Buckley running for Eagle County commissioner | VailDaily.com

Buckley running for Eagle County commissioner

Daily Staff Report
Vail, CO Colorado
Debbie Buckley

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” Former Avon Town Councilwoman Debbie Buckley announced Tuesday that she will run for Eagle County Commissioner.

Many residents do not feel their voices are heard by local leaders, and she wants to restore that “bond of trust” between the commissioners and residents, Buckley said.

She will run against Democrat and Eagle mayor John Stavney for the District 2 seat, which will be vacated by term-limited Arn Menconi.

Buckley, a Republican who has lived in the county for 12 years, served on the Avon Town Council for eight years and was chairwoman of the ECO Transit board. She now serves on the boards of the Eagle River Water and Sanitation District and TV Channel 5.

The biggest problems she wants to tackle are taxes and county spending, and she would start by lowering the county’s property tax rate, Buckley said.

“Taxes are driving a wedge between the government and the people,” she said.

The county has been unwisely spending money, she said, citing the early childhood development program and open space buys like Gates Ranch, a recent $2.1 million deal to keep 740 acres north of Dotsero undeveloped forever.

Open space should be more accessible to the people paying for it, and open space funds should be used for parks and trails, she said.

“People like me are looking at (higher taxes) and thinking, ‘Is that because they need the money, or is it being mismanaged?'” she said. “Just like families have to tighten their belts, so does the county.”

Current county commissioners say they want to take a leading role in providing affordable housing. They board of commissioners recenlty invested $4.5 million in the Stratton Flats affordable neighborhood project in Gypsum, are drafting housing guidelines for new developments and want to form a housing authority.

But Buckley said she takes a different approach ” local businesses should be taking the lead in providing affordable housing, not the county, she said.

“County should play a supporting role. Some (businesses) are already housing employees, and they shouldn’t be forced to pay for their competitors,” she said.

An economic council could help businesses form a housing co-op to share the costs of housing employees, she said.

Growth in the valley needs to be carefully managed, Buckley said.

“We just have to be careful that it is well-planned and that we have the amenities we need, like adequate roads and parks,” she said.

Buckley wants more services for senior citizens, especially as higher taxes and higher costs make it difficult for them to stay in the valley.

“People who have been paying taxes the longest are being driven out,” she said.

As commissioner she said she will work to bring assisted living to the area, as well as more health care services, like short-term care for seniors need rehabilitation.

Buckley said she thought about running for office after she started writing a local issues column in the Vail Trail. People began approaching her about the commissioner position.

“I believe (residents) are ready for a new voice who will vote for the people,” she said.

Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 748-2928 or mwong@vaildaily.com.

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