Economic predictions vary in Eagle County | VailDaily.com

Economic predictions vary in Eagle County

Lauren Glendenning
lglendenning@vaildaily.com
Vail, CO Colorado

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – Economic predictions might be a waste of time based on the track records of predictions made during the economic boom time, but people still have their thoughts on when an economic recovery could take place.

Some say it’s already happening, while others think it could be years before the economy picks up again locally.

Vail’s Millenium Bank Vice-President Scott Proper is of the mindset that predictions haven’t done much for us in the past, and they’re certainly not going to mean anything now.

He said the economic implosion in 2008 and stock markets crashes in 2009 “showed everybody that economic forecasts are a waste of time and money.”

“That’s the lesson that I learned,” Proper said.

Wealth Manager Greg Allen, of Cordillera, said he doesn’t believe people should rely on predicting the future to develop investment portfolios. His firm, Disciplined Advisors Group, was recently featured in a Forbes Magazine promotion on financial planners about the very subject of fortune-telling. Allen said that after 35 years working in big brokerage houses, he learned you have to invest like you don’t know what’s going to happen.

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Don Cohen, executive director of the Economic Council of Eagle County, said if he has to make a guess, he thinks there will market improvements in the valley in about five years.

He doesn’t see home values reaching 2007 levels again for another decade, though, if ever.

Maximum Comfort Pool and Spa owner Michael Charles is seeing signs of a recovery already, although it’s gradual. His business comes from a lot of second-home owners in the valley, and he said they’re investing money into their vacation homes.

“I’m optimistic in the response I’m getting – we’re having a lot of people wanting our products and services,” Charles said. “Business is good, but not like 2007 and 2008, but we’ll probably never see that again.”

The sentiment that 2007-08 was the peak of all peaks – that the valley might not see business booming like that ever again – seems to resonate with many locals. Some call it pessimism, but some say it’s just a fact.

“I’m very optimistic, but also realistic,” Cohen said.

If the town of Vail’s sales tax collections are any clue, May 2010 collections were way down from May 2009 at more than 22 percent. May is typically the worst month of the year for town revenue.

The town of Vail’s projections show the town thinks revenue levels in 2010 and 2011 will remain flat with 2009 levels, which were significantly down from 2008.

Kathleen Holloran, the town’s finance director, said in a July 15 memo to the Vail Town Council that sales tax revenue is expected to grow a modest 2 percent from 2012 through 2015, but there’s hope.

“This is a cautious approach in light of potential impact from the upcoming completion of major redevelopment projects,” Halloran wrote.

The July Mountain Travel Research Program report says that “an increasing number of more conservative market watchers point to staggering worldwide debt, ongoing unemployment and an anemic housing market as cause for ongoing caution.”

“The recovery, such as it is certainly fragile and has yet to spark any significant change in demand for tourism or real estate, the two pillars upon which mountain resort economies are founded,” wrote Ralf Garrison, director and senior analyst of the program.

Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or lglendenning@vaildaily.com.