Vail Town Council candidate profile: Kevin Foley is driven to serve the town
- Barry Davis
- Kevin Foley (incumbent)
- Kim Langmaid (incumbent)
- Jen Mason (incumbent)
- Karen Perez
- Pete Seibert
- Brian Stockmar
VAIL — For years now, Kevin Foley has often had a place on the Vail Town Council. He loves the work, and voters apparently agree.
Foley, who moved to the valley in 1979, is now in his third stint on the council. He was first elected in 1995 and served until 2001. He returned to the council in 2005 and served until 2013. He was re-elected to the board in 2015, and is seeking a second four-year term.
Between 2013 and 2015, Foley was elected to a four-year term on the Vail Recreation District Board of Directors.
Foley is proud of his time on the recreation district board. The district “does an awful lot for the community,” he said.
During his tenure on that board, the district oversaw the completion of the clubhouse at the Vail Golf Club and successfully asked voters for a mill levy increase in order to both maintain and upgrade its facilities.
Foley said the recreation district’s tax increase was necessary, but he isn’t a fan in general of asking voters for more money.
Foley doesn’t believe the town needs a new, or increased, tax to pay for a housing fund.
“If we allocated resources a little bit better, we could meet our housing needs,” he said. Specifically, Foley believes that the Vail Local Marketing District could use some of the district-specific lodging tax it collects. That tax is expected to raise nearly $3.6 million in 2020.
Foley said if the district would spend about $2 million per year on marketing, it could put about $1.5 million per year into the Bravo! Vail Music Festival, the Vail Dance Festival and other “iconic” town events. Those events are now supported through the town’s general fund.
Freeing up about $1.5 million per year would allow the town to put that money into a housing fund, he said.
Foley is also a less-than-full-throated supporter of the Chamonix neighborhood in West Vail and the town’s Vail InDeed program.
Chamonix, he said, is a “partial success” because it didn’t include lower-priced housing.
Vail InDeed “seems to be working,” he said. “But there’s still some question of whether it hurts our property tax valuation. But for a start, I think it’s pretty good.”
Foley said the town has the potential to “hit a home run” when it re-develops the west side of the Timber Ridge apartments with a combination of for-sale and rental housing. Foley believes that the valley’s bigger employers — Vail Resorts and Vail Health — should be up-front participants in that process. If each would buy a building, that would help with the costs.
The town also needs to be a partner in housing initiatives outside the town limits, Foley said.
More housing outside of town will require improvements to the area’s transit services. Foley is an enthusiastic user of both the town bus system and Eagle County’s ECO Transit, saying he drives only when it’s absolutely necessary.
Whether or not he’s re-elected, Foley said he’ll be a full participant in a process next year that will mirror the “Vail Tomorrow” effort of the 1990s.
Foley’s public service doesn’t end with town boards. He’s also been a volunteer basketball coach at Red Sandstone Elementary School and volunteers in the cafeteria one day a week.
Looking ahead, those are the people Foley believes the town should include in discussions today.
All that service stems from one overriding thought, Foley said.
“I’m fortunate to live here, and I love giving back to the community,” he said. “We do live in the nicest place in the world.”
Eagle County Schools added six mental health counselors and the district will add two more school resource officers, according to the school district’s 2019-2020 budget book. The district also aised starting pay and gave staffers a 2.3% cost-of-living raise.