Sporher sees changes ahead in Minturn | VailDaily.com

Sporher sees changes ahead in Minturn

Tamara Miller

The way Ron Sporher sees it, times are a-changing. It’s time Minturn did, too.

The town councilman said he hopes to help the town along the way by being re-elected to his seat on April 6.

Sporher, 50, is one of five candidates vying for three open seats on the council. The council seats are four-year terms. Earl Bidez and Hawkeye Flaherty are vying for the two-year mayor term.

A 20-year resident of Minturn, Sporher said he has watched the mining town weather the ups and downs of a resort economy. Art galleries and other businesses have opened and brought in sales tax, and the expansion of the popular Minturn Market into the winter months has been a boon for Minturn. But more needs to be done to ensure the town’s fiscal health, he said.

“The biggest issue is the economy,” he said. “You have a small community that is very supported by its taxes.”

The town of Minturn’s budget is about $1.2 million. Town officials have actively pursued, and received, grant money to repair its water system and restore the Eagle Riverbank.

Sporher said he supports the council’s efforts to open a recreational vehicle park to town. As proposed, the park would be built on town-owned land currently occupied by a gravel pit and a radio tower. Minturn needs more businesses to generate sales tax, Sporher said, and also needs more tourist traffic to support those businesses.

“I think you have to be willing to accept a little bit of change, but that’s not change similar to what Edwards has had,” Sporher said.

Despite the controversy surrounding the RV park -opponents fear such an operation will change the small-town character of Minturn – it’s simply the best idea that has come across the council’s table, he said.

Like many small towns across the country, some Minturn residents were used to the privileges of knowing town officials personally. In the past, that has lead to unfair enforcement of town building ordinances, Sporher said.

The Minturn of today follows the rules and some residents are finding that hard to handle, he said.

Nevertheless, it’s good town business to be fair, Sporher said. He believes voters will endorse his desire to be fair when they go to the polls next week.

“I think people like my willingness to listen to (residents),” he said. “I have the respect of a lot of the people in the community.”

Staff writer Tamara Miller can be reached via e-mail at: tmiller@vaildaily.com or by calling 949-0555 ext. 607.

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