Our View: All eyes on Antonucci, council

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New Steamboat Springs City Council President Loui Antonucci says Nov. 6 marked the first time in city history - or at least since Steamboat became a home-rule charter - that residents elected five new council members.

While it's clear voters wanted change, the big unknown is what that change will be and how the council will go about enacting it.

We think the new council's first decision - appointing Antonucci as president - was a wise one. Antonucci brings experience and institutional knowledge to a group of mostly young, inexperienced council members. He has lived in Steamboat since the mid-1970s and was first elected to the council in 1989. After losing a re-election bid in 1993, Antonucci returned to local politics in 2001 when he defeated Ken Brenner for the District 2 seat. Antonucci staved off challengers Warren Harner and Charles McConnell in the 2005 election.

Antonucci has been labeled "pro-growth" in the past because of his close associations with the business, development and real estate industries. He is the former owner of Old Town Pub, and is a partner in Old Town Realty as well as a contractor.

Regardless, Antonucci's experience in those fields - particularly as it pertains to housing needs and workforce recruitment and retention - can be valuable to both fellow council members and Steamboat residents.

He certainly has his work cut out for him. Past councils, including the most recent one, could be inefficient and, at times, overly ambitious. Many meetings stretched late into the night and lacked the structure needed to keep members focused.

Antonucci says he wants the council to limit its meetings to three times a month - and have them end at a reasonable hour. He also has expressed a desire to keep council members on task and for the council to give clear direction to city staff.

Antonucci also appears to be learning from other mistakes of past councils. He wants the council to be open in conducting its business and accessible to the public. He expressed a desire to gather input from the community before making important decisions.

He's on the right track, and we hope he can deliver on these goals. It's worth reminding Antonucci and other council members that open government is the best government, and the law requires - in almost all cases - that the public's business be conducted in public.

Of course, there will be roles for Antonucci that expand beyond the council chambers, including liaison between the city and Routt County. The two entities have had an often-adversarial relationship, and we'd like to see that improve. The presence of a new City Council provides an opportunity for the mending to begin.

Antonucci has tentatively scheduled a council retreat for early December. It will be interesting, and telling, to see what issues this new council identifies as its top priorities. Whatever they are, a commitment from the council to discuss and act on those issues in an efficient, open and thoughtful manner will be something all residents can support.

Comments

smart65 6 years, 5 months ago

I doubt that we will see a change. We still have the same type of people, real estate,contractors,attorneys. All we have to look forward to is anex,anex,anex.More tax money to throw away.Don't be surprised when your property taxes hit $10,000 a year plus. Welcome to Long Island New York

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bugman 6 years, 5 months ago

smart65 - you have a bad attitude - give this group a chance - they worked hard in the election - if you would get off your couch and come down to City Council one Tuesday, you would have seen for yourself their action in the first night. We all wanted change and we got it - now lets support them and quite whining. They have alot to learn and catch up on - but already they are really making the effort. If you don't like the people - why don't you run??

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bubba 6 years, 5 months ago

Is it worth pointing out to someone who calls themself 'smart' that annexation increases the tax BASE, not the taxes? Or that the city does not have property tax? Or that under TABOR the voters need to approve any tax increase (as opposed to a city council increasing the county taxes, which seems to be the concern raised?)

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merkinwsp 6 years, 5 months ago

lol gd pts bubba. (and bugmman i agree w/ ur stmnt as well.) "We still have the same type of people, real estate,contractors,attorneys. All we have to look forward to is anex,anex,anex.More tax money to throw away.Don't be surprised when your property taxes hit $10,000 a year plus. Welcome to Long Island New York"....really L.I.???...sure, i hardly think we are taxed like a plc. as smwhere in suffolk cty.- where they afford themselves the ability to pay county deputies $1ooK/yr. As far as I can remember city council has IMO always been a grrp. w/ much more interest as far as real. est., contractors, etc. relative to our newly elected council... Do u even know Mr. Quinn? (for ex.)...as far as I know he's a down to earth hard working guy that IMO will hv as good of a voice for the avg workin man b/c he is. Not really tryin 2 jump your back but, why don't we see how things play out for a bit b4 we jump right down their thoughts w/ negativity towards them. Maybe we as the voices of the comm. are the ones that should be concerned as far as "the same types of people"?

Help w/ the work....don't knee-jerk!

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smart65 6 years, 5 months ago

It's not easy to attend meetings when you have to travel for work.Steamboat General Contractors don't care for Union Subs.Even though we make more(MIDDLE CLASS) we are still able(in most cases) to under bid non-Union.I wonder who gets to keep all that money?

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sbscitizen 6 years, 5 months ago

Just curious, what change(s) do you expect from this council and how many of you have ever been to a council meeting?

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Steve Lewis 6 years, 5 months ago

I think the annexation costs mentioned above come from the possibility that the added (annexed) west area tax base will potentially pay twofold taxes: the ones like ours in "existing Steamboat", and extra taxes associated with paying for the west area infrastructure (roads, sewer etc). The discussion during the west area plan update was that this tax burden (a special tax district out west) may be too much for middle class taxpayers out there, and that the existing city may have to prop up the annexation with city outlays of capital investment, which current residents of the city might "pay for" via the city budget impacts. Bubba is right. Old Steamboat won't pay more property taxes (until the county comes back with a new "road supporting property tax" that sunsets). But we will see the west area looking for a piece of our city budget in capital outlays, and a piece of the county budget for its road needs. Steve Lewis

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armchairqb 6 years, 5 months ago

hey all you bloggers out there. There 's nothing wrong with unions and the reason why you pay workers (cops) 100,000.00 a year is so you get cops with master's degrees and very little turn over. Remember we're almost in 2008 and the days of 8 dollar an hour workers is history- wake up pay the right scale and housing becomes affordable not the other way around.

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calmdown 6 years, 5 months ago

I went to the last meeting........ I think the new group will do well, they will take there lumps along the way, i just hope they do not think there are two smart for there own good. They seemed a little to aggressive, taking on everything, not fully understanding the ramifications of there actions. Even the decisions to make a judgment at all. Relax and think Good Luck

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merkinwsp 6 years, 5 months ago

armchairqb...just so you know...maybe i cam off the wrong way..in the sense that i may hv appently stated that i thought the i think it''s ridiculous that theyt make 1ooK/yr... although this # is incredibly higher than avg. accross the board as far as law enforcement salaries go (my brother used to work the gang areas of Nashville, TN 3rd shift and was making less than half that), in general police and teachers are grossly underpaid professionals, IMO. i was just using it as an example in regards to how silly i thought it was for stmbt. to be compared to L..I. (in any kind of way), that's quite a stretch i think.... I'm sure council would be glad to hear any sugg's as to how we approach the ability as a comm. to afford ourselves the ability to pay these ppl. r u suggesting that most all of those officers hv. masters degrees?.... apparently you know how things work out that way... i'm sure there are quite a few that hv. have the job b/c of who they know.

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another_local 6 years, 5 months ago

"Makes Steamboat's new city council look bad"?? After one meeting they are supposed to be aware of each and every issue someone out there has an ax to grind about? You don't really believe that do you? Aside from the merits of your complaint which I know nothing about, it seems a little early to criticize the new council.

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