City Council At-Large: Ivancie surprised at lack of candidates

Councilman-At-Large Steve Ivancie has been in the minority on more than a few items during his two-year term on the City Council.

So when the self-proclaimed working-class candidate decided to run for re-election this year, he was more than a little surprised that no one wanted to run against him.

"It was very surprising and a little disappointing," Ivancie said. "A reason I ran was to show the average person if you care like I do, you need to step up and invest time and energy to make the community a better place."

In 2001, Ivancie beat Kathi Meyer by just 41 points for the at-large seat. After sitting through council meetings as part of his work as a project manager for Jake's Drafting, Ivancie said he felt the wage-earner viewpoint wasn't being considered. So, he decided to run that year.

"I am very serious about bringing my perspective to City Council," Ivancie said.

During his two years on the council, Ivancie has voted in the minority on some of the council's most controversial decisions.

He voted against the Triple Crown contract in 2002, said no to asking voters to approve the consolidation agreement between Mount Werner Water and the city, and, most recently, he was one of three council members who opposed giving the chamber $100,000 for a summer airline program.

When asked about the council proposed 3.55-mill property tax on November's ballot, Ivancie said locals shouldn't have an increased tax burden just so second homeowners can be taxed. He proposed that city leaders look at a phase reduction in sales tax that would be replaced by property tax over two years.

Regardless of the property tax outcome Nov. 4, Ivancie supports full funding for the fire and ambulance department, which he sees as a basic and essential service.

"I haven't heard any good things from people on what is now called the fire and ambulance tax," Ivancie said. "I am going to let the voters decide that. I will support the decision they make."

Ivancie has gone against the council majority in his views on chamber funding. The city continues to fund the chamber's marketing efforts with mixed results, he said. He would like to see the chamber find other funding sources, as have many other Colorado resort communities. He proposes dedicated sales taxes, increased lodging taxes, business licenses and marketing districts.

Those funds could be used to support transportation and resort infrastructure such as improvements to Ski Time Square.

"Those who benefit from tourism should pay for its costs and impacts, not rely on other people's money," Ivancie said.

Ivancie has said the city is too dependent on Triple Crown to maintain its summer economy. The city should not continue to build more fields with tax dollars on public land to allow Triple Crown to grow, he said.

Youth and adult athletics programs should not suffer so that the city can subsidize outside corporate interests, Ivancie said.

"When I see the way we are treated by Triple Crown management and manipulated, I have second thoughts about any growth in that relationship in the future," he said. "I don't think in the long term it is a healthy relationship for the community."

As far as growth, Ivancie said, the council must insist that responsible, managed growth pay its own way and the burden not be shifted on residents.

Ivancie believes a growth-control mechanism should be included in the community plan but is reluctant to condone growth caps, which he sees as forcing the cost of housing to increase.

"I am not quite ready to use that drastic of a tool. Our economy is very fragile right now, and people are suffering," he said. "I think we need to listen to what the community survey is telling us and not just use it when we feel it is convenient. There is a consensus there to maintain the quality of life we have here and grow slow."

-- To reach Christine Metz call 871-4229

or e-mail cmetz@steamboatpilot.com

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