Ferry: Looking out for Vail in Denver
Vail, CO Colorado
I’ve spent interesting time at some meetings in Denver recently, something I typically do this time of year. Mid-January is the annual “Business Day at the Legislature.” Lots of business leaders meet for lunch with the governor and listen to whatever hyperbole is on the day’s agenda. It’s meant to inspire confidence in the business community, and I suppose it depends on your political persuasion whether you buy it or not. I happen to be in the “or not” category where this governor is concerned.
A few years ago, I wouldn’t have been so clear in my opinions but that changed as I came to pay closer and closer attention to the shenanigans in the capitol building in Denver. Because a few years ago, I became involved with the Colorado Competitive Council, known as C3.
C3 is a coalition of a broad spectrum of the business community including corporations, trade associations, economic development organizations, and chamber of commerce executives. It provides direct lobbying and business advocacy at the state legislative level in an effort to focus maximum resources and efforts towards securing Colorado’s economic future. It is dedicated to promoting industry clusters that have the best potential for job growth across Colorado and views legislation “through the lens of keeping our state competitive in the quest for jobs.” Additionally, it focuses on enhancing Colorado’s overall business climate.
Through my involvement, I have been able to meet other business leaders from all across Colorado. And the few of us living on this side of the tunnel have been able to bring a perspective to the Front Range mentality that is often overlooked. We have been able to make them aware of the fact that while we contribute significantly to Colorado’s economy, we are not dealt with on a regular basis. We have been able to change some of that.
Furthermore, we have been able to point out the differences in doing business in such a seasonal environment. Somehow, the “city folks” seem to think that the only things that matter are their traffic jams or educational challenges. I-70 is an annoyance, not a lifeblood. Snow equates to a playground, not a business environment.
We are now directly participating in the decisions at the Legislature. Through a staff that is paid for by donations from some of the corporate sponsors, we monitor all of the discussions taking place and have the ability to weigh in on each bill as it winds its way through the process. As a result, the business community in Vail is being kept up to date on issues that will directly affect us and has the ability to directly respond to legislative issues. In fact, Vail played a significant role in defeating changes to the Labor Peace act last year.
The current priorities for C3 are transportation, higher education, healthcare, protecting Colorado’s business climate and enhancing Colorado’s economic development opportunities. Anyone interested in e-mail updates, contact the chamber at info@ vailchamber.org and we’ll add you to the list. Then, you, too, can let your elected officials know how you stand on issues before they vote.
Now just a quick follow-up on the Eagle County Taxpayers for Common Sense.
A second meeting of this very motivated group was held on Feb 25. Penn Pfiffner spoke on the intricacies of TABOR. He is senior fellow at the Independence Institute, served as a Colorado State Representative for eight years, and has served six years as president of the Colorado Union of Taxpayers.
While tempers were significantly calmer than at the previous meeting, the motivation to address the recent increase in property valuations and taxes was still evident.
The direction of the group seems to be to “re-Bruce” the various taxing authorities in the county. First those groups must be identified. That in itself is a challenge, as there seems to be no “master list” readily available even to the assessor’s office.
Next is the process required. And there are two ways to do it “the hard way or the easy way.
Voters in any home-rule community need only to prepare a petition, collect signatures and present it for ballot inclusion. Better yet, home rule municipalities could volunteer to put the question on the ballot.
Where it gets tricky is with the other taxing authorities. Those must be convinced to put a question before the voters, something not too likely. The more obvious solution is to make sure as board seats change, candidates are thoroughly queried on this issue before being elected. There will be more, so stay tuned.
Oh, by the way, did you read Bill Husted’s slam at Vail’s heated streets? In Sunday’s Denver Post, Husted was commenting on the Vail Film Festival’s Blue Sky Tribute for environmental activism. He said “don’t expect his (the recipient) carbon foot print to be too big in Vail ” even though he’ll have to walk on those heated streets.” Like I always said, this is a ski resort. We’re supposed to have snow.
Do your part: call them and write them. To contact the Town Council, call 479-1860, ext. 8, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. To contact Vail Resorts, call 476-5601 or e-mail email@example.com. For past columns, go to vaildaily.com and click on “Commentary” or search for keyword “ferry.”
Kaye Ferry is a longtime observer of Vail government. She writes a biweekly column for the Daily.
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Are we seeing more bears because there are more bears on the valley floor, or because we’re all spending more time at home? It could be a bit of both.