Candidates discuss decision-making, threats and taxes
How will you make decisions on complex or controversial issues and from whom will you seek advice?
Paul Roundeau: Develop or request staff to develop a proposal with options – or else staff member become too emotionally attached to a single solution. Input from other and former council members, community members and various board and committee members.
Kim Ruotolo: I will make decisions on all issues by studying the facts and listening carefully to both sides. I will seek input from community members, town staff and experts on the issues.
Rod Slifer: I bring a wealth of history and experience. My decisions are based on what I feel is best for Vail, not only short term but for years to come. I seek input from who is the most concerned and knowledgeable on a particular issue.
Mark Gordon: I will listen to the loud voices of the community and I’ll search for the quiet ones. I will then try to look at all sides of the issue and make a decision that I believe will be the best for the town as a whole.
Bill Jewitt: As in the past, I will listen to input, study staff reports and recommendations and then decide, remembering that council is elected to make decisions.
Kent Logan: The voters of Vail. The emphasis needs to shift to making timely decisions, not “studying and delaying” a tough decision forever.
Greg Moffet: Wife, friends, soccer-, hockey-, skating-, skiing-parents, customers as well as merchants, restaurateurs and lodge operators in Vail. I seek input and base my decision on doing right by my constituents. Also, I don’t give up when the issue is important – for example, highway noise.
Currently what do you see as the greatest threats to Vail?
Ruotolo: I think that our greatest threat is the continuing “flight” of families and young people from our town to downvalley communities. Without a diverse population, the town loses its vivacity and charm, which can be felt by residents and visitors alike.
Slifer: Community diversity. We must work together towards a common goal, to make Vail No. 1. We can agree to disagree but must join together to achieve success.
Gordon: The pervasive negativity is a grave threat to the success of Vail. It is important to counter the negativity with enthusiasm and optimism.
Jewitt: We are experiencing a general downturn in revenues in the town. I believe this is indicative of the need to repair and reinvigorate the economic engine of Vail, our commercial core areas
Logan: Loss of jobs. We do not have the financial controls or management capacity to coordinate the massive reconstruction plans we have for the next 4 years.
Moffet: Nationally – an aging, less active population. Locally – product deterioration, indifference to Vail’s issues from the county and reduced civility within our community.
Rondeau: Unpredictable snow, fear of travel, the economy, the stock market, changing vacation habits and downvalley competition.
With sales tax collections declining, how do you propose to maintain levels of service to tax payers and constituents?
Slifer: We are beginning to make progress in this area. We need to get redevelopment projects – Four Seasons, Vail Village Inn, Front Door, Lionshead and Sonnenalp, to name a few – completed. We need to increase the amount of retail space to create a retail mass that attracts visitors.
Gordon: The typical answer to this question would be to “cut back” and “trim the fat.” I strongly believe this is a misguided strategy. Of course we need to insure that our government is as efficient and smart as possible, but we shouldn’t cut back on services that will jeopardize our community’s world-class reputation. We need to be proactive and position ourselves to be ready for the inevitable economic recovery.
Jewitt: Basic services such as fire, police, and buses are sufficiently funded by the current budget. What the current declines require is a clear sense of priority for discretionary spending. Further savings may also be available through consolidation of various services.
Logan: Increase sales tax revenue and cut the fat out of the budget
Moffet: Continue to focus on increasing sales tax collections. Holding levels relatively steady the last couple years is a testament to the town’s investment in the business community and the effective use of the lodging tax for marketing. Push for bed-base increases because lodging is one of the biggest sales tax generators we have. Continue discussion of shifting revenue reliance from sales to less volatile taxes like property taxes.
Rondeau: Top down savings – continue. Bottom-up savings through ongoing improvement program. Cut contributions to recipients with no accountability. More volunteerism.
Ruotolo: We must closely analyze the budget every year to ensure that we are funding our basic services properly. Maintaining levels of service should be our No. 1 priority, followed closely by capital improvements.
Note: The eighth candidate, Dave McDougall, did not turn in his responses.