New Steamboat Springs City Council members acclimate to position


— The new Steamboat Springs City Council members have three meetings under their belts and are still in the process of learning the procedures and mechanics of Steamboat’s form of government.

“They have to manage this big city through just this one person,” City Manager Deb Hinsvark said Tuesday. “It’s kind of daunting if you think about it.”

That one person is Hinsvark, who, according to the city's organizational chart, is the sole employee reporting directly to the City Council.

Hinsvark was speaking at the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association’s Business Outlook Breakfast Tuesday about the recent change in the City Council’s composition.

In Steamboat’s system, she said, the council has to have faith in the city manager, and the city manager has to be willing to carry out the directives of the council.

The members of the City Council also have to have faith in one another.

“They have to be a seven-person team in public,” Hinsvark said. “I think that’s hard for any of us.”

Hopefully, they are beginning to build some trust, she said, as it takes four council members being in agreement to move the city forward.

2A forms committees

Two teams yet to be formed are the committees designated to manage the lodging tax money that will go to trails and a promenade along Yampa Street in downtown Steamboat.

David Scully, of the Yes on 2A campaign and the Steamboat Springs Trails Alliance, also spoke Tuesday at the Business Outlook Breakfast about the campaign and the future of the trails projects.

All the trails that were part of the lodging tax proposal are on the website, Scully said.

It’s not just about cycling or hiking, he said. It’s about trails that are multi-use, and even those that are single-use are designed to reduce congestion or provide relief for other multi-use trails.

Scully said the projects are about providing a better experience for everyone who uses the trail system across the county.

The committees for the trails project and the Yampa Street promenade are accepting applications for volunteer members until 5 p.m. Friday.

To reach Michael Schrantz, call 970-871-4206, email or follow him on Twitter @MLSchrantz

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walt jones 3 years, 5 months ago

"That one person is Hinsvark, who, according to the city's organizational chart, is the sole employee reporting directly to the City Council."

And that is where the problem is.


Scott Wedel 3 years, 5 months ago

Yeah, that is an odd comment because the general public can talk directly to the relevant city dept to get public information or even make suggestions.

City council members should be advised that city policy and directives are to be made in city council meetings.

If that is how Hinsvark intends to control the city council by controlling their access to staff and information then hopefully city council will first review city staff reports to be sure they are comfortable with the accuracy and completeness of the information being presented before they will consider the issue at hand.

The city staff reports on the police station and benefits of Yampa St redevelopment read like marketing brochures and not unbiased staff reports.


Scott Wedel 3 years, 5 months ago

I suspect the a major reason why the county commissioners have a more stable relationship with their government manager is because they have a day of work sessions on the topics on the next day's agenda. So they have a day to learn about the issues and ask questions before making a decision. Thus, a poor staff report results in lots of questions to be answered before tomorrow's meeting. That means the county commissioners are in better control of the direction of the county and would only need to replace the county manager for having poor management skills.

Meanwhile, SB city council gets a bad staff report at the meeting that is expected to make a decision. They have to ask themselves is the staff report so bad that it prevents a decision? And thus, city staff, by presenting biased staff reports, is in a much greater greater position to influence their elected officials. And that means that the city council ends up having to change the city manager to change the direction of the city.

Thus, it seems to me that SB government would likely be better run if at least some of the city council stated they were going to have a public work session prior to each city council meeting where they work through the meeting packet to to understand it and ask questions to be answered by the city staff prior to the next council meeting. The meeting packet is done well in advance so that work session could be held on the Thursday prior to the city council meeting.


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