A look into the future
The date is Dec. 31, 2012. After two rough recession years, we’ve had two years of strong recovery. We heeded the warnings and had sufficient reserves to maintain employment and services. With fewer departments, the staff members who wished to stay are all safe with secure jobs. Vital replacements were filled internally.
Taxes were lowered by reducing the mill levy through cutting irresponsible spending. Some desired projects, temporarily put on hold, are now being completed. Others were weaned from the budget. Critical services have survived independently. Tourism is nearly back to normal.
The airport is busier than usual because of tower control improvements, new hangers, and additional tie-downs. New freight haulers bring employment to the airport. Traffic has steadily increased and nearly every flight is full. RAFTA and ECO bus systems have improved schedules resulting in fewer cars on the road, relieving some of the parking problems in Vail and Aspen. Park and ride lots are located near future potential light rail station sites.
The recession gave the community a great opportunity. The new commissioners were able to re-evaluate their responsibilities to the citizens of Eagle County. Through community caucus groups in every community including Basalt and El Jebel, the county manages smart growth, open space, and accessible recreational parks. We can supply even more “wants” than we had projected because of sound fiscal management.
The construction economy has recovered and is keeping up with “obtainable” housing needs. This was all done without taxes paying the bill. The commissioners simplified regulations, removed unnecessary red tape and price controls, and offered tax incentives to builders which reduced building costs and offered homes and rentals at more reasonable prices. Illegal fees and taxes were removed and in appropriate cases, were rebated.
The county no longer competes with private enterprise in housing, real estate sales, and child care. All “needed” services, facilitated by the commissioners, are being met through cooperation with local businesses. A county facilitated assisted living facility being built by the valley’s churches. Recycling is being managed by cooperative guidance of waste collection companies. The county subsidizes necessary services, but taxes have been greatly reduced.
The commissioners conduct periodic, convenient, evening, public hearings for citizen participation. Fair and open deliberations and decisions are made in full view of all whenever major projects involving taxpayer money are involved. The website lists all spending items. Community city hall meetings are conducted periodically to improve communication. All citizens are welcome to call and/or to visit their commissioners.
This was all possible because you elected Dick Gustafson and Debbie Buckley to the board on Nov. 4, 2008.
candidate, Eagle County commissioner
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A recent survey of Aspen residents shows that people are happy here, feel safe but are financially insecure.