Vail Town Council Candidate: Scott Proper
I am running for council because I want to play a more significant role in preserving the best parts of Vail while at the same time positioning it for future success.
Vail is uniquely both a resort destination and a community. For that reason, it is increasingly important to have a strong council that can keep our many needs and priorities in balance so that Vail will remain a place that people love to visit, as well as a place where people can successfully work and families can live.
The biggest issues facing Vail right now are housing, development, parking and growth; these were identified as main priorities in the 2007 community survey. Other priority issues are the state of our recreational facilities, ongoing maintenance of our town’s infrastructure, fire risk and pine beetle infestation.
Ultimately, my wife and I share the same desire as our friends, neighbors and colleagues to be able to continue to live here and prosper. That general theme will be a guide for me as various issues arise on council.
The current council has been impressive in its coordination of the construction projects we have seen throughout Vail’s revitalization efforts. In the midst of all the upgrades to our town, traffic flow, access, and other associated construction issues have been generally well choreographed and managed.
Participate in The Longevity Project
The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.
Amazingly, in spite of all of this disruption, Vail’s sales tax revenues actually increased in the construction areas. We are, however, faced with new, more complex challenges each day. For example, the capital budget shortfall must be addressed, but I’m not convinced that the proposed construction use tax is the best answer.
A five-acre parcel of land within walking distance to the gondola could be much better utilized than to serve solely as an outdated parking structure. However, there are a number of challenges with the current proposal, not the least of which is Vail Resorts’ deed restriction on the property.
Furthermore, the loss of the existing parking spaces during the redevelopment is something that will need to be mitigated. As a councilor, I will focus on reaching productive solutions, in a similar manner to what I have done at the Vail Recreation District for the past 3 1/2 years.
Vail is already “riding the wave of redevelopment” and will continue to do so until at least current projects are completed. While development can be disruptive, it is essential in order for Vail to ensure its continued success as a world-class resort community in an increasingly competitive international industry.
The challenge is to keep our other needs and priorities moving along in balance with the various construction projects. We need to deliver the finest product possible to both locals and to guests, and better infrastructure, public and private buildings, roads, and other amenities are all key components of this effort.
Government can act as a catalyst to help employers procure superb labor resources. We can be supportive of businesses that are attempting to address the housing needs of their employees.
We can influence the mix of housing products built in Vail as well as throughout the county so that locals are able to own property and prosper economically within our greater community.
Directly taxing a specific segment of Vail’s economy to subsidize an employee’s desire to live in or own property in Vail or an employer’s desire to procure less expensive labor is not the role of government.
Environmental stewardship in Vail is destined to become a greater issue, especially as pushes for greener, more environmentally responsible projects conflict with the level of luxury Vail is known for.
My focus will be on supporting projects that have a real impact on Vail’s environmental footprint, rather than superficial reforms that bolster the image of environmentalism. Specific fundamental problems for Vail in this area are its heated streets and its primarily vacant homes.
We need to address these and similar issues before someone else points out the hypocrisy to us and we are unprepared to respond.
I do not support the construction tax; I consider it opportunistic and unfair.
Construction companies, developers, and second-home owners are not responsible for the deficit. We constituents are responsible for it. Construction is an easy answer for us to exploit because of the substantial profits development has enjoyed recently.
We might be failing to realize, however, the substantial risks involved for a developer, and jealously seek to hijack a portion of what we perceive to be excess and easy profit. The capital deficit is our issue as a community. I would propose a more equitably distributed funding source, such as a property tax.
Q: Why should you be elected to Vail’s town council?
A: Thanks to my career, I have an extensive understanding of financial tools, analysis, and planning. This is unique among the candidates. Both my professional work and civic volunteerism have provided me with exposure to greater issues in our town.
At the Vail Recreation District (VRD) specifically, where I have been a board member since 2004, results speak best. When I was elected, the VRD had financial problems, basically no relationship with the town, and some constituents calling for it to be dissolved.
Now, the VRD is in better financial circumstances, has a good relationship with the town, positive public awareness, excellent customer service results, and a bold vision for the future