Q&A with Dillon Town Council candidates | SummitDaily.com

Q&A with Dillon Town Council candidates

Dillon Town Council candidates Brad Bailey, left, and Steve Milroy.
Courtesy photos

Do you support setting a local minimum wage?

I simply feel that, without hard additional outside data, Summit County does not need such an added burden for its businesses. On a personal side, I understand the philosophical basis, that everyone deserves a “living wage,” but as our wages here in resort country are simply higher than many other areas, it may not be appropriate for Summit County.

— Brad Bailey

Generally, I would support anything that helps local workers, but I’m not sure increasing minimum wage would help workers. It might just make costs of living higher as businesses pass on higher wage costs. We definitely need to look at ways to help workers and lower their costs. 

— Steve Milroy

Do you think short-term rentals should be taxed at a higher rate than residential homes?

Many families rely on short-term rentals to afford living in our community, so I do not support anything that would make that situation more difficult. Maybe we need to tax second homes differently than primary homes? And/or create incentives for homeowners with existing living spaces to convert them to long-term rentals with lower upfront costs? For example, a homeowner wanting to convert a basement to a lock-off, long-term rental would have to pay large tap fees, so there is no incentive to do so. And maybe we could encourage businesses that have unused retail space to convert to long-term housing?

— Steve Milroy

I do not believe that short-term rentals should be taxed as commercial property. You have to understand that a true commercial property is valued, leased and sold under completely different business and taxation models and those appraisal, financing and leasing arrangements are now implanted into decades of business operations. It also would be an unwieldy mix of property taxation and zoning issues — very difficult to enforce. I do understand the “leveling of the playing field” argument by conventional hospitality operators, but we need to recognize that the growth of short-term rentals are because of, yes, technology, but also a shortage of conventional “beds” and the popularity of our resort areas.

— Brad Bailey

What do you think needs to be done, if anything, to support the local workforce?

We are all laser-focused on the issue these days and are very proud of voter-approved Ballot 5A and its future possibilities for generating revenue toward the issue. All of the local towns, apart from county funding, are also pursuing creative housing projects that range from outright home purchasing (then used for local employees), tax breaks for offering your home to a county agency (which then manages your unit as a long-term rental) and a variety of other measures.

Health care costs are a huge issue as our geography, relatively small full-time population and transient workforce make health care groups somewhat hesitant to commit fully to our county. I get it though. They are certainly for-profit companies, but lest we forget, they are also world-class as far as care and competence.

Dillon is also very proud and excited to be involved, along with Summit County and the U.S. Forest Service, on a proposed workforce housing project up County Road 51 (across from Lake Dillon Drive, Evergreen Drive, right toward the Tenderfoot trailhead). In simple terms, the Forest Service is interested in partnering their 10-acre parcel for a possible 100-plus workforce housing units, some rental and some hopefully deeded sale. 

— Brad Bailey

Find ways to reduce housing costs.

— Steve Milroy

What would you change about the proposed Ice Castles contract?

Generally, I support Ice Castles, but currently there are few benefits to residents. If we are doing it to help businesses and grow the town core, I would like to see more analysis of how businesses are being helped and how we can leverage to encourage new businesses to the area. And would like to see a traffic analysis of the impact of the Ice Castles on traffic if we are going to commit to a multiyear initiative.

— Steve Milroy

Dillon has been very fortunate to have been able to attract, and keep, the Ice Castles for several years. The business community’s appreciation and the national and regional exposure for Dillon have been extraordinary. And you have to understand it is a very, very unique business model. Their group has only maybe six to seven venues across North America, and I am not aware of any direct competition. Their upfront and tear-down costs are high, their revenues are very seasonal and weather dependent, and they have to deal with political realities in the form of, as in this case, Town Council and staff. Their castles currently reside on Town Park land, which, apart from a scheduled major renovation of the park, poses public questions on whether that is the best use of our Town Park. I can suggest that I personally will work hard at retaining their involvement for years but have them understand that their business model may change somewhat as Town Council evaluates our Town Park’s master planning.

— Brad Bailey

What do you think is the biggest problem facing your town today?

It is the amazing growth we have seen in the last three to four years. The Front Range, which is a pretty good indicator of our performance, has jumped across all categories. From hospitality stays, to real estate purchases, to Vail Resorts and Alterra’s season pass explosion, to main stream institution investors (think large hotels and commercial projects) and then, just as an aside, the general powerhouse U.S. economy (except for currently, sadly) that pushes Interstate 70 to its very limits.

And there is a reason for Dillon and Summit County’s popularity: It’s just gorgeous, safe and awfully fun.

— Brad Bailey

Traffic and housing costs.

— Steve Milroy

Editor’s note: The Dillon election has been canceled because all candidates are running unopposed. Kyle Hendricks did not respond to requests to participate in this Q&A.

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