Vail Daily column: A new day or the old ways?
Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from the Vail Homeowners Association newsletter. The association keeps a close eye on economic and political trends in and outside of the Vail community.
The outcome of the 2015 Town Council election affirms the Vail Homeowners Association’s perspective that there is a desire in the community for a new generation of town of Vail leaders. There is now a four-vote majority of the new generation. This new majority affirms a higher probability that more non-tenured candidates will seek to join the council in the 2017 election.
The prospect is enhanced for acceleration of a more inclusive collaboration among permanent and part-time residents in the affairs of the town of Vail. A key indicator will be if the incoming council takes steps to increase opportunities to mentor the entire community in its governing processes and expands voter participation through mail balloting accompanied by a longer period for campaigning. Voter participation rates in this election remained low at around 21 percent with voter registrations having decreased by nearly 250 (4,012) since the 2013 election.
Affordable housing and parking remain the dominant issues; the Gore Creek cleanup is lurking in the background. Currently, the town of Vail is in a financially advantageous position. To invest in solutions, to do them the right way, to get to the next level, will require more money than what is in the town’s reserve funds. To get the necessary funding to take the next step up, the town is going to have to convince the voters. They are going to have to aggressively sell the propositions. There is a case to be made that now is the time to take up that task. The question awaits an answer from the newly elected council.
The town of Vail, in recent years, has pieced together funding sources for affordable housing, enough to show that it is being responsive, but not enough to get ahead of the challenge. Likewise, for centralized, structured public parking.
Public officials have few inexpensive solutions that match the scale of the affordable housing and parking challenges, as a mounting volume of feasibility studies attests. The best that can be managed, without going to the voters, are solutions that don’t come near matching the demand.