Vail Daily letter: Remember Roaring Fork
According to your recent story, a proposal to adjust the mission and extend the life of the open space tax is being considered for the November ballot. The ballot issue was passed in 2002, with voters from the Roaring Fork Valley providing the margin of victory, as the tax would have failed if only votes on the Vail side of the hill had been counted. It took nine days to determine the ballot measure had passed after initial results showed it losing by a handful of votes.
At a recent meeting on improving trail connections in the Vail Valley, a supporter noted the need for trail funding to support those plans because “this is one valley, and this is one community.” I would encourage our fellow Eagle County residents to remember that your plans are funded, in part, by the residents of the Roaring Fork Valley.
A quick review of the map of Eagle County open space acquisitions displays 20 acquisitions in the Eagle and Colorado River drainages of Eagle County and one in the Roaring Fork drainage. The 20 to 1 ratio could create a challenge for those asking Roaring Fork residents to support the proposed ballot issue and talking about “one valley” is unlikely to help.
While I am supportive of sharing in the tax burden of open space and trail acquisitions, I would suggest that those of you on the “other side of the hill” at least pretend that our interests matter.
An even better idea would be to focus on our open space and trail needs. We have developable land up the Frying Pan River that will create high future county service costs with wildlife and scenic value that could be acquired, we have tremendous development pressure on productive agricultural land, and we have trail connection needs to our signature 40-mile trail from Glenwood to Aspen. In addition, a trail up the Frying Pan would be a huge asset.
I find value in the open space tax even though it is mostly preserving lands that I do not frequent, if Roaring Fork Valley residents do not find the same goodwill from decision-makers in the Brush Creek, Vail and Colorado River valleys, then I would not anticipate electoral success.
Roaring Fork Eagle County residents are an anomaly but we are an important part of the Eagle County tax base and essential to getting progressive measures passed. Just a reminder.