Dobson debacle provides lessons |

Dobson debacle provides lessons

Paul Rondeau

n Identification of who owned the project – VRD, TOV, or both.n Adequate up-front planning, with the inherent leverage of doing so.n A disciplined “change management” procedure in place.n Most importantly, a documented, fully understood project management set of procedures in place covering the above and other items. These procedures have been around for 25-30 years.Had the Dobson project followed a disciplined and ingrained approach, we would not be in this quandary, debating after-the-fact who pays. Clearly, some of the cost might have been accepted and budgeted by the TOV.Rather than dwell on sour grapes, let’s look at the opportunity this has given us, the VRD, the TOV and the Vail stakeholders. I, like the majority of voters, opted for the establishment of a separate VRD tax collection entity in 1993. But it is clear the Dobson project is showing the need for some retuning of the VRD operations.Let me state three problems and accompanying solutions:n VRD is probably too small (i.e. without a critical mass) to have handled a project of this size. They do not have, and probably should not have, individuals with the necessary skills to handle big projects and perhaps specialized functions not directly related to the actual delivery of recreation services.Solution: Subcontract the tasks to the TOV (e.g. Public Works).n VRD does not have effective public scrutiny. Its meetings are held during the workday at a location not conducive to casual drop-ins. If you are late or leave in mid-session, the creaking door to the small room will ensure you will never come again. Further, its elections are held in May. People are not here and not in the mind of thinking about election issues.Solution: Fix the problems and set tangible goals for real public involvement.n VRD does not have an ongoing improvement program that is visible and does not produce a content-rich annual report reflecting the results of such a program and other important matters.Solution: Use the skills or folks in the community to structure these programs and “deliverables.” You don’t have to hire yet another consultant.My plea to the in-place VRD directors and those soon to be elected is to consider the above points and other that will be brought up during the election process, to make real and well-needed changes to the VRD operations.My plea to the TOV regarding the retroactive funding request is to just say “No!” unless we can get some of these points in place as a pre-requisite.Otherwise, we run the risk of mixing well-scrutinized TOV dollars with VRD dollars, whose degree of scrutinization is really unknown. Again, let’s look at this whole issue as an opportunity for the future.Paul RondeauVailCouple of things wrong on tax ratesRegarding Ron Wolfe’s letter about the various mill levy questions on the May 7 ballots, I’d like to point out that he overstates the impact of the three mill levy increases on property taxes.It’s incorrect to add together the three proposed increases because each of the three entities he talks about covers different areas in Eagle County.Mill levies apply only to properties in the respective districts.The Eagle County Amb-ulance District only covers Eagle County east (and north/south) of Wolcott; Western Eagle County Metropolitan Recreation Dist-rict covers from Gypsum to parts of Edwards; and the mill levy increase being proposed by the Eagle River Water & Sanitation District would apply only to Vail and some adjacent areas.Therefore, a Vail resident is looking at a combination of the ERWSD and ECAD questions. An Edwards resident, depending on where they live, may be voting on both the WECMRD question and the ECAD question. An Eagle resident will vote only on the WECMRD question. Nobody will be voting on all three questions.Living in Avon, the only mill levy increase Mr. Wolfe may see (and be able to vote upon) is for the Ambulance District.If passed, it would mean an extra $34.40 per year on a $300,000 home, far less than the $190 Mr. Wolfe incorrectly stated.As someone who is connected to all three elections Mr. Wolfe mentioned, I wanted to clarify this point as voters begin to educate themselves and make their decisions.Paul WittEagle

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