Carnes: Avon goes full Trump for a useless old barn (column)

Richard Carnes
Richard's Rulings

Looking down upon the town of Avon while perched near the top of Wildridge, I envision a giant pair of hands aiming a condescending “Pelosi Clap” directly above the council chambers next to Nottingham Lake.

What councilmembers have succeeded in accomplishing with an old barn that most people did not even know existed until recently is akin to what Trump has succeeded with his pointless wall: a slap in the face to the vast majority of those they claim to represent.

The president throws a tantrum for $1.5 billion of Other Peoples Money (OPM) to spend on a useless wall and the Town Council members who voted for the relocation thumb their nose in the faces of their constituents to use $1.5 million of OPM to move a useless old barn.

Three zeros at the end is the only difference.

“Build the wall” has now become “Finish the wall,” although only a few miles of fencing repairs is the president’s reality.

“Save the barn” has now become “Hope we can find a way to pay for the barn,” and that is the town of Avon’s reality.

The Donald refuses to not get his way — taxpayers be damned, and now the town of Avon refuses to not get its way — taxpayers be damned.

While some insist the barn is the “last remaining physical link” to Avon’s past, if it were the least bit of a “valuable community asset,” wouldn’t most of the community have been aware of its existence?

Perhaps we should start calling the barn “Peaches.”

And like Trump’s wall, this is only the beginning of taxpayer dollars being used against the wishes of taxpayers.

The next two phases for “Save the barn” are projected to cost another $5 million, bringing the total to at least $6.5 million, which is almost double what the town plans on spending for capital improvements this entire year.

What’s next, councilmembers calling for a “Town Emergency” to “redirect” current taxpayer dollars from other projects?

The 2019 approved budget already has Avon spending about $1.5 million more than it plans to take in, and while a positive fund balance makes that a tad easier to swallow, it’s not even my biggest concern.

What bothers me the most is the simple fact that Avon taxpayers do not pay Avon taxes for elected officials to ignore their wishes and spend OPM however they wish.

While I applaud the Eagle County Historical Society and other like-minded groups for the good they can provide a community, people do not pay taxes in order for them to exist. Like six-figure sculptures in roundabouts, private fundraising is the only way such items and organizations should be funded, not by elected officials fulfilling personal goals with tax dollars.

However, on the plus side, at least none of our Avon elected officials (of which I am acquainted with each to some degree) have thrown any childish tantrums in order to get their way or whined about how they are treated on “Saturday Night Live.”

But I suppose we could always ask Ann Coulter to weigh in.

Richard Carnes, of Avon, writes weekly. He can be reached at

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