Letter: Steamboat cannot afford Brown Ranch
Whatever you do, do not watch the Brown Ranch Annexation Community meetings and the coinciding Steamboat Springs City Council meetings on YouTube.
The experience reminds me of dragging my 4-year-old through the toy section at Target. “No, No, No Johnny! Just because you want it doesn’t mean we can buy it for you!” But it’s worse than that. These meetings remind me of dragging my child through an expensive toy store where he was given a $2 coupon. Now, he not only wants every toy on the shelf, he thinks he can afford it and gets crazy upset when told no!
These figures in the red are insane. It’s so insane that this community will feel the effects for half a century or more if we go through with this. It is time for City Council to drag the child out of the toy aisle and go speak to the responsible parent. That would be the public. Put this annexation agreement on a ballot sooner than later.
These figures are so significant that Brown Ranch is no longer a planning question but reaches deep into the philosophical question of who we are. Are we a capitalist society that has faith in the free market? A system that built this great town and supplied us with the highest standard of living the planet has ever seen. Or, are we building a Marxist Utopia in our little valley so we can run the failed communist experiment again here on our home turf?
With this amount of debt to the community, we must consider several alternatives. For example, how much would expanding transit to and from Hayden and Craig cost? Can we explore passenger trains aggressively? And, at what cost? Can we expand Oak Creek and/or Stagecoach? Etc. etc. etc.
Relative to the average commute in the U.S., these outlying towns are not far away. Ask your friends in Denver or, better yet Chicago, how long they spend getting to work. Hayden is a short meditation from Steamboat, in comparison!
And don’t forget the residents of market-rate homes experience some upward mobility as they see their equity climb, giving them future options. All while living in a town where they can afford to go out for breakfast!
Please Steamboat, Brown Ranch is a really cool-looking toy. But no, we cannot afford it!
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