Vail Valley Voices: Right time for vote?
Vail, CO Colorado
Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from the Vail Homeowners Association monthly report in May. We plan to publish weekly excerpts from the association, which keeps a close eye on economic and political trends in and outside the town. The newsletter’s electronic version with links to supporting documents is available at http://www.vailhomeowners.com.
Vail $9.4 million conference-center election reset from August to November: Voices dissatisfied with the vetting process for several projects proposed to be the beneficiaries of the sequestered conference-center fund caused the Vail Town Council to back away from the tentative August special election date.
The council wants to give the public more time in June to weigh in on the recommended projects as well as see if there are any others that may have merit.
Importantly, the November date coincides with the election of four open Town Council seats. The date change ensures that whatever is brought to the voters will become hotly debated by council candidates and will be the central issue of the election.
The council was informed belatedly by its legal advisers that there was no time restriction (in months or years) on when it had to bring the matter to the voters.
Already, several years have passed since the funds were sequestered by action of the voters and the Town Council. Some on the council believe as a matter of principle, based on a 2006 former council’s political promise, that the issue should be put to the voters now.
Others disagree because of vastly different economic conditions. They do not believe that any of the proposed projects add to the economic well-being of the community, which was the original purpose for the fund.
They advocate that until the right project is found, a vote shouldn’t be held. Importantly, if any of the proposed projects under consideration are put on the ballot and summarily rejected by the electorate, the funds must be returned to the taxpayers via a reduction in the rates of sales and lodging taxes.
Snowfall, Gore Creek flood potential and water pollution: Winter snowfall is one of the highest on record. Low temperatures are slowing the spring runoff. The possibility of flooding is increased when spring moisture continues followed by several days of sustained high temperatures.
The town and Eagle River Water and Sanitation District are jointly working to identify the location of undesirable background levels of certain urban-related chemicals that began appearing in East Vail last year.
Front Range-Western Slope water development deal: Vail and Eagle County will retain the benefits they gained in the rejection of the Homestake II water development project in the Holy Cross Wilderness in a new agreement between Denver and Western Slope water developers.
The proposed major reservoir, near Wolcott Junction, if it is ever built, can now be a joint Denver-Western Slope project rather than, as originally proposed, a Denver-only project.
The city of Aurora still retains its ability to remove water from the Eagle River and Homestake Creek in the vicinity of Camp Hale.
Pine beetle forest and wildfire management projects, Vail Mountain and town of Vail: The U.S. Forest Service is proposing to implement hazard tree, salvage and regeneration treatments on about 984 acres of lodgepole pine on national forest lands within the special-use-permit boundary of the Vail ski resort.
The purpose of this project is to reduce risks to the public and infrastructure from falling trees and to create conditions that would increase lodgepole pine regeneration following the mountain pine beetle epidemic by removing dead, dying and susceptible trees through salvage.
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