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Meet the Candidates: Part 4

This month, Crested Butte voters will decide on candidates for Town Council in a mail-in ballot election. Ballots have been mailed out to voters and must be returned to the Gunnison County Clerk by Tuesday, November 6.
In an effort to get to know the candidates, the Crested Butte News has asked a series of questions about the town’s major issues.
In this final installment of “Meet the Candidates,” we asked candidates what they think about the town’s role in economic development.

 

 
Name: Reed Betz
The town of Crested Butte is facing stagnant sales tax revenue with fewer retail type businesses opening and succeeding. Do you believe it’s the role of the town to address that situation? If yes, how would you do so? If no, what is the town’s role in economic development?
Yes, the town should address the issue of stagnant sales tax. Town’s role is to be a facilitator, making it more practical to own and run a business. However, the success of a retail business is the role of the business owner. This success is also largely dependent on the health of our national economy. Therefore, town should research other sources of revenue.
Name: Todd Carroll
The town of Crested Butte is facing stagnant sales tax revenue with fewer retail type businesses opening and succeeding. Do you believe it’s the role of the town to address that situation? If yes, how would you do so? If no, what is the town’s role in economic development?
The town should definitively play a supporting role in the economic development, after all the town depends on sales tax. Open space, our charming town, our people, our fine dining, our beautiful vistas don’t seem to be enough to get people here and then get them back. We need to invest in other areas to be able to compete with other resort towns. We could commit more resources to get more airlines to fly from more markets. Investing in an indoor ice rink will get more families in town for tournaments, games, and camps. Investing in the arts has proven to help produce sales tax. We need to work with and encourage developers to build more “hot beds” in town. We should support CBMR’s plans for Snodgrass, which will get more people in the restaurants and shops.
Name: Dan Escalante
The town of Crested Butte is facing stagnant sales tax revenue with fewer retail -type businesses opening and succeeding. Do you believe it’s the role of the town to address that situation? If yes, how would you do so? If no, what is the town’s role in economic development?
Yes and no. Of course we want businesses to do well because this in turn provides money for the town’s operating costs. The town puts money into things like the RTA to try and bring more people into town. The town also spends money to make sidewalks safer for foot traffic and flower beds around town for aesthetics. This last year the town implemented horizontal zoning which theoretically should give retailers an opportunity at a great, street-level location on Elk Ave. Retailers also have an obligation: in order to be successful you have to have your finger on the pulse of what consumers want. There are great examples of entrepreneurs in this town who have done well in the last few years by offering up something new and creative. Landlords play a part in this equation as well: are the rent’s they’re asking realistic for existing, as well as new, small start-up businesses?
We’re not unique in this problem. Many small, western slope towns are facing stagnant sales tax revenue. My hope is that we avoid having three dueling factions(town, retailers, landlords) and instead work together for the benefit of this community.
Name: Bob Godwin
The town of Crested Butte is facing stagnant sales tax revenue with fewer retail -type businesses opening and succeeding. Do you believe it’s the role of the town to address that situation? If yes, how would you do so? If no, what is the town’s role in economic development?
As far as town’s involvement in retail business, I am for free markets. I do think the town should have an open ear and positive attitude towards our business environment. I would hope that our leaders would be pro-business, be cautious with rules and restrictions and not have a personal agenda.
Name: Kimberly Metsch
The town of Crested Butte is facing stagnant sales tax revenue with fewer retail –type businesses opening and succeeding. Do you believe it’s the role of the town to address that situation? If yes, how would you do so? If no, what is the town’s role in economic development?
Cracking the code of business and discovering how to make it a success has been an on-going struggle for Crested Butte. I think the key is to find a balance between what people want and the practical aspects of how to make it work. We have the makings of a great downtown business thoroughfare yet shops sit empty in our core district. I believe that it is in the best interests of the town to try and support the business community in remaining viable. Businesses need to be a guiding force in letting the town know what they want and should use constructive criticism to mold how they hope things would be. It is hard to say that an idea that the town government may have will be a success for all businesses but with some guidance and requests from the business community we may be able to work together to find the balance that we desire. I hope to continue to learn about this issue, work with the business community and see our sales tax revenue become stronger.
Name: Alan Bernholtz

The town of Crested Butte is facing stagnant sales tax revenue with fewer retail -type businesses opening and succeeding. Do you believe it’s the role of the town to address that situation? If yes, how would you do so? If no, what is the town’s role in economic development?
I don’t think the sales tax has been stagnant. We’ve had a slow and steady increase in sales tax since 2003.
It’s the role of the town to provide a venue for business. It’s the businesses’ role to make themselves more successful.. It also takes the effort of the business community to try to attract tourists into our town. It’s good to have a working relationship between the town government and the business community to try to accomplish some of these tasks. The town needs to have the streets maintained, the water running, the sewers running and we participate in trying to bring people here—through the Rural Transportation Authority and the Tourism Association.

 

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