Brodie Farquhar: Seeking to make positive difference for Hayden
October 27, 2016
Hi! I’m running for a seat on the Hayden Town Council because I’d like to make a positive difference for this community.
I see opportunities to encourage economic development and improve qualities of life for residents and visitors alike. Hayden is a pretty neat little community with a great deal of potential, as a place for our kids to learn and families to grow, or businesses to provide good jobs.
And yet, it is all to easy to imagine future scenarios that could be pretty dismal.
For example, should voters approve a 5 percent excise tax on marijuana grow facilities anywhere in the county this November, it could well discourage facilities in municipalities like Hayden or Oak Creek. The combination of county and municipal taxes could well persuade grow entrepreneurs to local facilities only in the county. Hayden has been counting on tax revenue from a proposed grow facility, to help it climb out of a financial hole. With no new tax revenue, Hayden might be forced to disincorporate and turn municipal services over to the county, which would have new revenues.
Then there’s the prospect of losing jobs from coal mining and/or the coal-burning electric utility near Hayden, either of which would be devastating to Hayden. The most prudent recourse is to hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.
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In my 40-some years as a journalist, I’ve seen all kinds of economic development initiatives. One of the most encouraging is where town governments have gone into the fiber-optic internet business — hooking every home, business, school, government or health facility to high —speed, high-data volume fiber optic connections. More and more, towns and cities are treating the internet like a public utility — like water, sewer or sanitation.
The internet has become so basic to business, education, health services and entertainment that it is unconscionable for it to remain in private hands, which have deliberately kept it slow, erratic and overly expensive.
The track record couldn’t be more stark. Municipal internet service is faster, more reliable and more accountable than corporate services. If there’s a glitch, one complains at town hall, not some distant bureaucracy in New York. Just Google "municipal internet usa" and do your own research.
Fiber-optic internet service is to most corporate service as a supersonic jet is to a beater jalopy for traveling. Hayden can and must do better, because doing it ourselves means Hayden can market itself to businesses and professionals who place a high premium of high-speed, high-data service.
If they have fiber-optic service, then a distant, remote location in Northwest Colorado becomes not a negative, but instead becomes a positive attribute — small town atmosphere, good schools, great scenery, lower-cost housing and enjoying the proximity of culture, recreation and entertainment in nearby Steamboat.
If Hayden doesn’t change and grow, then we’ll continue to export kids to the Front Range or maybe Steamboat if we’re lucky. Wouldn’t it be better to have a bustling downtown, a built-out business park, local hotels and businesses out at the airport?
Fiber-optic service is just one step. Others are revival of the Chamber of Commerce, coordinating with economic development efforts up and down the Yampa River Valley and improved transportation options to and from jobs up at the ‘Boat. Wouldn’t it be cool to revive passenger rail service, from Craig to the ‘Boat?
I don’t have all the answers. Who does? I’m a good researcher and explainer, and I am both curious and creative. I can put all that to work for Hayden.