Rec district must reach out to visitors
Name: Scott Proper
Occupation: loan officer and private banker at Millennium Bank in Edwards
In 200 words or less, why did you decide to run for the VRD board?
Vail’s economy relies on recreation. Because of this, I feel that the effective management of the town’s recreational resources is one of its most important challenges. I believe it is beneficial for us to constantly introduce locals and guests to the various activities we enjoy through proper oversight of Vail’s recreational facilities.
I believe I have some valuable qualities to offer. I have been involved with the town of Vail as a member of the Design Review Board and the Conference Center Committee. I have also been involved with the management of recreational resources through Yale’s Crew Association. As a banker, I make a living evaluating financial conditions and believe that my financial skills and guidance will help the VRD.
1) The rec district and Vail Town Council are sometimes at odds over goals and objectives. What should the rec district do to foster better relations with the town? What would you like to see the town council do?
It is unfortunate that the relationship between the VRD and the Vail Town Council can be characterized in this way. This infighting is distracting from our main goal, which is to make Vail the best. Effective communication is key and has been missing from the interactions between these two entities.
If elected, I will try to make sure the VRD board of directors and the Town Council are constantly in touch. I will use my familiarity and relationships with all current town councilmembers to help do this.
2) Should the recreation district remain an independent entity, or would it be better off as a town agency, as it was before 1993?
In effect, the VRD manages the town’s recreational assets. As such, it would seem appropriate that the VRD be subordinate to the town. However, this issue is irrelevant.
At present, the formal structure between the VRD and the town is much less important than the manner in which these two entities engage one another. I believe it is important that the VRD and the town of Vail remain separate taxing entities so decisions of balance in funding priorities go straight to the voters.
3) What are the recreation district’s top three priorities? Why?
The first priority is for the VRD to succeed in passing the tax increase that will be used to pay the debt on the renovations to Dobson Arena. The debt service on this bond currently comprises a leak in the VRD’s financial hull that must be plugged.
The second priority is to improve its relationship with the town. Vail is notorious for having many different groups that have similar goals, but do not work together. I believe improved relations and communication between the VRD and the town will help citizens and guests.
The third priority is to evaluate resources so the district can better understand where it should invest for the highest return. Financial responsibility must be a given; however, maximizing profit should not be the only goal. Return on investment for the VRD is not solely monetary, but is comprised of the many factors that benefit for our community.
4) Is the district on the right track financially? What changes would you recommend?
No. To have $3 million of debt invested in little more than leasehold improvements to Dobson Arena (the town owns the arena, not the district), is simply unacceptable. It is reflective of a general lack of financial responsibility present in government that I aim to remedy. Again, I encourage voters to pass the tax increase that will be earmarked to pay the Dobson debt.
5) How much more should district taxpayers be expected to pay for VRD services?
Given that VRD services vary so much, from a round of golf to a nature tour, I find this question hard to answer. It is better to keep in mind general principles of fairness regarding all the district’s constituents. Fairness should involve lower rates for locals, Eagle County residents and Vail’s second-home owners who live in Colorado.
6) How does the VRD fit in to the valley’s overall recreation scene? What changes would you like to see?
The recreational activities offered in Vail constitute the life blood of the valley. Vail is a powerhouse and the more it succeeds, the more the rest of the valley benefits. One important difference with recreation in the town is that Vail sells recreation, while public recreation downvalley seems to be provided for residents. These perspectives are very different. Our guests are the ones who primarily pay our bills. The VRD needs to start catering to guests in a way it has not been recently, because more guest spending in Vail is better for all of us.
I would like to see a lot of changes, but I understand it is important to start small while thinking big. To begin, I would like to see the VRD better publicize the services it offers. I believe this simple step would work wonders to increase the utilization of services.