Bears, new fire station among topics at city’s 1st ‘Lunch & Listen’ next week; county offering similar public outreach |

Bears, new fire station among topics at city’s 1st ‘Lunch & Listen’ next week; county offering similar public outreach

A new rule requires campers to store food and other bear attractants in properly secured containers. The move is a way to prevent conflicts between the animals and people.
John F. Russell

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Next week, Routt County and Steamboat Springs residents will have opportunities to ask questions and weigh in on issues at the county and city levels. 

Steamboat Springs City Council is unveiling its first “Lunch & Listen” event from noon to 1 p.m. Friday, Jan. 17, at Centennial Hall. 

Council member Sonja Macys will lead the first lunch. Topics of discussion include, but are not limited to, bear and trash ordinances, the feasibility of a new fire station and the city’s community housing fund. While the public is encouraged to introduce topics of interest to them, Macys said she and other council members are legally barred from discussing issues related to quasi-judicial land use.  

The monthly, brown bag-style gatherings are meant to improve transparency in local government and encourage more community engagement. The topics of discussion are matters City Council will address in upcoming meetings, Macys said, which will allow residents a chance to learn about the issues and be more prepared to make formal comments at regular council meetings.  

The lunches are modeled after the Coffee with Council events that former council member Scott Ford hosted for six years. He held the final morning chat in November 2019, the last month of his term. 

Steamboat City Manager Gary Suiter hopes the Lunch & Listen events will attract a larger audience than Ford’s Coffee with Council, since many had to work during the morning gatherings.

Suiter sees value in providing such informal opportunities for the public to interact with government officials.  

“Providing public input in a formal setting at the council podium can be intimidating,” Suiter said, particularly when public comments during City Council meetings are limited to three minutes. 

If you go

What: Public outreach meeting with the Routt County Board of Commissioners
When: 6 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 14
Where: Hayden Town Hall, 178 W. Jefferson Ave.

What: Lunch and Listen with Steamboat Springs City Council
When: Noon to 1 p.m. Friday, Jan. 17
Where: The Crawford Room in Centennial Hall, 124 10th St.

The Routt County Board of Commissioners will host a similar, informal discussion of current and future initiatives during a public outreach meeting from 6 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 14, at the Hayden Town Hall. It is the second such gathering the commissioners have hosted since starting the quarterly outreach events in October 2019. 

Topics of discussion will include updates on the county’s master plan, which currently is being revised, as well as construction at the Yampa Valley Regional Airport and efforts to create a fair, just transition toward renewable energy, according to Commissioner Beth Melton, who chairs the board.

Melton sits on a just transition advisory committee at the state level that is tasked with finding ways to ease communities across Colorado away from fossil fuel production while mitigating adverse consequences.

Projects at the airport include a newly completed fixed-base operator facility, owned by Atlantic Aviation, and upcoming construction of a new terminal, slated to begin in the spring. 

To reach Derek Maiolo, call 970-871-4247, email or follow him on Twitter @derek_maiolo.

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