Finance guy to take numbers approach to city issues

Keith Brant has a good sense of timing.

His family moved out of New Orleans two months before Hurricane Katrina struck.

He found a job in Durango while updating the billing address on a rental property he owned here. La Plata Electric Association was advertising online for a financial controller.

“I wasn’t looking here because, as you all know, there are no jobs here,” Brant, 43, said jokingly. “I told my wife, ‘We can eat, not a lot, but we can eat. Let’s go for it.’ Getting your foot in the door with a decent-paying job in Durango is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

After traveling around the world as a finance manager for Tidewater, which provides transportation and support to the offshore oil industry, Brant joined LPEA in 2008 and left in 2012 to devote himself full-time to his business, Durango Premier Vacation Rentals, which manages properties around Durango Mountain Resort.

Because he works for himself, Brant feels he has the time and flexibility to serve on City Council. When he has served on boards for Durango Chamber of Commerce and Durango Area Tourism Office, Brant has found his financial background to be much in demand.

He would take a bottom-line approach to issues on City Council.

Brant would not want the city to manage Lake Nighthorse for recreation if it had to dip into its general fund or “tax-paying dollars. Our user fees should cover it.”

He thinks consultants are usually a waste of taxpayer dollars, citing the example of a consultant who did a leakage study of city sales tax dollars.

“We all know our sales tax goes to Farmington, because there’s more shopping down there,” Brant said.

He would like to focus attention on the city’s “essential services.”

“When I talk to people around town, they don’t talk about smoking on the river trail. They talk about, ‘Hey, my road is a disaster. A pipe burst in my front yard.’ Once we get all dialed in, then let’s talk about these other things.”

Brant considers himself an environmentalist. He rides his bicycle to work everyday to LPEA to save his family from buying a second car, but he does not think the city should dictate environmental values to others.

“I paid more for my home because it’s energy-efficient. I could not project that onto somebody who could not afford the extra cost,” he said.

“When we want to affect change, it’s not through legislation and taxes. It’s a community rallying around to what’s important to everybody,” Brant said.

Brant mocks the idea of placing restrictions on plastic bags, saying there are bigger things to worry about.

“The avocado you bought (in the grocery store) is from South America. The impact to get that avocado here? Oh, that’s fine, but we’re going to dictate how you transport that avocado to your car.” he said.

jhaug@durangoherald.com

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