City Council FYI: 6 years well spent
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — During my time on Steamboat Springs City Council, there were occasions where I questioned whether the size of the matter needing a decision exceeded the reach of my knowledge and competence. I leaned heavily on the truth that there is wisdom in the council of many.
I had the good fortune to have a group of friends — including Win Dermody, Rob Douglas, Roger Good, Stuart Orzach and Scott Wedel — who are smart and care deeply about this community, each in their own way. They did not hesitate to let me know what they thought. I am thankful for the Coffee with Council regulars. I looked forward to seeing them every month; they energized me to do my best. Also, to the countless people who stopped by the council booth at the Main Street Steamboat Farmers Market, a sincere thank you.
From my perspective below are just two highlights of the past six years.
Change in city managers
In 2014, it was becoming clear there were a host of challenges occurring between the city manager and members of City Council. These challenges were worsened when either the city manager or council members forgot their respective roles as clearly described in the city charter.
Making a motion that the then city manager consider resigning was one of the most difficult evenings I have had while on City Council. Thank you, council member Sonja Macys, for having the courage to second that motion. The vote failed 5-2. Although that motion resulted in some raw feelings between council members, it became the catalyst for positive change.
Although some difficult decisions needed to be made, the city of Steamboat Springs today is in a far better place with a city manager who is committed to integrity, professionalism and a clear understanding of their role and the role of City Council in managing the business of the city.
West Steamboat Neighborhoods annexation
Lastly, the West Steamboat Neighborhoods annexation is a decision I am glad to have participated in. Brynn Grey Partners will be the developer of the West Steamboat Neighborhoods. When I first saw their development in Breckenridge in 2003, I knew their concept would work in Steamboat. Thirteen years later, Brynn Grey approached City Council with a proposal to annex 191 acres west of town.
Negotiating the terms of the annexation was going to be a lot of work for everyone concerned. I was also well aware that the topic of annexation was going to be contentious. It took over two years to negotiate the terms.
There were some who were very unhappy with the agreement and exercised their right allowed by the city charter to petition for a public vote. In the end, a majority of the citizenry voted to support the annexation agreement City Council had negotiated.
On the evening of Nov. 12, the new members of City Council will be sworn in, and I will be stepping down. One of my personal goals while on council was to have City Council members be the most accessible elected official the folks of Steamboat have in their lives. I believe I have helped foster that. I am not tired of being a member of City Council, but I am ready to leave.
To my fellow council members, I want you to know that I will miss being a part of a group of seven dedicated individuals who truly value this community, city staff and each other. Collectively over the past six years, we have made some important and lasting differences. It was an honor to work with each of you. I wish you all the best.
Scott Ford is an at-large Steamboat Springs City Council member.
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