Vail Town Council gives 2019 budget first approval, rejects ski club request | VailDaily.com

Vail Town Council gives 2019 budget first approval, rejects ski club request

The Vail Town Council on Tuesday, Nov. 20, agreed to contribute $55,000 to the Vail Valley Foundation's purchase of a large video screen for the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater. The contribution is part of the town's $39.1 general fund spending for 2019.
John-Ryan Lockman, courtesy of Vail Valley Foundation

By the numbers

2 percent: Projected growth in Vail’s 2019 general fund revenue.

5: Added full-time employees in 2019.

$2.5 million: 2019 funding for the Vail InDeed program.

$39.1 million: 2019 general fund spending.

Source: Town of Vail

VAIL — Even with an eight-figure budget, the town of Vail’s resources aren’t endless. That means some requests are turned down.

The Vail Town Council on Tuesday, Nov. 20, unanimously passed on first reading the town’s annual budget ordinance. The town will collect and spend millions in 2019, but a number of requests were denied, including one from Ski & Snowboard Club Vail.

The club had requested $500,000 from the town as part of a capital campaign to fund a $5 million facility expansion.

At the Tuesday meeting of the Vail Town Council, John Keane, chairman of the Ski & Snowboard Club Vail Board of Directors gave, a presentation requesting the money.

The proposed expansion would extend training runs uphill from the current club area at Golden Peak and add facilities to make the area more race-ready.

Keane said the expansion could again make Vail Mountain suitable for international competition, and could potentially be a part of Colorado’s bid for the 2030 Winter Olympics.

Keane added the club has already secured about $4 million for the project.

The town’s contribution would contribute to the local economy during slow times during November, Keane said.

The request was supported by longtime resident Tom Talbot.

Those who come to Golden Peak for training “are the next generation of people who come (to Vail) on vacation,” Talbot said.

Council member Kim Langmaid noted that the town already spends hundreds of thousands on town events. The Golden Peak expansion would expand the season there, as well as the types of racing available, she said.

“I’ve seen what (the club) has done for kids in this community,” she said.

Objections

But resident and former Town Council member Dick Cleveland objected to the request. Noting that his comments weren’t intended to “denigrate” the club, Cleveland said his objection is the use of taxpayer funds for the project.

Cleveland noted the town wouldn’t own, or have any control, over the Golden Peak facilities. The Golden Peak expansion is also outside the town’s boundaries, he added.

Council member Jenn Bruno said the club is a “fantastic asset” for the community. But, she said, the town doesn’t fund capital projects it doesn’t control.

And, she added, the town has different priorities.

“The public in June said their priorities are housing, parking and fiscal responsibility,” Bruno said.

Ultimately, only Langmaid and council member Kevin Foley supported the request, with members Travis Coggin, Gregg Moffet, Bruno, Jen Mason and Mayor Dave Chapin opposed.

Council members took a different position on a request from the Vail Valley Foundation. That request was for a $110,000 contribution to the video screen installed last summer at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater. Foundation officials came to the council last year with the request, and were asked to come back during the town’s regular budget-drafting cycle.

The amphitheater is owned by the town, although it’s operated by the foundation. Council members praised the addition of the screens during last summer’s performance season, and eventually agreed to contribute $55,000 to the project.

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at smiller@vaildaily.com and 970-748-2930.