Letters to the editor | VailDaily.com

Letters to the editor


Although I was unable to attend the Jan. 3 town of Vail community meeting, I want to thank the TOV council for their efforts. It is an impossible, thankless job attempting to be all things to all people!

If I had attended, I would have made the following comments:

1) Congratulate yourself on your successes. To mention only a few: the new bike path/road signage is great; holiday tree lighting is superb; snow removal remains excellent; the Police Department continues to support the TOV vision/mission; more open space converted to community parks.

2) Take responsibility for a lack of fiscal responsibility. Examples include the $250,000 design fees wasted on Donovan Park, sending a team to Europe to evaluate a kayak racing course through Vail, and the retail “consultants” brought in the summer of 2001 for “strategic planning.” (As a professional strategic planning consultant with 26 years of corporate experience, I feel qualified to critique the strategic planning consultants.)

I am especially critical of your unwillingness to address increased expenses with decreased revenues for most of last 10 years.

3) It is a mistake for the TOV council to interpret the vote against the tax increase ballot issue last year as a vote against new taxes. I voted against it, and many voters I talked to did the same, NOT because we are against taxes, but against the fiscal irresponsibility of TOV!

4) Vail has the appearance of being run as a “good old boy, good old girl” network. Clubby relationships may have worked 10-15 years ago, when resort-entertainment competition was limited and Vail was the “premier” resort, but the environment over the last few years and into the 21st century has changed dramatically.

The folks who say “there is nothing wrong with Vail” or “keep it the way it is” or “Copper Mountain is no threat” have their heads in the sand!

Vail appears to have been managed by the BIP process for many years -Budget, Implement, Panic. To have a viable future, Vail must be managed the way Jack Welch managed GE, the way Rudolph Guliani managed New York, the way the Dupont Company was managed during my 18 years there, the way the Town Council manages the beach resort town of Bethany Beach, Delaware (where I am a second-home owner) – PBIA for Plan, Budget, Implement, Adjust!

All successful organizations – public, private, profit, non-profit, government – use a version of this process. Here is a quote from the Bethany Beach Town Council News November 2002: “The primary mission for this committee is to identify all revenues and expenditures for the next fiscal year, and to review, evaluate and prioritize them to produce a balanced budget. Generally, this process attempts to be conservative when estimating revenues as not to be overly optimistic, while at the same time, projecting expenditures as realistically as possible.”

This is responsible fiscal management. The TOV council must make this process core to its operations or Vail will continue to respond with “crisis management.”

If TOV doesn’t know how PBIA works, there are dozens of books describing the process.

When Vail demonstrates a solid fiscal management process, I will vote for and actively support appropriate tax increases.

Again, thank you TOV council for all your efforts and contributions. It is impossible to be all things to all people.

This constructive critique is meant to help you focus on a successful future for the town of Vail, its citizens, its employees and its visitors!

Skip Ulmer

West Vail

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