Local Council Candidates Weigh in on Environmental Issues

HC3 invited Summit County Mayoral and Town Council candidates to provide their input on local environmental issues.
See the questions we asked below, and candidate responses sorted by town.

1. Which climate action initiatives would you advocate for your town to prioritize?
Background info: Summit County Government, along with the Towns of Breckenridge, Dillon, Frisco and Silverthorne, adopted a community-wide Climate Action Plan in 2019.

2. Would you support Pay as You Throw and Universal Recycling policies to increase Summit County’s recycling rate?
Background info: Summit County’s recycling & composting rate is only 20%, which means 80% of our waste is still getting landfilled. This recycling rate is far below state and national averages, and our landfill is slated to close in 2056 unless we make dramatic changes. Our community-wide goal is to achieve a 40% recycling & composting rate by 2035. Pay as You Throw and Universal Recycling Policies are two proven policies that have substantially improved recycling rates in over 7,500 US communities.

3. Would you support a local Renewable Energy Program that would require renewable energy on buildings that use large amounts of outdoor energy?
Background info: See Renewable Energy Program fact sheet.

Jay Beckerman
  1. As a Town Council Commissioner, I would advocate for the Town to prioritize HOA and second homeowner efficiency programs and education in order to reach the most people possible on a single initiative.  Additionally, I believe the process for receiving positive points in the planning process should be improved upon, as the HERS rating system may not reflect our goals and objectives.  As a leader in the county, I would strongly recommend that the Town of Breckenridge lead by example on the most visible projects including, but not limited to the heating of the new parking garage.
  2. As a restaurant owner and operator for the past twenty-one years, I am a staunch supporter of glass recycling being a mandate of a liquor license.  My restaurants were also early adopters to composting in which our team works together to reduce our landfill impact by 50%.  Education and incentives to provide operators with the tools necessary to motivate the move to a more sustainable business community is crucial.
  3. Climate change is real, the Outdoor Energy Mitigation Program is a common sense way of offsetting some of the impacts caused by heated driveways, walkways, hot tubs and outdoor fireplaces.  The current development code, specifically policy 33R, incentivizes energy conservation based on indoor energy savings and disincentivizes excessive outdoor energy uses with negative points that we have seen can be easily offset with simple landscaping or even an EV charging station.  Sustainablility should be encouraged and the fee in lieu seems like a tool, but it should not be the only metric.  The planning and building department are still embracing the new building code that was not designed for Climate Zone 7 and adding a new initiative that sits on the current code may convolute it further.  It is important to view the program not just from the positive intentions, but the real life consequences and causes of the issues we are trying to solve.  If a property sits in the shade and is not a candidate for solar, should it cost the homeowner $30k additional for a hot tub?  Perhaps this is a time for reflection on Town’s practices of heated sidewalks, parking structure and gas vehicles and continue to lead by example.
Todd Rankin
  1. I would like to see the town continue to focus on renewable energy and increased mass transportation/mobility.  In the short-term, it is a goal of mine to fill all of the vacant transit/driver positions.  This will help our transit program be more successful.
  2. Yes, I support pay as your throw and universal recycling.  I think Breckenridge needs to be a leader when it comes to the climate change, recycling and renewable energy.
  3. Yes.  I would support either renewable energy on those buildings, paying for renewable energy credits or installing renewable energy somewhere else.
Carol Saade
  1. I’m currently prioritizing transportation strategies – strengthening Breck Free Ride and multimodal options. There are no boundaries to climate impacts/action, I will continue prioritizing working with and encouraging utility providers and the state to fight climate change. I co-authored an opinion column in the Colorado Sun on 2021 state environmental laws.
  2. I’m supportive of waste reduction and diversion. PAYT/UR policies have been proven to increase recycling rates in similar communities and vetted by local stakeholders. It’s essential that there’s support mechanism for implementation, a robust education strategy, countywide consistency, also, that recycling optimization is examined and equity issues are thoroughly vetted.
  3. I’m supportive of mitigating excessive outdoor energy use. The details of the policy are important – I’ll examine feedback from REMP roundtable discussions being held over the next few weeks with local stakeholders. Additionally, Town needs to lead by example, and indoor and outdoor energy codes should work together holistically.

No response: Tom Day, Ally Doolin, Jason Libby, Nathan Moorefield, Lenny Weisberg, Michael Zobbe

Town of Dillon

No response: Jennifer Barchers, Dana Christiansen, Mark Cribbet, Renee Imamura, Tony Scalise, Carolyn Skowyra

James Hayes Walsh

1.  I support all of the outlined initiatives.  Specifically, I would like to see a focus on public transportation.  There is only going to be more people coming to summit county in the future and we need to create effective, efficient, comfortable and free transportations solutions that incentivize their use.  However, I want residents to determine our way forward and would bring any solution that requires taxes, fees or is controversial to the public for a vote.

2.  I support this program and would vote yes if put on a ballot, but think giving everyone a voice on the matter is important.  I have spoken extensively with Waste Management about recycling and unfortunately only a single digit percentage of what is collected is actually recycled. It’s understandable if a resident were opposed due to the increased cost and lack of efficiency.  Allowing the public to vote on the issue is the best way forward.

3.  Yes, I support this type of program and would vote yes at the ballot box.  Again, I think it’s important to allow the community a voice and mechanism to participate in the decision making process through voting.  If forced to decide at the council level I would gather as much feedback from constituents as possible and vote in alignment with a consensus majority.

Andy Held

1. Any geologist will tell you that the planet is warming. Whether or not, you agree that humans are making it worse. It is a cyclical event. We need to figure out how to live in a warmer world. I received my Green Building certificate from the CSU Environmental program, 20 years ago. I am a fervent protector of the natural environment. As an elected member of the Frisco Town Council, It is my duty to attempt to help the government understand the true sustainable asset that caring for the environment is. I support all of the climate action initiatives. I would really like to see the shift toward living buildings and commissioned systems. As opposed to building the same way we always have and throwing “green” stuff at it.

2. I do support the Pay as you throw program. I voted in favor of the ordinance on the first reading. I am supportive of this initiative almost for the main reason of – at the current rate of trash that we produce in Summit County the landfill will be full and closed by 2056. There is no alternative plan for the future. Our recycling rate is dismal at 20%. This program can double that or more. How much does that divert from the landfill and what will the projected close date of the landfill be? I do not know. I believe every effort helps the cause.

3. Yes. In 2022 with the climate action initiative in place, there shouldn’t be any new buildings without renewable energies. The fact that we build new buildings and then put heat tape on them says it all. It is the only way for our country to become energy independent. Would a solar array on the roof even cover the cost of heat tape we use to make up for poorly designed buildings? We need to do better!

David Rolling
  1. I advocate for Recycling and Renewable Energy. I invested in bins (see image) and leverage Recycling Drop Offs. This dramatically reduced our waste so I know the effectiveness. We just received a quote from GAF Energy for a solar roof and are shopping for an EV.
  2. Yes.  While I have already personally invested in bins and PaYT will cost me money, I realize not everyone is as environmentally conscious. I prefer no cost/low cost alternatives, but do support HC3’s PaTY and UR programs.
  3. Before we create “required” policies, I want more economic encouragement. Governments need to provide leadership. Early adoption can be expensive, but with investments we achieve affordability. Disappointed Town of Frisco’s new development requires heat tape?!  Directionally I am supportive but will need to see the details before deciding.
Elizabeth Skrzypczak-Adrian
  1. I support climate action initiatives, and will seek out my priorities with more information but an easy one is ditching more plastic and trying to build more refillable water stations in town so everyone has access to them.
  2. I support pay as you throw.
  3. I support renewable energy programs in the county.

No response: John Hammett, Lisa Holenko, Joe Buck Phillips

Kelly Baldwin
  1. Personally, I advocate for all of the climate action initiatives for the Town of Silverthorne and for Summit County in general.  My husband and I try to put all of them into practice in our personal and professional lives, and we try to lead through example. Initiatives on the Climate Action plan can have more than one benefit to the Summit County resident. With my “town council hat” on, I advocate for all of the initiatives through a “phased in” process, and implementing those initiatives that have multiple benefits; such as encouraging the use of public transportation, carpooling, and alternative modes of transportation.  With gas prices on the rise and increasing traffic congestion, the transportation strategies give more bang for the buck to the Silverthorne resident.  Developing a healthy forest management plan not only assists with climate change action, but it also mitigates fire risk for the Silverthorne resident with a longer and hotter forest fire season.
  2. I completely support the Pay as you Throw plan.  Mandates, such as a “recycling mandate”, are not looked on favorably from the majority of the public at this time, so incentives need to be built in.  I am a proponent of usage fees and policies, such as with utilities:  You pay for the energy you use, so there is a financial incentive to use less.  With trash, I feel people should pay to dispose of the amount of trash they produce, rather than pay flat fees.  With Pay as you Throw, there is a financial incentive built in to reduce the amount of trash they dispose, and recycle more.  I also feel that any policy meant to encourage the majority of the public to do something “different” has to have conveniences built in; such as single-stream curbside recycling.
  3. I would support a local renewable energy program for outdoor energy use, as long as the program is phased in, fees are kept at “affordable rates”, and rebates are widely available and accessible for renewable installations.
Chris Carran

1. Frankly, all of them equally.  We need to increase the use of renewable energy.  We need to encourage the use of public transportation especially amongst tourists that have a single destination such as a ski resort.  We also need to encourage recycling and reuse amongst both residents and tourists.

2. I fully support the Pay as You Throw and Universal Recycling policies.

3. I would support it both for commercial and residential buildings.  I think that it should be encouraged through new outdoor energy use requirements and incentives.

Zach Kauk
  1. I support the Summit County climate action plan for the long term. However, a plan is not action. At the town level, we need to start with simple and effective steps including:
    • Increased utilization of recycling by implementing the proposed “Pay as You Throw” initiative.
    • Incentivize homeowners via local tax incentives along with existing state and federal tax incentives to add home solar systems to reduce emissions from power generation.
    • Incentivize renewable energy installation on new construction.
  2. Yes, I support increased recycling and believe that the “Pay as You Throw” initiative can help. However, I have not studied the potential negative consequences and would need to study those further.
  3. Yes, but I believe it is better to incentivize to achieve the outcome. Too many regulations can stifle innovation. I also believe incentives are better since each town and county in the area will have different regulations. If Silverthorne enacts a regulation that is more severe than the county or other localities, it will discourage businesses to locate in Silverthorne – and we want strong businesses to be in Silverthorne.

No response: Tim Applegate, Valerie Connelly, Tanecia Spagnolia, Erin Young

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