Eagle County is running strong, commissioners looking at future | VailDaily.com

Eagle County is running strong, commissioners looking at future

EAGLE — The state of the county is pretty good and improving.

Eagle County’s annual State of the County presentation Tuesday took a look over the past year and set some goals for the future.

In a packed Eagle County Room, the county commissioners re-emphasized their five top priorities:

1. Quality service

“We know working families are the backbone of our community.”Jill RyanEagle County commissioner

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2. Social investment

3. Economic vitality

4. Sustainable communities

5. Environmental stewardship

“I’m so proud of everyone who works here and all of your accomplishments,” said Jill Ryan, county commissioner.

The event also introduced Brent McFall, the new county manager.

McFall had been on the job for about one full day, coming from Westminster, where he was the city manager. He got right into the spirit of the place when he pointed out he was the only guy in the room wearing a tie, and then pulled it off.

“We should work hard with great passion, and we should have fun doing it,” McFall said. “The things we do daily impact quality of life more than any other organization.”

Among his many other honors, McFall was awarded the Colorado Cities and Counties Association’s lifetime achievement award.

Economic vitality is high on the county’s list, and the data indicates it’s headed in the right direction, Ryan said.

Foreclosures are down and building is up. The county is fielding its highest number of building permits since 2008, Ryan said.

Social investment encompasses a wide range.

The county staff increased the number of childcare slots open to local families, and helped one of the county’s largest childcare centers reorganize and keep its doors open.

“We know working families are the backbone of our community,” Ryan said.

At the other end of that spectrum, the initial fundraising goal for the Castle Peak Senior Care Center was met, and construction should begin soon.

Eagle County Transit ridership was up 13 percent last year, and the county played a big role in widening the shoulders on U.S. Highway 6, making it safer for motorists and bicyclists, said Kathy Chandler-Henry, county commissioner.

“We’re building a business friendly Eagle County. A successful local economy means growing incomes and sales tax base,” Chandler-Henry said.

The airport is the linchpin for many economic development efforts, and this year finalized a 20-year plan.

The county’s 15 by 15 initiative aims to reduce energy consumption by 15 percent by the end of this year.

Toward that end, the county has reduced its greenhouse gases by 160 metric tons and saved the county $25,000, Chandler-Henry said.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.

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