Candidates answer an Edwards question |

Candidates answer an Edwards question

Scott N. Miller

EAGLE COUNTY – November’s not really that far away.From now until the Nov. 7 election, the Vail Daily will ask a question a week to all the candidates running for the one open seat on the board. The winner will replace Tom Stone of Gypsum, who is leaving office due to the state’s term limits law.The Aug. 8 primary will whittle this six-person field down to three, a Republican, a Democrat, and independent candidate Roger Brown of Gypsum.We welcome reader questions to the candidates. The only catch is the question must be addressed to all of them. Questions can be e-mailed: week’s question:If Edwards was a town, it would be the county’s largest. Should Edwards be a town? If so, what can, or should, the commissioners do to encourage residents to create their own town?

The decision to incorporate is a choice the residents of Edwards need to make. So, the short answer is, no, it is not the commissioners’ job to make that decision for people.It seems, however, that there is a perception that there is a financial burden placed on the county by Edwards not being incorporated. Financial needs and expenses of the county are part of the responsibility of the commissioners. At some point in the future, the county may need to come up with a financial solution, but that does not mean that the only option is incorporation for Edwards.

Good question. I now know that 84 percent of the population of Edwards has a high school or above education. Edwards was Eagle County’s first resort. This educated population with the longest history of a resort economy in the county must have a good reason for not choosing to incorporate. I know that Edwards has an elected metro board that acts in some ways as most town councils. I know that Edwards covers an area of 39 square miles. I am researching the cost of not incorporating to Eagle County taxpayers, taxes paid vs. services received. When I know the facts I’ll let you know what I think.

I was asked this question by Edwards residents while collecting signatures to get my name on the ballot. Almost none wanted Edwards to become a town because it would be more expensive for them.Hindsight suggests Edwards should have been a town from the beginning, but how do you convince the residents to change now when it’s less expensive for them to be a part of the county? If it goes to a referendum they will vote no, and from what I can determine the county cannot force Edwards to become a town. So the question is moot.

I think it would be advantageous for Edwards to become a town. As a member of a town council I see the advantages of being able to determine your own destiny and create an environment that suits the people of your own area rather than having your destiny determined by the county. While I think that self-rule and the resulting self-guiding advantages would naturally appeal to Edwards as reason enough to create a town, it is ultimately the decision of the residents whether or not they feel that remaining in the county or becoming a town is right for them.

The most compelling reason for an area to incorporate is to have greater control over land-use decisions. Since Edwards is nearly 75 percent built out, creating another bureaucracy seems unnecessary and wasteful. A bolder, long-term vision might involve expanding the incorporated town(s) of Avon and perhaps even Vail and combining efforts which would result in greater consolidation of services throughout the upper and mid-valleys. For now, fire protection, recreation, snow removal and safety are being addressed and are working well. As far as I know, there is no interest by the citizens of Edwards to make a change.

Unless the folks in Edwards want more control over their own destiny, I see no reason for them to form their own town. Creating a town would result in more taxes for the residents to support the town services such as government, buildings, police, street maintenance, recreation, parks and etc.As long as county spending and services provided in the Edwards area are somewhat in proportion to the tax collected there and satisfies the needs of the residents, I see no need to create another level of government. Vail, Colorado

Support Local Journalism