Vail Valley Voices: Meeting in circles
May 5, 2011
Eagle is a small town by many people’s standards. And although I was born and raised in New London, Mo., population 1,100, I sometimes am surprised by how “small town” Eagle seems; most of these times it is a result of being at a Town Board of Trustees meeting. The good and bad of the small-town meetings include an official dropping the F-bomb; residents, applicants or board members telling personal stories and the discussion straying more than a feral cat.
Because of this small-town approach, sometimes when leaving the meeting after 31⁄2 or more hours, it is hard to find great satisfaction in the quality and results of the evening. The latest meeting was no exception. The meeting started out promising enough with the first-annual Hammer Mash. Check out the details of this mountain-bike event at http://www.hammermash.com. Next up was the ever-important topic of liquor licenses, four of which were approved.
And then the water-rate study discussion started for the third time. And then the water rate study discussion was continued for the third time. Some on the board seemed uncomfortable with the many variables, scenarios and spending $14 million to $18 million on behalf of the residents. Trustee Turnipseed summarized it best that in 15 years of business, he didn’t have many times that he had an uncomfortable feeling in his gut, but this was one time he did, and he’s learned to listen to his gut. The developer of the Haymeadow project also spoke of his concern about the direction the board seemed to be going with how much a new developer pays versus how much current users pay.
As a resident, I was disappointed for those who have been to each of the three water-rate study discussions because the trustees will meet with staff in groups of two (in order not to break the sunshine law, which requires a meeting of three or more to be public) to have a discussion on the issue, and we, as a public, won’t participate. But as a resident, I was also glad the trustees are making sure they are comfortable with the information before making such a big decision. I look forward to the fourth public version of the water-rate study in an upcoming meeting.
High Country Coatings looks forward to seeing you as a customer on Chambers if you need your truck bed or other vehicle coated, now that they received their special-use permit.
The Wall Street project didn’t officially receive approval, as the development agreement will need to be rewritten and then voted on, but after much discussion about who should pay for new development, most seemed happy the project will have a chance to move forward. Once again, the lengthy discussion did not seem to me overly positive. This could have been because the majority of the board did not agree with the staff’s recommendations or because several on the board believe the town cannot afford to do anything, even if it might spark competition and spur development on Broadway or simply because the board didn’t trust the developer’s numbers.
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As a resident who regularly attends the meetings, I was left confused (again) over the disconnect between the staff and the board and how the conversations seem to take a long time and sometimes circle in circles.
But as a resident who struggles with and appreciates the challenges of being a part of a small town, I am not confused at all with where I will be on Tuesday, which is at the next Town Board of Trustees meeting.
See y’all at Town Hall!
Brandi Resa is an Eagle resident.