Vail Town Council candidate Christine Santucci in her own words

Candidate wants to prioritize affordable housing, increasing quality of life and making Vail inclusive

The Vail Daily is running Q&As with the 10 candidates running for four open seats on the Vail Town Council. The questionnaires will run in the order that the candidates appear on the ballot, which town staff selected via a blind drawing on Sept. 5.

The Town Council election is a nonpartisan race and will be conducted as part of the Tuesday, Nov. 7, coordinated election in Eagle County. Voters within the town of Vail will be able to select up to four candidates. The three candidates that receive the highest number of votes will serve four-year terms, and the candidate that receives the fourth-most votes will serve a two-year term.

Ballots will be mailed out on Oct. 16.   For more information on the Eagle County Coordinated Election — including how and where to vote —visit EagleCounty/US/CoordinatedElection.

Name: Christine Santucci
Occupation: Hiring manager at Vail Ski & Ride School
Neighborhood you live in: Buffehr Creek Road/The Valley
Length of residence in Eagle County and Vail: 23 years as owner, 5 years as primary residence

Have you served on any other boards/commissions/councils in Eagle County or otherwise? Tell us about your volunteer experiences, involvement and service to the community that you live. How will these experiences enable you to bring value to the board?
I served five years on the Lower Downtown Design Review Board, 11 years as a board member for the Lower Downtown Neighborhood Association, four years on the Palace Loft Homeowners Association Board (two of which were as President) and I co-founded LoDo Women, a women’s networking organization.

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Why did you decide to run for Town Council?
I have always been passionate about serving my community and have exemplified that through my participation on boards and volunteer efforts. 

I want to apply my 25 years as a Municipal Finance Professional to a position on the Town Council. I spent many years working with investors and municipalities across the country on a variety of financings including affordable housing, water and sewer, and school construction to name a few.  I have a thorough understanding of finance structures and potential challenges that could arise while endeavoring to access capital. This knowledge could be invaluable to the community as we look towards the future and how we finance new projects. 

Additionally, I would like to hear from and represent our community as a whole.  We do not all share the same opinions and vision for our future and I’d like to be open and inclusive in how we move forward.

What are the top three things you’d seek to accomplish during your term if elected?
If I am elected I will consider all options available for affordable housing for our residents.

In tandem, I will consider the resources and amenities in our community and how they could grow in alignment with our current community to provide the needs for the highest quality of life for Vail Valley residents.

I would also like to incorporate inclusivity in both of the aforementioned efforts through recognition of our diversity, consideration of events we support and the cultural enrichment we provide.  

The town currently has more projects in the pipeline (bringing housing to West Middle Creek, Dowd Junction and other sites to revamping its municipal building and civic area, relocating the Children’s Garden of Learning, and other redevelopments) than revenue to pay for these projects.

What do you feel should be the town’s top three priorities and why?
I believe our top three priorities should include affordable housing and child care, and West Middle Creek has the potential to address both. 

The continued shift to short-term rentals in the area has made it increasingly difficult for our workforce to secure housing. Maintaining a focus on accessible housing should continue to be our top priority. 

Coupled with that, our day care needs will only grow and to support the diversity in our community we should create an opportunity for the permanence of a location for the Children’s Garden of Learning. I also believe that a continued effort to move forward on the West Vail Master Plan would bring much-needed resources, vitality and opportunity to the community.  

What additional sources of revenue do you think the town should consider and why?
I believe considering a review of the lift tax and occupancy taxes are potential sources of increases in revenue. Additionally, the cost for short-term rental permits should be reviewed as a possible opportunity for revenue growth in what we are charging what are essentially short-term rental businesses.

The town has been in the midst of the condemnation proceedings with Vail Resorts over Booth Heights as Election Day approaches. How do you feel the town should move forward in repairing the relationship now that the town council voted to acquire the site?
Rebuilding our relationship with Vail Resorts will involve speaking the same language to enable us to work together. We need to understand each other’s objectives and work through challenges to come to a resolution that is best for our community. Name-calling doesn’t have a place in our relationship with Vail Resorts or any of our business partners in the community.

As I managed relationships with many Fortune 500 companies through the financial collapse as well as other challenging times throughout my career, I would say that diplomacy, fact-driven decisions, collaboration and a thick skin are key components to rebuilding our relationship.

Outside of affordable housing, what other workforce issues do you think the town needs to address and how do you propose it does so?
We should continue to address transportation needs such as increased bus service into Vail and considerations on how to improve our overflow parking. Additionally, I would pursue ways to keep our community’s shared amenities accessible and available for our residents, particularly during peak tourist times.  

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