Candidate Q&A: Loui Antonucci
Editor’s note: Steamboat Pilot & Today has asked each of the local candidates in the 2021 Election on Nov. 2 to participate in a Q&A to better inform voters, asking the same questions related to each specific office. Visit SteamboatPilot.com/election for the latest election news and information.
Loui Antonucci is running for Steamboat Springs City Council District 2.
Why are you running for City Council?
I have lived in Steamboat for over 40 years, and while I was not born here I feel that I grew up with this community. Like most of you, when I first moved here, I was struck by the natural beauty of the area, but what has always made Steamboat special are the people that live here.
I have served on city council for three terms. With each of these terms came new issues.
We are now faced with challenges that threaten the very core of who we are and as we move forward we will face new issues.
I have seen a lot of changes and challenges to our town and would like to bring my experience to help be a part of the solution.
My decision to run for city council is my belief in our community and the people that make us who we are.
Do you believe short-term rentals should have restrictions? If so, what specific restrictions would you support? And if not, why not?
As general statement, yes, we need to have some restrictions. However, we need to be sensitive to both property rights and the right to quiet enjoyment of ones’ home and neighborhood.
Other communities have initiated compliance checks, complaint phone lines, location restrictions, limiting the number of permits, and property owners being held responsible for quests behavior with fines and possible revocation of their permit.
There are some neighborhoods in Steamboat that nightly rentals may be inappropriate and other areas where they are appropriate. There are many neighborhoods that already have covenants and restrictions as well as HOAs that allow them. We need to recognize these.
We need to work with property owners and management companies to develop tools that work for all.
A phone call to other planning departments in other mountain communities that have tried these methods would shed some light onto what works, what doesn’t, and what they do differently.
In your opinion is transportation a key service the city should be providing to the community, and do you have any ideas on how the city can provide sustainable funding to continue the service at current levels or expand it?
Yes, the city bus service is a key service and provides service to over one million riders per year. As a part of the Climate Action Plan reduced energy use is a key part of meeting the goals of the plan.
In the past public transportation has been funded from the general fund, from grants, and from federal and state funding.
The funding that we have been using has worked well for over 30 years and should continue to work in the future. When, and if these funds are not available we could look at a variety of options such as paid rider fees, paid parking downtown, partnering with the some of our larger employers, an access fee or property tax.
I am not advocating any of these, but should our present form of funding cease to exist we do have options that would have to be discussed.
What parts of the Climate Action Plan do you think need to be prioritized? And how can they be funded?
The Climate Action Plan has set out specific goals and action items. The two biggest producers of greenhouse gases are energy usage from residential and commercial buildings, at 22% and 32% respectively and from transportation at 26%. The list of action items and strategies is to long to list here. We, as a council need to come to a consensus as to what we can accomplish with the resources we have and to find the funding for those that we do not.
The city has a goal to diversify its revenue streams and reduce its dependence on sales tax revenue. How would you propose accomplishing this?
If we, as a community want to stay revenue neutral, then what we have is working. Sales Tax revenue has proven to be extremely resilient. It is true that we are one of only a few mountain communities that do not have a city property tax per se, with the vast majority of our revenues coming from sales tax. This has proven to be a very resilient form of revenue.
Twice while I was on council we appointed a citizen advisory committee to research alternate revenue sources and make a recommendation to council. After researching other communities and working with staff they concluded that our revenue stream did not need to be changed.
If the majority of council believes we need to research other revenue streams we could go through a similar process.
What steps should the city take to ensure that there is affordable housing now and into the future?
Affordable housing is one of the most important issues that we as a community face today. I have always believed that to maintain our sense of community we need to ensure that our citizens that work here are also to able to live here.
Our community has been given a generous gift that has allowed the Yampa Valley Housing Authority to purchase the Brown Ranch property.
There are many tools available to the authority to ensure that the housing will remain affordable. The Housing Authority is in the process of reviewing the different methods available to meet this goal.
In the end, as the council reviews the annexation agreement and development permits, we will have input as to what tools will best serve our community.
Council has prioritized diversity, equity and inclusion for a number of years. What steps do you think the city should take to move forward in this space?
This is an important issue for the city as well as the overall community. The city has recently hired the Beyond Inclusion Group to assess the state of DEI within the City and to develop a multi-year plan.
From this plan we can set both short term and long term goals and then initiate an action plan to accomplish these goals.
The action plan could include require additional funding so this would become a part of the budget process.
We, as the city need to set the example for the rest of the community and to offer assistance to those that would like to be involved.
If elected, what would you do differently than those elected before you?
I will choose not to judge the other elected council members but as a candidate that has previously served I can certainly judge myself.
Did we do everything right, in retrospect no, but what I did learn was to listen first: from staff, from the public, from the stake holders and from other city council members. I found that we made better decisions and could collaborate better by hearing from all of the above before we spoke.
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Routt County voters will have the option to elect new school board members, city and town council members and choose whether or not to support three state ballot initiatives in the Nov. 2 election.