Opinion | Paul Olson: Just the facts, ma’am
A Friendly Conservative
Quandary Peak is the busiest 14er in Colorado with over 49,000 hikers on its rocky trail in 2020. It is not true that more dogs than people reached the top that year.
Kanye West received 39 votes in Summit County in the 2020 presidential election. No word yet on his plans for 2024.
Summit County government works with over a dozen nonprofit organizations in order to streamline government while providing important services to the public. The county only provides funding, and the nonprofits handle administration and offer child care, health services, affordable housing, recycling, etc. These organizations include the Family & Intercultural Resource Center, Summit Community Care Clinic, Building Hope Summit County, High County Conservation Center and Early Childhood Options.
In 1981, Breckenridge Ski Resort installed the country’s first high-speed, detachable quad chairlift. Locals were thankful they would never have to deal with lift lines again.
The Citizens Advisory Budget Committee was formed in 2021 to make recommendations to Summit County commissioners and work toward improving management of county finances.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 1.9% of 2020 Summit County residents had moved to the county from another state within the previous 12 months. Contrary to local grumbling, there are still people left in California after these new Summit residents are accounted for.
Summit County Ballot Initiative 1A passed in 2018 with nearly 60% of the vote. The measure will raise $8.8 million per year for 10 years to support early childhood care, behavioral health programs, fire mitigation, recycling and public infrastructure. Committees made up of experts from the community determined the best uses for funding in each of the five categories.
Ballot Initiative 1A was opposed by 40% of voters. County commissioners have the challenging dilemma of needing to be careful in controlling the cumulative burden of higher property taxes while still providing necessary services to the community.
Summit County government has been able to put to use the annual $8.8 million in 1A funds without adding any government personnel, an indication of efficient management.
The average commute time in Summit County is 16.6 minutes. Of commuters, 76.6% drive alone and 4.3% enjoy a more relaxing journey on the Summit Stage.
The 1994 movie “Dumb and Dumber” was filmed in Breckenridge. The nationwide exposure did not result in a surge in business for the community.
In 2005, the Imperial Express opened on Peak 8, becoming the highest and windiest lift in North America at 12,840 feet.
There are currently 579 children on a waiting list for child care in the county. The lack of sufficient child care facilities is adding to the current worker shortage and threatens the long-term economic health of the county. County government sees this as a critical issue and is using 1A funds for capital investment in child care facilities.
Property taxes are a fact of life because of the need to fund schools and public services. And it might be a fact that we all gripe about our property taxes at times, too. So in an effort to report some positive news, I have mentioned some ways that county officials are limiting government and effectively managing the budget.
I am glad I live in Summit County, and that’s a fact.
Paul Olson’s column “A Friendly Conservative” publishes biweekly on Tuesdays in the Summit Daily News. Olson has lived in Breckenridge since 1995. Semiretired, he works at REI in Dillon and enjoys snowboarding, Nordic skiing and hiking. Contact him at email@example.com.
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