A positive vision from Mick

Dear Editor:

Aspen’s values have always been about preserving small-town character, including our social and economic diversity; environmental preservation, messy economic vitality and managed growth. These values enable us to pass on to future generations a beautiful environment and wonderful community.

Our community’s shared values are also about putting forth positive solutions for the future and allowing dissenting voices ” not attacking and “investigating” those who run for office. My campaign will always have a positive outlook for the future.

A positive vision for Aspen must both address and transcend our current economic problems. Everyone can and should be welcome here ” tourist or resident, rich or poor, athlete, intellectual, art lovers, nature lovers … whomever. Aspen offers opportunities for all kinds of people seeking all kinds of experiences. We should never be a place that seeks only the “right” demographic or one that discourages “balloon buyers.”

We can enhance the economy by protecting the environment. Aspen has doubled its hydropower, cleaned its river and cut its carbon footprint in the past few years. Our home is an example of environmental stewardship and a respite from the sprawling polluted lives that many Americans and international visitors endure.

We can preserve a viable retail base that serves locals by fulfilling the voters’ commitment to affordable housing at Burlingame, adding to a local populace that keeps small shops and eateries alive. The time to construct the final phases of Burlingame is when people are out of work and materials are cheap.

We can also put people to work retrofitting residences and businesses with energy-saving devices like weather stripping and solar panels. The audits to design the solutions will be free, and grants and loans are available from the private sector as well as state and federal government to pay for the improvements.

And we can do it all without letting taxes rise. Over the years, the city has kept tax rates used for its general fund low even as property values have increased. The current council cut the sales tax for the first time in memory by sharing the burden more equitably. I will, if elected, commit to keep property tax collections at current levels as provided by the state constitution and TABOR restrictions.

Aspen is in sound financial shape. We have reduced our budget and met current economic reality through layoffs and program cuts, while working to preserve as many jobs and programs as possible. Our credit rating is up and our reserves intact. We have implemented the recommendations of the citizen budget task force I called for two years ago, and appointed a financial advisory board to guide us toward further efficiencies.

But even as we make cuts, we must keep our eye on the future, and protect the values we Aspenites hold dear. To borrow a phrase, Yes We Can. We can if we are willing to put aside the anger and bitterness of attacks that dwell on the past. We can if we move to discuss the positive vision outlined above. For details on the vision, please go to

Please vote for Mick Ireland at the clerk’s office on Tuesday, May 5, at the polling place.

Thank you for reading and voting!

Mick Ireland