Eagle Town Board members donating pay during coronavirus crisis
Board members are encouraging other elected officials to do the same
EAGLE — Eagle Town Board members voted unanimously to leave their paychecks in the town’s general fund where it can help the small businesses on which Eagle depends.
“This is something we can to do to help struggling local businesses and to help the struggling town,” said Matt Solomon in introducing the measure.
Solomon and other board members are encouraging other elected officials at the local, state and national levels to follow Eagle’s example, from town councils to Congress.
“The goal is for the town to set an example for other communities and to help our small businesses,” Solomon said.
Board member Scott Turnipseed, who is running unopposed for mayor in next month’s election, was vocal in supporting Solomon’s idea of donating their stipends.
“It shows the community that we care and that we’re doing our small part,” Turnipseed said.
Doing their part
Given their current pay — $250 a month for board members and $400 a month for the mayor —it might be largely symbolic, but it’s something board members said they felt they should do.
“It demonstrates good faith,” Solomon said.
Solomon and some other board members could probably use the money.
Solomon is self-employed and is up to his eyebrows in canceled contracts as a result of COVID-19. Board member Andy Jessen launched Bonfire Brewing and during the online meeting sat alone in his darkened, empty bar.
The board decided it would donate member stipends for 90 days and then see what the state of the world is. Eagle is holding an election on April 7. The current board said it would leave it to the new board to decide whether it wants to keep doing this.
The town board made the decision during its first virtual meeting, where members also decided that their meetings would be virtual for the foreseeable future.
Mayor Anne McKibbin declared a local disaster emergency a week ago, and the rest of the board approved it unanimously in Thursday’s special meeting. That emergency declaration lasts 30 days. The board can extend it if members want to, said Matt Mire, the town attorney.
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A Nov. 30 to Governor Polis and the Eagle County Commissioners from Beaver Creek Resorts Company – as well as the towns of Vail, Avon, Eagle and Minturn – requests a variance program which would allow businesses to remain open.