Vail council candidate Niko Sayag in his own words
Candidate wants younger residents to have a voice
The Vail Daily is running Q&As with the 10 candidates running for four seats on the Vail Town Council. The questionnaires will run in the order that the candidates appear on the ballot. The town is participating in Eagle County’s coordinated election. Ballots will be mailed out Oct. 8.
Name: Niko Sayag
Occupation: Manager, Shakedown Bar, ski shop manager, Ski Town All-Stars.
Length of residence in Vail: Eight years
Have you served on any other town boards or commissions? (that includes the Vail Recreation District and county boards and commissions, if any): Not yet.
Why do you want this job? I feel there is a significant portion of our community that is under-represented in our local government and I want to provide an opportunity for those people to be heard.
With larger crowds and a rising cost of living, the locals are often left behind. I am here to represent our hospitality and service industry workers, on-mountain employees, ski techs and many more. These people are the backbone of our community, and they provide the services needed to maintain Vail’s vibrant tourism industry.
What has the current council done well? What could it have done better? I am proud of council’s response to COVID. They provided emergency rent and grocery relief initiatives that many struggling workers were able to utilize. They allowed businesses to expand their services so they would be able to maintain both health guidelines and their bottom lines.
Council has always done a wonderful job of providing amenities such as the public transportation, free community events and concerts, as well as the amazing landscaping throughout town. However, with the rapid pace of change over the last decade, I worry that the council is becoming more removed from the daily struggles of the local community. The cost of living in Vail has increased at an incredible rate, and the council’s unwillingness to address it has resulted in a dwindling and unrepresented workforce. We need to be willing to address these uncomfortable issues in new and innovative ways.
What’s your position on the proposed half-cent sales tax increase for housing initiatives? I am opposed to the sales tax increase. The lack of affordable housing in the valley is the most important issue locals are facing; however, I do not believe that this sales tax increase will provide any quantifiable solutions. This is a crisis that has been caused by the onslaught of short-term rentals and second-home owners. Increasing the sales tax in town will raise an already undue tax burden on the locals while ignoring the root cause of the issue.
If elected, what’s the main thing you’d like to see the council accomplish in the next two or four years? Over the next few years, I want town council to give more consideration to the younger generation in Vail. We are a generation made up of many different ideas and having those ideas represented can only benefit the town as a whole. We do not want to tear down the foundations on which our community is built. We just want a seat at the table, which we have undoubtedly earned, so that our perspective can be included as we work to build a better future for everyone.