Q&A with Frisco mayoral candidate Hunter Mortensen
Editor’s note: Hunter Mortensen is running unopposed for mayor of Frisco.
Do you support setting a local minimum wage?
We have a huge cost-of-living problem. There are very successful employers who are not taking fair care of their employees when it comes to wages. Yes, I support a local minimum wage. But the way the current law is written, it does not take into account the complexity issues like tipped wage earners, commissioned employees, and others who aren’t considered in the current legislation. I hope that in the near future we can make sure everyone working in Frisco is making a fair wage, but the way the system is now, we cannot do it fairly. When that changes, I will fully support a higher local minimum wage.
Do you think short-term rentals should be taxed at a higher rate than residential homes?
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Simply put, no I do not support a separate or new property tax for short-term rental properties. We have implemented an equitable system that makes short-term rentals not only pay their fair share of fees, but also makes them accountable to be good community members and neighbors. Addressing our town’s housing crisis is not simply solved by taxing short-term rentals, we must continue to creatively add housing of all types so that everyone who works here, or in our surrounding towns, can live here. The problem is bigger than simply looking at short-term rentals. We must look, think and act bigger than focusing on one part of a large issue.
Should the town build more workforce housing or focus on incentivizing homeowners to convert short-term rentals to long-term rentals?
We have to do both. This is not a this or that issue. The town has to do everything it can to show that if we want to preserve all that we love about Frisco, we need to have people who live in town and work in town. We have and need to continue to expand our incentives so that people who are either short-term renting their property or buying, scraping and building a new structure have a reason to make it part of where our community lives. We need to work on public-private partnerships and make sure our planning codes allow for accessory dwelling units that add workforce housing to new and redeveloped properties. We need to make sure that there is balance as we examine the results from our community plan so that we can maintain the character of our town.
What is your vision for connecting and improving the town’s major economic drivers between Main Street and the marina?
I see the town’s major economic drivers to be far more than just Main Street and the marina. We need to look at the marina as the pivotal connection point between Main Street, Summit Boulevard and the Peninsula Recreation Area. The intersection of Main Street and Summit Boulevard is the key junction that not only defines all parts of Frisco, but is an area that is in the spotlight for the next massive change. With the Colorado Department of Transportation working on finishing the Gap Project and the marina master plan, we need to not forget how they are part of the bigger picture of what makes Frisco. Main Street is what defines us, the marina and the Peninsula Recreation Area are where we come together to play, and Summit Boulevard is what sustains us. In planning for Frisco’s future, we must make sure that no plan looks at these parts in isolation. They have their own defining role in who we are but must be looked at as an interconnected part of our future.
What do you think is the biggest problem facing your town today?
The biggest problem facing Frisco is the massive growth of the state. Frisco is no longer a secret. Everyone wants to be here, and I cannot blame them. The problem with that growth is we are an island in the middle of the mountains. We cannot grow much bigger than we are. So we are faced with increasing property values, ever diminishing supply, and a demand that is from people who live outside of our community. This issue is not unique to Frisco and is not new. I hope that we can look to communities that have already been where we are now for models that helped them rationally deal with growth while maintaining their identity.
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