

"The county cannot be all things to all people. I believe we need to focus on the core services," Beveridge said.

Topping his list is the Eagle County Sheriff's Office, the county's roads and bridges and offices and departments in which the county conducts business.

"We have to be able to a great job providing those core services and provide first-rate customer service and eliminate dipping into the reserves before we consider any non-essential funding requests. After all, we are spending your tax dollars," Beveridge said.

Economic development is also high on his list, whether that takes the form of a county department or a partnership with the county, towns and local chambers of commerce.

Diversity questions

He says the current board – all Democrats – lacks diversity. Beveridge says he's fiscally conservative and will implement a private sector business approach to running the local government.

"We deserve to have more than one-sided representation pushing similar ideas and agendas, which can have severe and lasting effects on our community and economy," Beveridge said. "Regardless of your political affiliation, everyone can agree on the many benefits of having a mix of representatives on our board of county commissioners," Beveridge said. "Having a diverse board gives us not only a full range of ideas and perspectives, but also ensures checks and balances which ultimately benefit all residents of our vibrant county."

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.

Meet your candidates

Democrat Kathy Chandler-Henry and Republican Rick Beveridge face off in District 2 Eagle County Board of County Commissioners seat.

District 1 candidates Republican Michael Dunahay and Democrat Jill Ryan will be profiled tomorrow.