Rogers ‘deeply committed to Vail’
Vail, CO Colorado
VAIL, Colorado – After years as a lawyer, Vail Town Council incumbent Margaret Rogers’ keen eye for detail is one of several reasons she thinks she is qualified for another term on the council.
Rogers, 64, is running for re-election because she thinks there’s more to accomplish as a Town Council member. She’s happy to say that she has accomplished most of the goals she set out to accomplish during her first term, but she feels she has more work to do.
Rogers has served on the Town Council for the past four years, through the toughest financial times the town has faced in years, if not ever. She remembers running for council in 2007, when the hottest topic during the campaign was development. It’s amazing how quickly priorities can change, she said.
“What a difference a recession makes because we had to switch our attention very dramatically to fiscal management to make sure that we were able to weather that storm financially,” Rogers said. “And to figure out how we could maintain the services we need to maintain to keep the guests coming here so we could stay No. 1.”
Rogers is proud of the town’s conservative fiscal management throughout the past several years. She said the town is in a great position financially but that you “always have to keep on your toes.”
The town cut $2.4 million out of the budget when the financial crisis hit. There were hiring freezes and other cuts, most of which remain in place today.
“We addressed the budget head-on,” she said. “… We’re at a point in Vail now, having weathered the recession, that I’m very excited about (in terms of) where the town is going to go forward from here, and I want to be a part of that.”
While Rogers said she supports increasing the Commission on Special Events’ budget, she wants to know what the town’s return on investment is going to be for every dollar it is asked to contribute. If she sees a strong return, she’s willing to spend what’s necessary.
“Unlike many communities, the majority of our revenue comes from sales tax,” she said. “Here, you only get revenue when people are in town. The things that bring people to town are the special events and the iconic institutions. … As our calendar is getting more crowded, it’s up to the CSE to be more selective to make sure events they’re supporting have a positive return on investment.”
Rogers has called Vail home full time for 14 years. When she first ran for council four years ago, she did it because she felt it was time to give back to the community, but more importantly, she said she did it because she was afraid the council was losing all of its members with a strong business background – Rod Slifer, Kent Logan and Greg Moffet.
She feels she filled a void when those members left the council by bringing in her background as a litigator. As a lawyer, she said she has been trained to look at both sides of an issue and to analyze that issue.
“You have to anticipate where the problems are going to come up,” Rogers said.
She has done just that throughout Vail Resorts’ Ever Vail application, questioning everything from parking to retail cannibalization. She acknowledges the process has probably taken too long, but she also said the lack of a real deadline – Vail Resorts has said it doesn’t intend to start building until the market turns around – has taken away the pressure to hurry up.
“I think all development should be a win-win for the town and the developer,” Rogers said.
Rogers has learned a lot in the past four years about Vail, and she doesn’t want that institutional knowledge to go to waste. The learning curve for new council members is huge, she said.
She thinks the work that needs to be done in relation to the economy – and, specifically, the ongoing development of a strong year-round economy in Vail – needs to be backed by experience.
She supports new ideas to create that year-round vitality, one of which is the development of health- and wellness-related economic engines in Vail. She said the potential public-private partnership between the Vail Valley Medical Center, the Steadman Clinic, Steadman Philippon Research Institute and the town of Vail is an opportunity that could make a big difference.
“You have these geniuses who are developing state-of-the-art medical technology for orthopedics,” Rogers said. “I think there’s a great opportunity there to elevate our status as a world-class medical research area by working with the (Steadman Philippon) Research Institute.”
She also isn’t finished with the Timber Ridge redevelopment, something she intended to make better progress on in her first term.
“Timber Ridge is the one thing I feel badly about,” she said. “We need to figure out how this is going to get financed.”
Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or lglendenning@