Tony Connell: Experience is an advantage
Steamboat Springs is a wonderful city and I am so grateful to live in a place with so many incredible attributes. The single best asset is the caring and empathetic community.
My unique business experience and nonprofit governance is a distinct advantage, which I think my competition lacks and my city needs.
Central to all my decisions is a vision for a multi-generational caring community where our residents and guests can thrive and enjoy our wonderful offerings.
Through my experience serving on the Yampa Valley Medical Board of Trustees and at Connell Resources, both high-performing organizations with budgets larger than our city, I have guided a large number of performance and financial initiatives while showing fiscal restraint.
Most importantly: Goals are reached. Finances are stable. Risk is reduced. This kind of performance allows for more opportunity and for the community needs to be better served well into the future.
This model is how the latest community-owned asset, Casey’s Pond, is being created. It’s a vision of a senior living option with a continuum of care including independent living, assisted living, memory care and skilled care. This model is a direct extension of the award-winning efforts of the current YVMC employees and the board of trustees on which I serve.
A number of recent controversial city decisions and council directions give me certainty that my business experience is needed now. I have the proven ability to build partnerships and keep a productive focus on the community investment. I also always will be open to a variety of solutions to reach a goal.
■ Fiscal restraint and employee salary expenses: Most organizations and individuals feel uncertainty about the economy. Steamboat’s economy still is leveraged to a great degree on the ups and downs of consumer confidence and tourism sales tax. I think the base budget could increase labor costs to a general fund revenue percentage of 53 percent, which is half the current proposed increase and includes sales tax increases. The total salary increase would not be realized until the end of the year when actual revenue numbers are in the bank. I would propose that roughly half the proposed increase would be held as a contingency.
This extra time would allow for a revamped salary structure to be developed. Improvements could be made, including experience and performance incentives (steps) in each labor category, which is a big deficiency in the current operation. Mountain States Employment Council data can add independent validity. Employee satisfaction surveys should be routine.
The benefits packages could be brought into line and equalized with other private and public databases. Succession plans and employment ladder opportunities can be defined for motivation and training. Performance goals and reviews of the city manager need to be performed regularly.
■ Capital budgeting: I have budgeting experience for multi-million dollar capital expenditures with YVMC and Connell Resources. I will be sure to get full value and that investments are made without undue risk. The police and fire expansions will be fully explored, and I will demand open due diligence.
■ Diversify employment and economy: The best way to provide employee compensation increases and support programs is to have a vibrant diverse economy. Tourism is important, but location-neutral business and employment increases are great ways to reduce risk in the economy. I can build partnerships and tear down barriers to get valuable employment.
I look forward to serving the citizens on City Council. I bring a common sense non-confrontational approach to the job. I have the vision, experience and leadership skills to maintain and improve the caring community we call Steamboat Springs. Vote Tony Connell for City Council.
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When Steamboat Springs Middle School band director James Knapp saw a production of “Matilda” performed on Broadway, he knew he wanted to bring a version of it to town.