Vail candidate profile: Kundolf feels ready for next step
Vail, CO Colorado
VAIL, Colorado – With time spent on Vail’s Commission on Special Events and Vail Economic Advisory Council, Rayla Kundolf feels she’s ready for the next step.
Kundolf is running for the Vail Town Council because she thinks she can bring a fresh perspective to the town government. She feels there are a lot of voices on the council now with not much happening.
Kundolf see four components to the town of Vail’s success: Guests, the community, second-home owners and seasonal workers.
She’s also focused on events that bring people to town. She said the town’s events “layer Vail.”
“We’ve built a reputation as having some great events,” Kundolf said. “A great job in layering that we’re not just a ski town. … The town has done a great job in making it a marketable place.”
Kundolf said events are responsible for the record sales tax numbers in July and near-record numbers in August this past summer. She says the only dead month in town anymore is May, which is a time when she sees opportunity for even more events.
The Commission on Special Events budget has been flat for three years, and Kundolf said funding should be increased because there’s a big return on investment to the town in sales and lodging tax revenues.
She thinks the 2015 World Alpine Ski Championships and Vail’s 50th anniversary in December 2012 are events that also need to be sophisticated and done right.
Kundolf said all the economic engines are going in Vail. The upcoming season will largely depend on snow, though, she said.
Vail’s economy is something Kundolf is paying attention to. As an art gallery director in town, she knows about the spending habits of Vail’s guests and how those habits have changed over the years.
“(The town) has done everything right with the economy,” she said. “I think the town staff and (Town Manager Stan Zemler) have done an incredible job with our budget.”
That being said, there’s more work to be done in order to make Vail’s economy sustainable year-round. The events are going to be the driver, she said, especially if already successful events like Bravo and the Vail International Dance Festival can expand and become year-round, too.
One thing she thinks the town could do more of is hosting public dialogue with the community. She wants to see more informal meetings that invite people in to share their opinions and bring more transparency to the town process.
If elected, Kundolf feels she could help the council accomplish this.
“You have to participate for change,” Kundolf said.
Kundolf sees opportunities for more open communication with the Ever Vail application, for example. She has some questions of her own about the project, specifically related to the size and scale and the retail space. She also wants to make sure Ever Vail doesn’t become an exclusive part of town.
Timber Ridge, the town’s other major pending redevelopment, “has to be done,” Kundolf said. She said that quality employee housing could help attract quality seasonal workers. The current condition of Timber Ridge makes it look like the town doesn’t value its workers, she said.
Kundolf, if elected, said she would be able to “call it like it is” as a council member. She has been interested in running for council for a long time, and feels she’d be good at other town boards, such as the Vail Local Marketing District Advisory Council, if this election doesn’t work out.
“I’m a positive person,” she said.
Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or email@example.com.