Our View: Informed voters more important now

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Editorial Board, June 2009 to September 2009

  • Suzanne Schlicht, general manager
  • Brent Boyer, editor
  • Mike Lawrence, city editor
  • Tom Ross, reporter
  • Grant Fenton, community representative
  • Paul Strong, community representative

Contact the editorial board at (970) 871-4221 or editor@steamboatpilot.com. Would you like to be a member of the board? Fill out a letter of interest now.

Steamboat Springs voters have a unique and important opportunity this fall to guide the future not only of the city, but of the entire Yampa Valley. We urge residents to be proactive in educating themselves about the candidates and the important issues at stake.

The significance of this year's City Council election is directly tied to the issue of growth, and more specifically, the potential annexations of Steamboat 700 and 360 Village. There's little doubt that candidates' positions on growth and the Steamboat 700 project will be the deciding factor come Election Day.

To drive that point home, one need look no further than October's calendar. This year's election will be conducted by mail only. The Routt County Clerk and Recorder's Office will mail ballots to registered voters between Oct. 9 and 19, a period that bookends the City Council's planned Oct. 13 final vote on an annexation plan for Steamboat 700. If the latter schedule holds true, voters will be pulling their ballots out of their P.O. boxes just as the current council makes one of the most important decisions in this city's history.

That means voters have just seven weeks to get their minds around the candidates and complicated issues at stake. Voters who truly care about Steamboat Springs and its future will take the proper steps to be informed before marking up their ballots.

Resist the urge to be satisfied with campaign rhetoric. Talk to folks on both sides of the issue, and those in the middle. Call or e-mail the candidates and ask them to explain their stances on issues like growth and Steamboat 700. Attend one or more of the many candidate forums that will take place in the coming weeks. Take the time to read through the West of Steamboat Springs Area Plan, a document created after significant public input and participation. Review the recently released Vision 2030 final report. Attend any number of the upcoming public meetings about Steamboat 700, including:

- A 10 a.m. Steamboat 700 negotiating team meeting today in Centennial Hall, rooms 113 and 114

- A 5 p.m. Thursday meeting of the Steamboat Springs Planning Commission to discuss traditional neighborhood design

- An Aug. 31 joint meeting of the City Council and Routt County Board of Commissioners to discuss annexation issues and the funding of U.S. Highway 40 improvements

- A Sept. 8 City Council meeting to discuss Steamboat 700's fiscal impact as it relates to capital projects

- A Sept. 9 community open house about Steamboat 700 from 4:30 to 7 p.m. at the Steamboat Springs Community Center

How, when and where we grow as a city will impact the entire Yampa Valley for generations to come. The significance of the issue cannot be taken lightly, nor should voters' commitment to understanding the complexities of growth and the specific development projects facing our elected council members.

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