Time Flies!

One year.

365 days.

8760 hours.

Time flies over us, but leaves its shadow behind.

                                               -Nathaniel Hawthorne

One year ago, April 7, I was honTime Fliesored to be elected as the second At-Large City Council member for the City of Glenwood Springs.This anniversary, along with other prompts have caused me to reflect on this year, and the circumstances leading to my decision to run for office. In many ways, this year has flown by.  In other respects, it seems like a slow slog through knee deep mud.

Three words were prevalent in my campaign.

STRONG.  CONNECTED. COMMUNITY.

To me these words were more than an empty slogan. Although they were words that could be strung together in one sentence, they were meant to stand alone. Each word has meaning for me. They relay my values and what I hope I have brought to this position.  In looking over what I hope to accomplish while in office, words that were written as I made my decision to run, I see that some things are happening, but there is much more yet to be done.

In this series I will review some council accomplishments as well as some things yet to do.

STRONG

STRONG, RESILIENT ECONOMY AND A FISCALLY SOUND MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT

Development Code Re-write: Among my goals in this area was a revision of the city’s development code. The need for this became readily apparent while I sat on the Planning and Zoning Commission. Most land use applications that came before the commission had at least six variance requests and some came with many, many more.Yard_sign The lack of new “attainable” housing units, is a perfect example of why not only the code but the process needed to change. This is currently underway.

City Financial Backbone: The City has been using software from 1987, with the last upgrade done in 2003.  The issues included lack of integration, resulting in hours of manual entry on the part of staff. Time and attendance reporting are not automated or integrated, which requires about 70 hours of time per month. The public cannot pay for utilities, park fees, building permits, etc., on line. Reporting is slow and requires extensive staff time. We are currently underway with a new financial backbone system and it will be implemented in phases over the next two years.

Budget Process: Accountability and transparency are key in this area. Council must be good stewards of the citizen’s funds. As council liaison to the Financial Advisory Board, I have advocated for more involvement  by this group of financially astute individuals in the city’s budget process. Last year was spent observing the current process and the board is in the process of making recommendations to City Council on changes that could be made. Additionally, with the help of Interim City Manager Drew Gorgey, this board is revamping the city’s discretionary and tourism grant process to provide clearer direction and more accountability.

STRONG RELATIONSHIPS

Local and Regional Partnerships: Building these relationships will enable us to collectively solve regional issues. This council and Garfield County have a good working relationship — even if we don’t always agree. Roaring Fork Transit Authority (RFTA) has also been a great partner in our work to obtain a permanent 8th Street Connection and resolving some issues for residents in the Cole Subdivision. I sit as an alternate on the RFTA Board.

Bridge Move

Pedestrian Bridge Move

I have met with fellow council members from Carbondale and Rifle to discuss issues in our communities. The City’s relationship with CDOT has been one of cooperation. We are facing a long, difficult construction period and we must maintain a good working connection with CDOT and their contractors.

The city is continuing to work closely with the Roaring Fork School District on various school projects, including a land swap which enabled Glenwood Elementary to remain a central fixture in our core. Both city and RFSD are working to resolve an issue with the designated park lands and finalize the swap.

Additionally we have been working with a group that is interested in seeing a Detox facility built in or near Glenwood. Players include Valley View Hospital, Grand River Hospital, Garfield County, Mind Springs Health, law enforcement agencies from Rifle to Carbondale. Sadly it appears that this public/private partnership is in need of a champion to carry this forward. The city is currently at capacity, as I imagine are other entities. Any volunteers?

I am participating in Garfield County’s Economic Development Partners, Club 20 and Northwest Colorado Council of Governments as well as many Department of Local Affairs and Colorado Municipal League events.

Partners4Glenwood (P4G) is another group designed to leverage local knowledge and talent to bring a fresh approach to issues impacting the city and to lend a hand when possible.

STRONG DIRECTION

City Hall is in a transition period, which is not easy. It is not easy for staff, department heads, the public or council. City Council made some major changes in administration this year, which was not without pain. When you are dealing with real people, and making major changes it is extremely difficult. We currently have an Interim City Manager, Drew Gorgey, who is doing a great job and moving some key initiatives along. City Council is in the process of interviews for a permanent manager and we hope to have that accomplished by the end of June.

Economic Development

While we have started the ball rolling, there is still much to be done in this area. Glenwood needs to continue working to keep our local businesses thriving and those, like Meier Skis, in town. According to Place Value, a report done by the people I now work with, Community Builders, there are new trends in economic development. It is no longer about seeking and courting the big dogs. Instead it is more about Economic Gardening and knowledge based jobs. It is about training people to do the jobs that need to be done. It is about the revitalization of downtowns, the core of the city.It is about making places that people want to live and work. We know the major problem that faces many of our workers  — housing. We must continue to work to increase the amount of attainable housing for our citizens

Stay tuned for CONNECTED & COMMUNITY and thank you for allowing me the privilege of serving you.

Come Together!

Well tomorrow’s a big day for me and I am very excited!!  Election Day!

I am not sure I will ever look at another election or Election Day in the same way again – whether I am involved or not.2015-04-06_1742

First, I would like to thank all those who have supported my campaign. I am truly honored by the support of the citizens and business community of Glenwood Springs. Your support, whether time or financial support or both have enabled me to reach hundreds of citizens with my vision of a strong, connected community. For that I am truly thankful!

Our community will have a new bridge in a few years that will bring countless opportunities and last long beyond my time on this planet.  Now it is time to work on building bridges of a different nature.

In recent months various issues have caused some polarization and division between citizens within our community, between local governments, and even within our own city hall. With such great opportunities ahead of us it is more important than ever that we come together and work together to make Glenwood the best place to raise a family, start a business or just enjoy life.

What are the differences . . . really?

Aiguille_du_Midi_passerelle

photo by Rémih, from wikipedia

For several months you have been trying to determine what the big differences are between the candidates.  While it is a bit of the eleventh hour there may be some of you still trying to make a final decision. Let me help by repeating:

We must come together.

Let me explain.  Council is divided from each other and from city staff. City staff is in departmental silos as are the boards and commissions.  The city and the county are still finding it difficult to work together.  There appears to be little interaction or cooperation with neighboring jurisdictions.  Citizens feel disenfranchised.  We need a bridge builder – that can bring people together.

    I am that bridge builder.

I am excited and have worked very hard to win this election.  I am the person to help Glenwood come together and work together to get things done.

A more effective government and better relationships starts by council, in spite of some philosophical differences, working together to define a vision, goals, and expectations of themselves and city staff.   It’s a small bridge to start with, but no less scary to cross. I am convinced we can build it and cross it safely and be a better, stronger, more effective town government for it!

Let’s build a few bridges together.  We all want what is best for Glenwood.  Join me in making Glenwood a

Strong Connected Community.

I would greatly appreciate your vote!   If you have not voted, there is still time. If you did not get a ballot, please contact the City Clerk, Catherine Mythen.  You can vote until 7 p.m. Tuesday!

2015 A Crucial Year for Glenwood Springs

I am not a huge fan of poetry. Some I get. Some I don’t.  But I remember hearing the Road Not Taken by Robert Frost for the first time in fifth grade. It clicked. It still does decades later.

two roads

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood . . . “

Both Glenwood Springs and I stand at the point where there are multiple paths before us.

Glenwood is at a crucial point. What does the future hold?  Change seems to be coming from all angles and at a pace that seems overwhelming at times. The new Grand Avenue Bridge alone could bring significant changes.  It can be exciting and terrifying at the same time.

I, too, stand at a pivotal point.  Choices must be made. Thoughtful consideration has been given, but ultimately, it is simply a choice.

“Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.”

So like Mr. Frost, years from now, I want to be able to say that I chose the road less traveled, and it made all the difference.

The Choice: To Run for Glenwood Springs At-Large City Council Seat

The choice I have made for 2015 is to run for the At-Large seat on Glenwood Springs City Council currently being held by Dave Sturges. Dave will be stepping down after two terms, eight years, on City Council and participation in numerous other boards and commissions throughout our area. Though not large in stature, he will leave immense shoes to fill. 

Sturges

Dave Sturges

In addition to having served as councilor, he also served as mayor pro tem, chaired the Transportation Commission, and served on the Planning and Zoning Commission for six years. He was a member of the Colorado Water Quality Control Commission and currently represents Glenwood Springs on the Northwest Council of Governments board. If that all is not enough, he is on the Garfield County Senior Services Committee, the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority and is a member of the Colorado Municipal League Executive Board. I am sure I have missed some things. See what I mean . . . enormous shoes! 

As a mediator and facilitator, Dave has tried to carefully and thoughtfully approach issues, listening to various viewpoints and then, ultimately choosing what he thought was best for Glenwood. He has worked tirelessly advocating and lobbying for what would bring the most benefit to the citizens of Glenwood Springs.  As a citizen of Glenwood Springs I am very grateful to Dave for the perspective he has brought to the table for eight years. Thank you, sir.

Four Seats Open

Todd Leahy - Glenwood Post Independent Photo

Todd Leahy – Glenwood Post Independent Photo

In this election, four of seven seats are up; those held by Todd Leahy, Ted Edmonds and Michael Gamba as well as the one held by Dave Sturges.

This is a very exciting time for Glenwood. The opportunities are endless!  There is renewed energy and

Michael Gamba - Glenwood   Post Independent Photo

Michael Gamba – Glenwood Post Independent Photo

vibrancy. Things are happening.  But we must recognize that change is not always easy.  For some of us that fondly remember Glenwood Springs as it was “when we were kids” – when there was a Christmas tree in the middle

of the intersection of 9th and Grand, a drive-in theater in West Glenwood and a tunnel formed by trees over Grand Avenue – comes the realization that our town has, and continues to grow — whether we like it or not.

Ted Edmonds - Glenwood Post Independent Photo

Ted Edmonds – Glenwood Post Independent Photo

Growth and change is natural, like birth. It is often a painful process to get to a beautiful result. The result must not only work for the present, but for the future – for my grandchildren’s grandchildren — and yours. The answers are not always as black and white as some would have you believe. But it is City Council’s job to see that policies are in place and decisions are made with the greatest care and consideration for what is best for the community.

Kathryn Trauger

Kathryn Trauger

I bring a vision for a prosperous, beautiful, dynamic Glenwood, balanced with a sense of our history and identity. I bring integrity and experience. I bring a drive to make your local government accessible, open and inclusionary.  It is time to break down silos. Glenwood no longer has the luxury to just let things happen but must have a clear direction.

I Want to Hear From You

You will hear more about me and my goals very soon, I promise.  But first, I want to hear from you.

Listening is an important part of what I do. What are the major issues facing Glenwood?  How should City Council tackle some of those problems? And maybe more importantly, what can we do to create our future — the way that we want it?  You can leave comments here or you may email me at ktrauger@rof.net or call me at 379-4849.  Please let me know. I really do want to know what you think.