Former mayor Buz Reynolds touts experience
Vail, CO Colorado
AVON, Colorado ” Buz Reynolds Jr. has public service in his blood.
“I’ve always believed you can’t complain about a problem unless you plan on being part of a solution,” Reynolds says.
That’s why twenty-five years ago, the longtime veteran of local politics first joined the Planning and Zoning Commission in Avon, where he served for 13 years. Then it was eight years on the Avon Town Council ” two of those as mayor ” followed by an unsuccessful run for county commissioner in 2004.
Now, as Avon heads into a major renewal of its downtown, Reynolds says his experience and institutional knowledge will help Avon develop responsibly and wants to hop back on the council.
“I feel this is something more people should do. Every two years, I’d love to see more people running for council,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds moved to Eagle County in 1975 from New York, having fallen in love with Vail on a ski trip in 1968 as a teenager. He brought his family along, including his father, Buz Reynolds Sr., a policeman who got a job with the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office. Reynolds Sr., like his son, also served as Avon’s mayor in the 1990s.
Reynolds got a job as a carpenter, worked on the ski patrol, and later started his own construction company, which specialized in house framing. He’s now married with two children, and runs The Reynolds Corporation, a general contracting company, with his son, Sean.
Avon was in its infancy when Reynolds first joined the Planning and Zoning Commission.
“We were struggling to try and get people to Avon and build,” Reynolds said. “Lots were cheap, and construction costs were cheap. Now, everything’s expensive.”
During his time on the Planning and Zoning Commission and Town Council, Reynolds saw the town as we know it today built up before his eyes. One of the biggest decisions the council had to make was annexing the Village at Avon, which was a long, difficult process, he said.
“It made sense geographically. We thought it would be better if it was all one community, instead of it being unincorporated. A lot of our business would be drawn to the village,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds was also on the council when Avon first approved its roundabouts on Avon Road. He voted against them at the time, but only because he didn’t think there were adequate pedestrian crossings at the roundabouts. As far as traffic goes, he likes the roundabouts, but still thinks crossing them on foot is treacherous.
Reynolds ran for county commissioner in 2004 as an independent, which was an eye-opening experience. He feels that election, unfortunately, like many local elections, was too swiftly divided by the battle between Democrats and Republicans.
“I was pretty overwhelmed by partisan government,” Reynolds said. “I feel that partisan government worked well for a certain time in U.S. history, but now it needs to be overhauled a bit.”
Reynolds’ main goal on the Town Council this time around would be to make sure Avon can afford all the improvements it’s promising as part of its urban renewal plan.
While the town has created an Urban Renewal Authority and will use tax increment financing to build the new downtown, having enough money won’t be a certainty, he said.
“What happens when this authority doesn’t come up with enough money, i.e., we’re hit with a weak economy?” Reynolds said. “My job is to make sure we can do everything we can afford to do.”
1. What is Avon’s biggest challenge right now, and how should the town council deal with it?
The budget is the biggest issue the Town Council will have to deal with. Tourism is the lifeblood of not only the town but Eagle County. With a slowing economy we may see less sales tax dollars than what is projected. We should be careful as we go forward not to get too far ahead with town projects until we see where this economy takes us.
2. Avon’s new Main Street has been on the drawing board for years ” now it’s actually happening. How can the council ensure that redevelopment of this area goes smoothly and downtown Avon is a success?
The Main Street project has been one of the town’s future projects for almost 20 years. The problem was how to pay for it.
The current council has come up with an Urban Renewal Authority to pay for this project. This project should go smoothly if the economy stays strong and the revenues projected are sufficient to support this project. But if the economy does falter and we see less revenues than what is projected, then I need to know where would the funds come from to pay for the improvements.
3. How would you describe the town’s relationship with developer Traer Creek over the past couple years? How can that relationship improve?
As I see it, the relationship between Traer Creek and the current Town Council is combative. Traer Creek represents almost 50 percent of the area of the town of Avon. They are part of our community and in the future will be a very large source of the town’s sales tax revenue.
The developers of Traer Creek are not going away. Communication with any relationship is the best way to move forward. It is time to keep the communication open so we can move forward with this developer.
4. Avon has taken-on several “green” initiatives in the past year, such as buying wind power and developing a snowmelt system for Main Street using excess heat from the wastewater treatment plant. Should the town continue pursuing projects like these? What’s your philosophy on how the town should approach environmental stewardship?
America as a whole uses way too much energy. Anything the town can do to save energy saves us money.
Using the energy to heat a road, I don’t think is the best use of the energy. I think it would be a better use of the energy to heat the town hall and also save the expense of installing a heat melt system in the new Main Street. We ” not only as a town but as a country ” have to think wisely about how efficiently we use the energy we have available.
5. A new master plan is being developed for Nottingham Park. What improvements are top priority for you?
I have not seen the new master plan for Nottingham park. The budget is still my top priority. I would like to see how much these improvements will cost and I would like to see how it will benefit our community as a whole.
6. What can the council do to keep working-class families in Avon?
The cost to build or buy in the town has gotten to the point most locals cannot afford. The town can start by stopping any additional fees or taxes to construction costs.
The cost of construction materials has tripled over the last 10 to 15 years. The soft cost associated with construction ” i.e. building permits, tap fees, impact fees ” have gone up 10 times in the same time period. These costs do nothing but increase the cost of our real estate.
Also the town is lacking in businesses that make a town a community ” movie theaters, bowling alleys, churches and more restaurants. We have to try to lure businesses to our community so we can increase our sales tax revenues and create more desire for people not only to stay here but to come back.
7. What more can Avon do to take advantage of its place at the base of Beaver Creek and provide a great experience for tourists?
The connection of Avon to Beaver Creek by way of the gondola is a great asset to our community. We need to have more then just this gondola to have a good relationship with our neighbors.
Lets face it. One of the main reasons Avon has developed is because of the Beaver Creek ski area. Transportation to and from this area is important for both our economies. We have to improve our relationship with our neighbors and improve the way we interconnect.
8. Why should Avon residents vote for you?
I have spent most of my adult life in this community. I built one of the first homes in this town. I raised my family here. I spent 21 years working for Avon town government to try to help with its development. This is my home and I am very proud of it.
I have no personal agenda when it comes to the town development and want to do only what is the best for the community as a whole. My main objective is to make sure we go forward with improvements to our community without increasing property taxes or increasing sales tax rates. Outside of these reasons, this is the best place to live in the country and I want it to stay that way.
Staff Writer Matt Terrell can be reached at 970-748-2955 or firstname.lastname@example.org.