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Snowmass’ iPad touch

When you walk in to the multimillion-dollar Snowmass Village council chambers, one of the first things you notice is the nifty iPads sitting on the desk with each council member. As a new resident taking in my first proceeding on May 6, I thought not just of the high-tech gadgetry, with screens glowing with information, agendas and research but that each one had its own matching leather case. My kids, ever watchers of “Star Wars,” would love to get their hands on one of these things.

I bring this up because the proceedings left me perplexed and even a bit intimidated. The chambers are a welcoming layout, a place where one easily could feel comfortable expressing opinions, even if it is being broadcast around Snowmass (mostly to empty homes). But this village version of The Getty Center is really about marketing and all the other things that never seem to get done around Snowmass. Problems with water, street maintenance and other basics aren’t to be dealt with here, but at less ostentatious offices are down on Owl Creek Road.

A main item on the meeting’s agenda was a request from the U.S. Forest Service for $2,000, as the Interior agency seeks money from each municipality in the valley to reach a $24,000 goal for curbing mining tailings in an area outside Snowmass. I presumed that it was the sequestration that has an official from the federal government, in this case a little old lady, seeking relief.

Her argument was that the Pitkin County municipalities have always worked together to protect our pristine and beautiful landscape, even if the pollution was not in Snowmass proper. Councilman Chris Jacobson even commented how he hikes with his kids through multiple villages in the Swiss Alps and finds nothing but pristine environments connected to one another.

But other council members, while supportive in one way or another, struggled with the idea of giving taxpayer money to a cause not directly in Snowmass Village. After all, one council member commented, “We have our own environmental hazards we haven’t dealt with.”

That in itself was unnerving, and at that point I wanted to stand up and say, “Like fire mitigation, is it because of a lack of money or a lack of leadership?” Then I remembered how new I am to town and thought better of it.

After a lengthy presentation, including slides and a mitigation strategy, the council denied the $2,000 on the grounds of protecting taxpayers’ money. The little old lady and an associate from the Forest Service gathered their belongings and moved on to the next village, I presume.

The council members then turned to their iPads and looked for the next item on the agenda. I went home for dinner, still a bit perplexed and wondering: Were they iPad 3s or 4s?

Tim Johnson

Snowmass Village


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