Letter: Yes on 2A
As a Vail Housing Authority board member, former Town Council member and planning commissioner, a current County Planning commissioner, and a slightly right-of-center community member, I strongly encourage Vail voters to vote “yes” on the housing ballot issue 2A.
This summer has been incredibly instructive, with businesses cutting back on hours, days of operation or just throwing in the towel because of our employee shortage. With the housing market as tight as it is and landlords and sellers rightly reacting to the market with higher prices, our community is seeing an exodus of employees who have lost interest in either spending most of their paycheck or working multiple jobs (so they can’t enjoy why they came here in the first place) to “get” to pay for basic shelter. Our housing crisis is a market failure driven by market-distorting land-use decisions and historical neglect from the public sector. As much as I’d like to see the market, not tax dollars, solve this problem, that’s just not going to happen. So, we find ourselves here, with the need to add a very modest cost to our nonfood purchases, so we can retain a community (and not become Beaver Creek).
Although I’d rather the funds were generated from a property tax increase, the fact is that the need is so dire that we can’t let the desire for perfect kill the good. Moreover, for those who pay attention to real environmental impacts, housing people near where they work, shop and play greatly reduces our carbon footprint. Even if we are OK with our ”community” living somewhere else (and I’m not), they still have to get to the jobs we have in Vail. I would like to think that the county will address its inadequate public transit situation, but they’ve had years to do that, and we are no closer now to a reliable, inexpensive and fast way for people to get to work in Vail than we were a decade ago. In short, help is not coming. At least for the foreseeable future, we are on our own.
Ultimately, the most important issue is how we keep a community in Vail, and keep Vail a real town. This tax is the only reasonable tool available. Please vote yes on 2A.