Steamboat Springs Last week, City Council President Ken Brenner stepped down from that position and Susan Dellinger, the president pro-tem, was appointed to replace him. Dellinger sat down for a chat Friday with steamboatpilot.com. Below is a partial transcript of that chat.
Q: How does becoming City Council president change things for you?
Dellinger: It gives me an opportunity to work more closely with my fellow council members and to develop a dynamic working relationship with each of them.
Q: How will the council be different with you as president instead of Ken?
Dellinger: My goal is to improve our decision-making process. We have an intelligent community, a council that well represents our community's diversity and an outstanding staff. I would like to see us develop a better process of defining our needs, engaging our community and ourselves more effectively, discussing our topics more thoroughly and coming to a clear decision at the end.
Q: Did Ken Brenner's resignation come as a surprise to you? Did he talk about it with you or other council members prior to Tuesday's meeting?
Dellinger: Ken and I spoke with each other frequently prior to his announcement. He has spent an immense amount of time on his presidency and is extremely dedicated to our community. Ken is a passionate leader who was frustrated with that limitation so, his move back on to the council body will allow him the freedom he needed to immerse himself in various topics we are tackling.
Q: Last year, the developers of Riverwalk gave the city more than $1 million for affordable housing as part of an easement agreement. The city still has about $950,000 of that money in the general fund. Meanwhile, the Yampa Valley Housing Authority is about to go broke and is looking for a tax. Shouldn't the council give that money to the housing authority?
Dellinger: The money associated with the Riverwalk development is designated for land purchase. Council is currently working on a strategic affordable housing plan and is scheduled to meet with the housing authority to discuss their and our roles in the development of this plan. Neither the council nor the housing authority wish to spend any money without a solid direction, achievable goals and clear outcome. I believe the answer to our affordable housing need lies with this plan and a sustainable funding source for housing not piecemeal funds and solutions.
Q: You are perceived as a critic of the Steamboat Springs Airport. Is that a fair perception? If not, what is your stance regarding the local, general aviation airport?
Dellinger: General aviation is an absolute must for our community and we need to be supporting it to the best of our ability. The question of the economic impact our STOLPort has on our overall economy has been a point of contention for years and my goal is to bring this discussion to an end by developing an answer to the perceptions surrounding the airport. Until the answers and direction are clear, we will continue supporting general aviation
minimally rather than effectively.