Vail Daily letter: Suggestions for rec district
In case you missed it, and it seems as if more than of few of you did, there was a Vail Recreation District election back in May. From the May 12 minutes for the Vail Recreation District Board meeting immediately following the election:
“Director Foley … asked about ideas to address low voter turnout and if (the district) should do a mail-in ballot. Mr. Ortiz reminded the board that a mail-in ballot is very expensive … ”
It seems as if Kevin would like to see better public participation in Vail Recreation District matters, at least elections. The minutes do not reveal any discussion or if other members of the board shared this sentiment.
Mr. Ortiz’s comment begs at least two questions. What does he consider “very expensive”? Shouldn’t taxpayers decide what is “very expensive”?
A few thoughts for the Vail Recreation District board to consider, if in fact they do indeed want more public participation in all things Vail Recreation District.
First, the Vail Recreation District should move elections to November. When the town was planning a special election on how to spend the conference center funds, the decision was made to move the date from May to November for three reasons. More voters would be in town. Having it with the council election guaranteed a better turnout. Canceling the special election saved money.
Mr. Ortiz is very aware of the importance of timing. He wrote a memo with the town manager recommending that council not move forward with any Kaaboo decision in June, “otherwise (council would) face criticism that decisions were made when people were out of town during the off-season.”
Second, mail-in balloting is quickly becoming the norm across America. As an alternative, and a way to address Mr. Ortiz’s professed concern over money, the district could encourage voters to request absentee ballots. This would reduce costs and improve participation.
Third, 5 p.m. is a terrible time to hold public board meetings. If people can’t make the meetings, they can’t participate. Making agendas available more that a day or two in advance as is now the practice of Vail Recreation District staff would also help.
Just a few ideas for the district to consider if it truly wants to be inclusionary in its process.
But hey, what do I know?
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