McAtamney aims to continue success with child care, budget |

McAtamney aims to continue success with child care, budget

summit daily news

BRECKENRIDGE – Jennifer McAtamney has volunteered with numerous community organizations – particularly in areas of child care, education and housing – and continues an effort to improve quality of life for residents while maintaining her seat on Breckenridge Town Council.

“I really like to be engaged at that level of the community,” she said, “helping to make policy and to make Breckenridge a better place to live and play, and raise a family.”

McAtamney, 42, runs for her second term after joining council in 2006. She owns a small business that manages neighborhood associations.

Fellow candidate Larry Crispell said Saturday that McAtamney’s work to support the town’s childcare programs, among others, has been invaluable to the community.

She’s also working to make a difference with environmental issues.

Through council, McAtamney is involved with the town’s sustainability task force, which is to make available a $1 million revolving loan fund to provide energy improvements to local homes. The task force also addresses topics of housing, traffic, development, build-out and water resources and more.

She said she wants to continue work on sustainability to ensure the town keeps on track toward goal set for the coming decades.

McAtamney has served on the town’s grants and scholarship committee since 2006 and has served on the Breckenridge Resort Chamber board since last year. She has also been on the town’s child care and housing committee since 2006.

“You have to be a leader,” she said of her role as a councilwoman in the community. “With the community, I just really think it’s important to participate with everything … whether it’s clean-up day or a ribbon cutting at the Riverwalk (Center).”

McAtamney and her husband, Shawn, moved here from New York City 11 years ago, and they now have two children – ages 7 and 9. Both children attend Dillon Valley Elementary School because of the dual-language program that teaches students in both English and Spanish.

“We chose that because we wanted them to be bilingual,” she said. “The opportunity was one we couldn’t pass up.”

As students who started with that program move on to Summit Middle School, a task force is at work to ensure they continue to grow in both languages. McAtamney has served on that task force since 2007, and she also participates with the school’s parent-teacher-student association.

The Town of Breckenridge went through three tiers of budget cuts in the past year to ensure a balanced budget in spite of significant revenue declines. McAtamney said she wants to continue to serve on council “make sure we continue along that path” of fiscal responsibility.

One of the prominent issues facing the next town council will be how to create a sustainable source of marketing revenue. The marketing fund has been supplemented by increasingly large amounts from the town’s general fund.

McAtamney said the town’s 2.4 percent lodging tax – of which 0.4 percent goes to marketing – could be re-allocated with more money for marketing.

With the other lodging tax revenue going toward such important amenities as the recreation center and skating rink, McAtamney said a solution would need to be found to backfill those funds.

“It makes sense to attach the marketing fund to lodging,” she said. “We all depend on tourism, but we’ve got to figure out a way to continue to pay for the other 2 percent that the lodging tax is currently paying for.”

She said the town could cooperate with Vail Resorts, perhaps through combining transportation systems, to help free up more money.

She said there will likely be a need to go to the voters with a proposed tax increase – such as a tax on lift tickets or other “amusement” activities. The council decided against putting a sales or amusement tax increase on April’s ballot, and McAtamney said it would be too tough to ask for more taxes during November’s political climate.

She said that perhaps November 2011 or April 2012 could be options for mill levy ballot questions.

McAtamney has also served on boards of the Summit Combined Housing Authority, the advisory committee for Timberline Learning Center and more.

“I hope people recognize the work I’ve done over the past four years and the perspective I’ve brought to the council,” she said. “And I’d love to have them support me.”

Robert Allen can be contacted

at (970) 668-4628 or

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