Voters in the Durango City Council election that ends at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 6, have time to drop their ballots in the drop boxes around town, but they should not put them in the mail between now and then. The postal service, which includes a roundtrip to Albuquerque, should not be counted on. Besides, mailing your ballot would cost 55 cents.
The Herald’s editorial board made its recommendations two weeks ago, before ballots were available, and a reminder may be worthwhile. They have not changed: Melissa Youssef, a superb communicator, for a second four years; Olivier Bosmans, for his extensive engineering background; and Seth Furtney, for his past career as a contracts manager.
Readers can see that aside from Youssef’s proven impressive familiarity with Durango city government, the editorial board wants to add more business experience to the council. (Note that Youssef has business experience, too; she owned and operated a medical billing company.)
When it comes to new initiatives and expanding the old, Youssef is on board and leading. She is pleased with the city’s strategic plan efforts, and that the city is now preparing much more realistic budgets. She is approachable and knowledgeable and applies good judgment. Vote for Melissa Youssef.
Bosmans has conducted a low-key campaign with few yard signs and no advertising that we have seen. Perhaps that’s naïve, but it is refreshing. Bosmans’ foundations are his engineering and MBA degrees and his past national and international engineering and financial consulting work. He has bike-path connectivity and fire mitigation at the top of his to-do list and would keep at least a large part of the Mason School property and the fairgrounds (if its use changes), green. Inclusionary zoning and encouraging smaller housing units would aid workforce housing construction. Vote for Olivier Bosmans.
Furtney points to five years on the city’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, which has over the years greatly added to Durango’s appeal, with its green spaces and mountain parks.
Furtney focuses on infrastructure, favoring improved broadband and an additional water treatment plant. He’d increase housing densities and relax parking mandates.
We believe the community would have been better served if Furtney had begun his campaign by admitting that 14 years ago, he pleaded guilty to destroying an extensive length of private property fence to make a statement, but he is talking about that openly now.
Furtney takes a long view in his thinking, speculating that remote working will change Durango. Unused office space could become residential, he says, and the city could be partnering with developers to put some housing on city-owned land. He says water usage is declining even as the population increases, so detailed planning is needed before saying yes to a new treatment plant. Furtney would bring a broader horizon to council thinking. Vote for Seth Furtney.
Vote Youssef, Bosmans and Furtney.
H H HDurangoans should vote “yes” on the ballot question asking to more than double the tax on lodging to provide money for several purposes.
Community conversations – and letter-writers to the Herald – have made clear that more summertime tourism, when the town is already busy, is not what is wanted. Much better to develop sustainable tourism, midweek and off-season, mitigating peaks and valleys in visitor counts.
In any case, only 55% of the lodgers tax will go toward advancing tourism. There is a slice for public transportation, which is very much needed, and for the arts, with some left over for City Council to apply as needed in any particular year.
If the tax increase passes, the total sales and lodgers tax will remain lower than average in the state.
We believe the additional funding will be put to good use in several ways.
Vote “yes” on the ballot question on lodgers tax.