Minturn board wants more respect from county |

Minturn board wants more respect from county

Dustin Racioppi
Minturn, CO Colorado

MINTURN, Colorado ” When the Minturn, Colorado Town Council met with the Eagle County Commissioners Wednesday, it wanted to make clear to the commissioners how important Minturn really is to the county.

After an informal meet-and-greet discussion on issues and vision for the county, the meeting took a more serious tone when Councilman Jerry Bumgarner asked the commissioners to adopt a mindset that Minturn’s leaders know what they’re doing and to support the town’s decision making.

He said he perceived that Commissioner Peter Runyon lacked faith in the council during the Ginn annexation process, and overall, Minturn is often overlooked.

“We’re the step-children,” Bumgarner said. “I want you to adopt the thought that what is good for Minturn is good for the county. What’s good for the county isn’t necessarily good for Minturn.”

Runyon defended his position during the Ginn process and apologized for the misconception that the Town Council didn’t have the experience to make the right decision.

“I do not like the way the pattern of growth and development has happened in the county,” Runyon said, adding that decades ago, deals were made that gave all the good land to the wealthy and it hurt the locals. “We’ve got to take care of the communities involved. We don’t want to sell Manhattan for $24.”

Councilwoman Shelley Bellm sided with Bumgarner, saying that historically Minturn has been viewed as a small-minded town and isn’t taken into consideration when the county makes decisions that affect it.

“You can’t keep forgetting about Minturn,” she said. “We’re still here. People do still live here.”

To back up her argument, Bellm said the recent cut to one of the town’s ECO bus stops is going to hurt the locals and skiers.

“We pay taxes. We’ve done all you’ve asked of us and we’re not getting the services,” she said.

Commissioner Sara Fisher said a decline in sales tax ” 24 percent ” forced the county to make the bus service cut.

“That’s a huge hit,” she said. “We didn’t want to reduce service. We had to take a look at where we’d get the greatest bang for out buck.”

Fisher added that while Minturn may not have gotten its deserved credit in the past, that’s not the case anymore and the county wants to work closer with the town and Town Council.

“For me personally, I can assure you that Minturn is an important part of the county,” she said.

Although that issue was only part of the night’s discussions, Councilman Matt Scherr put everything into perspective and said he was hopeful that there would be more opportunities for the county and Minturn to work together and share ideas “-despite political winds, he said.

“There’s always going to be something, like a Ginn, where people grab their blunt instruments,” Scherr said.

After the council’s somewhat harsh criticism Wednesday night, both sides seemed to come away with a better understanding of each other’s positions and vowed to work together more.

“We are all in this together,” Fisher said. “If we are dialoguing and having conversations, then either way it’s a win-win.”

Staff Writer Dustin Racioppi can be reached at 970-748-2936 or

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