Richards: A vote for our future |

Richards: A vote for our future

Letter to the editor
Letter to the editor

Why does the City of Aspen dedicate a 35-cent sales tax to the Aspen School District? Because they can’t keep teachers due to the housing crisis. Is that fair? Shouldn’t property taxes alone support the school district? 

Why are all service-providing agencies trying to build housing for their future operations? It’s called succession planning — simply knowing that today’s workforce, from front-line providers through maintenance crews and CEOs now living in free-market homes, will need to be replaced upon retirement. 

Why is the whole valley suffering from a worker shortage? Because homes that once housed workers are steadily becoming second homes and short-term rentals — which demand workers rather than supply them. Why are local businesses unable to attract new workers, and are left trying to lure workers from other local businesses? Because new workers can’t afford to live in the valley.

Why aren’t remaining workers taking jobs in Aspen? Because there are plentiful, interesting, and comparable paying jobs in the lower valley without long commutes and unpaid hours on the road. 

Why do retailers and restaurants, office spaces, and traditional lodging pay commercial-property tax rates about four times higher than STRs and condo-hotels on their real-estate holdings to our school, hospital, ambulance, fire, RFTA, and library districts? Why are the condo-hotels and STR operators fighting against new housing needed for these services and employees for their guests? Even as they run copious help wanted ads for all positions?

Why are some who live in deed-restricted affordable housing — who’ve been able to secure a future for themselves and their family through subsidized housing — so nonchalant about denying others that same opportunity? Hunter would have an answer, and it has nothing to do with community or common good.

Vote “Yes” on 2A for our community’s future.

Rachel E. Richards