COUNCIL SITUATIONI read, with great interest, the front page article in the Nov. 4 Steamboat Pilot & Today Sunday edition, concerning the substantive change made between the first and second readings in the proposed 3-2-1 transportation tax ordinance. I am curious as to how such a change can be made to an ordinance unbeknownst to the public officials voting on it. Even though the proposed ordinance failed at the ballot box, I hope the new Council will investigate the matter and make their findings known to the public in a timely manner.
I appreciate that the Pilot brought this unacceptable situation to the public’s attention and would like to see a follow up article that questions the City Council and staff on how it happened and what steps will be taken to assure that a similar situation does not occur again. Regarding the City Council contests, the Community Alliance of the Yampa Valley respects the views of all candidates and will not support one candidate over another. In fact, our 501(c) 3 status does not allow supporting any particular candidate. We are proud of the Candidate’s Questionnaire that was published prior to the election that gave unedited responses to a series of questions on a broad range of issues. It was intended to inform the public on the views of every candidate.
Our role is to have productive relationships with all City and County officials to carry out our goals of encouraging the community to support growth control measures and to protect the environment. Members of the Community Alliance have worked hard over the past 18 months to bring the community together, on common ground, to solve these and other compelling issues facing us today.
I am cognizant of, and grateful for, the fact that a diversity of opinions exists within our organization just as opinions differ in memberships of other groups. John Whittum and Bob Enever, among others, have expressed their views in letters to city and county officials and to the press, but these are their private views and are not the views of the Alliance. We would greatly appreciate it if, in the future, the Steamboat Pilot & Today newspaper would refrain from attributing any particular points of view to our organization without our consent, or designating any individuals as spokespersons for the Community Alliance.
We congratulate the new City Council on their victories and look forward to working with them to enhance the quality of life we all enjoy.
Stuart Orzach, President
Community Alliance of the Yampa Valley
FUTURE GENERATIONSMining and associated industry has been in place at the North Gravel Pit for over 50 years.
It is simply dreaming to think that, should LaFarge be permitted to move its mining activities across U.S. 131 (from its present south site) the company would close operations after the initial years allowed by Special Use Permit for gravel mining and processing.
What will this continuing desecration of our valley leave to future generations?
THE CITY’S ROLEAs a member of the Steamboat Springs City Council who was not up for election this year, I have become more and more disturbed by the “pro-chamber/anti-chamber” nature of this year’s campaigns both with respect to issues and candidates.
It is my firm belief that the city has the responsibility to provide for the health, safety and welfare of all its citizens, and in order to provide police, fire, water/waste water, street and other maintenance infrastructure and services, as well as parks, open space and other recreational amenities, transportation, planning services and general city administration it is the city’s responsibility to provide an economic environment which provides sufficient revenues to accomplish these functions. I believe that the city council has the responsibility to provide direction for the city to accomplish these ends and then professional staff is charged with seeing that those goals are met. In fact, one of the goals of the current city council is “To facilitate and enhance economic opportunities while protecting and respecting our natural environment, heritage and community character.”
When I came to the community 35 years ago the economy was approximately evenly split between ranching, mining and tourism. Over the intervening years, tourism has become the major basis of our economy and sales tax has become the major revenue source, to the point that our economy has been described as being a “one-legged stool.” Previous city councils have tried to address this issue by various means to diversify the economy including the “bean pole project” which is in progress and which is bringing greater and faster Internet access to our area. But until greater diversification of both the economic base and revenue source occurs, it is my opinion that the city needs to provide for the health, safety and welfare of its citizens by assuring a continued healthy economy, and that means competing head to head with our tourist based economies.
Our isolated geographic position makes it necessary to market our economy just to keep up, not to grow. The history of the city/chamber relationship has been one, in my opinion, of the chamber acting as a “defacto” contractor for the city to accomplish the city’s obligation to it citizenry. The city is not in a position to take on this task with its current staff. So to those who say the city subsidizes the chamber, try looking at the situation from the position of the chamber acting as a contractor to the city to help stabilize a year round economy and provide funds to allow for the health, safety and welfare of all of us.
Perhaps a “Request for Proposal” for such services should be prepared and the chamber and any other interested group should apply.
The almost 900 chamber members are our friends and neighbors and members of our community, not some outside corporate entity which is looking to rape and pillage our community for its own benefit.
It is high time that we all work to maintain and preserve this special place in which we all live and work, and that we call Steamboat.
These are my personal thoughts, and I do not speak for any other member of council nor for council as a whole.
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