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Resources gobbled up by government

Dear Editor:

The Aspen Area Community Plan vision statement that is now being considered needs to consider the impacts of an expanded government on housing and services. Item No. 2 of the top 10 list of the vision goals statement wisely states as a goal: “managing the impacts of development to maintain a high quality of life.” There is zero mention on the impacts of the expansion of government. There should be a study done on this.

The number of full-time city employees is 280 and the county employs 225. The affordable housing stock has 1,493 units. A large number of these are occupied by city and county employees. How many? For all our welfare, and to maintain the sustainability of the area, the local government should be just as accountable as the free market on its impact and consumption of resources. This accountability would provide for more empathy and cooperation between government and the free market ultimately elevating the guest experience, which is the life blood of the local economy.

It will never be a level playing field since government does not need to be efficient to show a profit or pay taxes like a natural person does, but coming up with an appropriate measuring device for the local government’s impacts and what is gained in return for those impacts, and who is hurt by the impacts, would be a good idea.

It would be a wise practice if city and county hiring decisions were based on the real cost of the expanded city workforce, including housing used, rather than just looking at the yearly direct labor costs.

Those paying free-market property taxes and operating in traditional capitalistic ventures are made to contribute every nickel and more that might be considered an impact by their activities.

It seems appropriate to review and add a chapter to the new vision statement that discusses the future vision for the city and county government’s seemingly unrecognized appetite for consuming the resources they were originally charged to preserve.

Mark Kwiecienski

Basalt/Aspen


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