Vail Town Council candidate Scott McBride in his own words

Candidate wants to meet the needs of Vail’s constituents and visitors

The Vail Daily is running Q&A’s 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 who receive the highest number of votes will serve four-year terms, and the candidate who receives the fourth-most votes will serve a two-year term.

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

Scott McBride is one of 10 candidates running for Vail Town Council in the November 2023 election.
Courtesy Photo

Name: Scott McBride
Occupation: Lawyer, father of two high school boys
Neighborhood you live in: East Vail
Length of residence in Eagle County and Vail: 18 years part-time in Eagle County; four years full-time in Vail

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 on a 600-owner HOA Board (with a $10 million budget) in Beaver Creek for 12 years. My HOA Board service taught me diplomacy, the importance of compromise and navigating the biases (intentional or not) of fellow decision-makers. On my HOA Board, we had two major disputes/negotiations with Vail Resorts. We carefully chose where to negotiate.

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I have volunteered as a baseball coach for 11 years and for Ski Club Vail and Birds of Prey races. Coaching taught me the importance of helping the next generation to be well-rounded humans.

Why did you decide to run for Town Council?
I’m running for Town Council because I want a representative government that spends within its means to, first, meet the needs of constituents (individuals and businesses), and second, to continue to draw visitors to our world-class resort community.

My HOA Board experience is well suited for this, including the fact that our HOA had two entities some owners viewed as “villains” — our management company and Vail Resorts — and we needed to maintain strong, working relationships with both.

What are the top three things you’d seek to accomplish during your term if elected?
Things I’d like to accomplish during an elected term include (1) improving the town’s relationship with Vail Resorts, (2) maximizing the benefits of the Dowd Junction and the West Middle Creek project (including child care), and (3) developing a more concrete vision for the Civic Center (including Dobson Ice Arena and Vail Public Library).

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?

For existing projects, the top priorities should be to (1) return Dobson to a community and event space, (2) follow through on Timber Ridge (and net-zero town cost), West Middle Creek and Dowd Junction projects, and (3) relocate the Children’s Garden of Learning.

Vail can be friendly to all families, especially those with young children. Public-private partnerships for workforce housing are needed, but all cannot fit within Vail. And as a world-class town, Vail should have an up-to-date event space, which can build community and bring in revenue.

What additional sources of revenue do you think the town should consider and why?
Every effort should be made to meet current priorities without raising taxes.

Nevertheless, the town should consider raising the lift tax. The current tax, adopted in 1992, reflected the then-existing practice of Vail Associates (to pay double the then-2% tax — passed in 1966 — to help fund Vail transportation). The Epic Pass (2008) impacts how the lift tax is calculated. Thus, current lift tax revenues do not necessarily reflect the intention. One benefit of considering an increase in this tax is potential leverage with Vail Resorts (think public-private partnerships to fund deed-restricted, workforce housing).

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?
To repair the relationship between the Town Council and Vail Resorts, I would have face-to-face meetings with officers/executives at Vail Resorts to “restart” a productive and cooperative relationship.

Impersonal communications (email, lawyer letter) too easily strain relationships. Vail Ski Resort (operated by Vail Resorts) is a key driver of much of the town’s revenue.

We should analyze common goals over the short- and long-term, working cooperatively with Vail Resorts. In the dispute resolution business, trial is the punishment for unreasonable business people. Regarding Booth Heights, Judge Dunkelman concluded that a “failure [of leadership] on the part of [both] the Town [of Vail] and Vail Resorts” forced the court to resolve the dispute. Perhaps the parties could settle the Booth Heights dispute without appeals, including resolving awardable legal fees.

Outside of affordable housing, what other workforce issues do you think the town needs to address and how do you propose it does so?
Aside from affordable housing, the town should address workforce issues by expediting the West Middle Creek project and permanently relocating the Children’s Garden of Learning. These would make it easier for some of our younger workforce to raise a family while living or working in Vail. It can also spend funds on workforce recruitment (think incentives; the other side of the visitor equation).

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