Steamboat Springs City Manager Paul Hughes used an automotive analogy to explain the relationship between government and the private sector Friday.
Hughes told a dozen people in a breakout group at the Economic Summit that it is the roll of the private sector to provide the engine for economic prosperity, and it is the role of government to steer public policy. The breakout group was devoted to exploring how far government controls should go in the community.
"For a good long time, government and the private sector had the same objective," Hughes said. "Now we're coming into an era when there are definitely conflicts."
Unlike the early '80s, Hughes said, the shared goals of boosting growth aren't as obviously mutual today.
Realtor Jim Cook, a member of the Economic Development Council, said he believes government has an obligation to nurture creative young minds in the business community.
"We have an amazing intellectual inventory of young entrepreneurs," Cook said. He added that energy represents a unique opportunity for the entire community. He said it is a critical time for both government and private citizens to channel entrepreneurial spirit into positive directions. Some cities have accomplished that by developing their own industrial parks, Cook said. But he believes there are many ways for government to get involved without compromising its obligation to be a government for all the people.