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

Q&A with Silverthorne Town Council candidates

Silverthorne Town Council candidates Amy Manka, left, and Tanya Shattuck.
Courtesy photos

Do you support setting a local minimum wage?

I feel the minimum wage question should be handled at the state and county level. I do not feel this should be handled at the town of Silverthorne level. If not all towns participate, then it defeats the intent.  

— Tanya Shattuck

Setting a local minimum wage can be beneficial to employees. However, with the labor situation in the county and Silverthorne, I think it is not needed at this time. There are typically so many entry-level jobs that have starting pay and hiring incentives that are currently higher than the proposed minimums. I think employees really have the ability to ask for a competitive wage and be above the proposed minimums. I do feel it is a topic for discussion but not something to implement currently.

— Amy Manka

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

Silverthorne does not levy a property tax, so this would not directly impact the town as it is sales tax driven. I do think in general that short-term rentals should be taxed at a higher rate mainly because they are businesses, and they do receive other tax breaks for that. They also do have an effect on our local housing situation. I think this topic will be something the community needs to think about especially as we continue to grow and the demand on services from the town increases.

— Amy Manka

Short-term rentals are already being taxed at a higher rate than residential homes. For instance, short-term rental owners pay multiple taxes at the federal, state and local levels including sales tax, lodging tax, income tax, personal property tax and real property tax. In addition to taxes, they’re also paying a fee to acquire a short-term rental license. Residential homeowners who do not rent their homes only pay real property tax. They do not pay any of the other aforementioned taxes. Whether it’s a short-term rental or not, all Silverthorne homeowners pay property taxes to the county only. They do not pay a town property tax. Silverthorne’s revenues are reliant on sales tax. It should be taxed like the commercial basis, which makes it fair with other hotels and property management companies. 

— Tanya Shattuck

Should the town build more workforce housing or focus on incentivizing homeowners to convert short-term rentals to long-term rentals?

Statistics show that in all of Summit County, we have around 30,000 dwelling units and around 30,000 full-time residents, which indicates that we could house one person per unit. However, one-third of those units are being used as short-term rentals, one-third are vacant, and the other third are occupied by full-time residents. These figures demonstrate that we have enough housing. The problem lies in how these units are being utilized. 

The town and the county have only just begun regulating short-term rentals, which means we’re in the beginning stages of gathering statistics. It’s going to take us some time to gather and analyze the data before we can answer this question. 

What we have to keep in mind is that our tourist-driven economy relies on visitors, and given that we don’t have the volume of hotel beds to house all the visitors, our economy also somewhat relies on short-term rentals. On the other hand, our community wouldn’t be what it is without the full-time residents. In my opinion, the key is striking a balance, which being a long- or short-term rental, one cannot thrive without the other. 

— Tanya Shattuck

I believe both the building of workforce housing and incentivizing homeowners to convert short-term rentals to long-term rentals need to be considered. When you think about workforce housing, you need to consider the needs of the workforce. My family recently moved into Smith Ranch. While this is a great neighborhood, and it fits the needs for my family and budget, I know there are many out there in our workforce that could not make it work for them. We need to make sure the exact needs for our community are being met with the projects we work for. We need to make sure we consider long-term rentals for those who cannot purchase.

— Amy Manka

What will you do to push for a fire station? What are solutions to address concerns from residents in the meantime?

We need to continue to work with Summit Fire & EMS and keep the issue of building a fire station in Silverthorne a priority for everyone. I feel the residents of Silverthorne need to stay involved and make sure we are not forgotten. I know a fire station will be very important to not just Silverthorne but to Wildernest, Ptarmigan and Lower Blue. When you look at what Silverthorne has already done to work with Summit Fire to make this happen, it hopefully will be a priority. Traffic concerns also add to the urgency of a fire station in Silverthorne. I believe the key to making this happen will be working closely with Summit Fire and keeping citizen involvement high in the process.

— Amy Manka

The fire station is a very important topic on queue for the town right now. Currently, our closest fire station is in the town of Dillon, which is three times the distance in comparison with the previous Silverthorne Fire Station. When we’re in peak season, the intersection beneath the Interstate 70 interchange backs up frequently and has the potential to cause life safety issues if first responders are caught in traffic. It’s going to take effort from both the town and the fire department to make this goal a reality. Right now, we’re working on building a stronger partnership with the fire department, finding a location and the funding. The town of Silverthorne residents need to be protected both medically and life safety protection. They pay for it, just like everyone else. 

— Tanya Shattuck

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

In my opinion, one of the biggest issues Silverthorne is currently facing is traffic. We are a rapidly growing town with many projects in the works. We must make traffic flow a priority. The traffic concerns are the greatest when I-70 shuts down, but we also have issues in summer when many of the campers head east on I-70 and back the town up, as well. The Colorado Department of Transportation has made widening I-70 a priority, while no changes have been made to our exits. I think we need to keep pressure on CDOT to make Exit 205 a priority. We also need to look at the other options we have in terms of a possible alternative route around that interchange.

— Amy Manka

Editor’s note: The Silverthorne election has been canceled because all candidates are running unopposed. Michael Spry declined to participate in this Q&A.

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