Vail Daily columnist Richard Carnes: Long-term investment worth twice the price |

Vail Daily columnist Richard Carnes: Long-term investment worth twice the price

Imagine taking $200 a day, every single day, and putting it under a mattress for a few months.

Your first thought would probably be “I’m going to need a bigger mattress.” But then, like most of us, your second thought would be, “Where in the hell am I going to get $200 bucks every friggin’ day just to stuff in an (obviously) unused mattress?”

But that not the point here.

The point is (don’t forget this is your imagination) after a good deal of time, oh, let’s say 50 years or so, you would have accumulated enough cold cash to blow yourself the biggest damn party this side of Tripoli (at least compared to the Libyan capital last week) for having achieved such a major goal of saving $200 a day for half a century.

In fact, you would now have around $3.7 million in greenbacks, and that just happens to be the “give-or-take-a-few-hundred-k” budget total for Vail’s proposed 50th anniversary celebrations.

But before you start throwing tea bags at town headquarters or attempting to organize an “Occupy Bridge Street” movement, realize that this is only a proposed budget for the 7-month-long celebration, and nothing at all is set in stone.

Of course, nothing involving the town of Vail is ever set in (or actually made of) stone. Who can ever forget the $750,000 Jesus Rock (last name: Morales) which sat passively at the top of Bridge Street at Seibert Circle for a few years, or the fake rock debacle at the main roundabout in the late ’80s (if I remember correctly).

Anyway, reality would probably command a paltry 3 percent annual interest rate if the $200 were deposited daily into a bank instead of a mattress, and in using this Wall Street-inspired financial tactic the numbers drop dramatically, down to a mere $85 per day to reach the grand sum.

But now here is the kicker that many do not seem to realize: The total request for actual town tax dollars from the $3.7 million proposal was only $500,000, and the council approved only half ($250,000) a few weeks ago. Not a single penny of tax dollars has been spent yet, and there is no guarantee that any ever will be.

But it should.

By Dec. 15, 2012, Vail will officially have been in existence for 18,250 days (not the town, but the ski area) and in that time transformed itself from former sheep pastures to a world-class year-round ski resort worthy of presidents, world leaders of all stripes, lift ops and bartenders who wanted to serve the superficial elite while living their own wonderful life without having to be superficial.

While the whole thing is not so much a celebration of the previous 50 years as it is a marketing opportunity for the next 50, the town, the resort company and most importantly, the people, owe it to themselves to celebrate the milestone and recognize all those who have made Vail what it is today. From those who first created it to the rest of us who are constantly refining it around the ever-thinning edges, a reasonable patting of each other on the back is not just expected, but deserved.

With only a little more than 6 percent of the entire budget proposed to be paid with public funds, and since we all paid into those public funds over the years and have reaped untold benefits, at about $6 per day for the last 50 years, it’s a bargain.

Let the planning begin!

Richard Carnes of Edwards writes weekly. He can be reached at

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