Economic challenges facing Colorado's mountain communities
How can Colorado’s mountain communities manage commercial and residential growth in the face of chronic shortfalls in the state’s operating budget?

Our Future Summit invites you to join a conversation designed to shed light on these challenges at a public forum from 7 to 9 pm Thursday, May 8th in the Summit County Community & Senior Center near Frisco.

 We’ll enjoy the perspectives of two experts familiar with the long term implications of Colorado’s growing population and inadequate revenues to pay for public services.

 Jim Westkott, senior demographer with the Colorado Demography Office, will address the dynamics and complexity of growth in resort communities as exhibited by “residential economic drivers,” which consist mainly of second homes, but they also include retirees and Internet-based remote workers.

 While each of these drivers makes important contributions to the local economy and community, their effects are often missed or misunderstood. Most importantly, they create the need for a substantial increase in the workforce while, at the same time, cause housing prices to rise.

 The latter, in turn, leads to significant declines in the amounts of affordable housing that are available for these and other workers, increased traffic problems because of resulting long commutes, and wide-spread labor shortages because many workers cannot afford or do not chose to struggle with these two (housing and commuting) problems

 Carol Hedges, a senior policy analyst with the Colorado Fiscal Policy Institute, is a recognized expert on the effects of Colorado’s TABOR amendment.  Her current research explores spending and taxation in Colorado in light of fairness, efficiency and adequacy.  Her most recent report is entitled “Aiming for the Middle, Benchmarks for Colorado’s Future.” 

 Carol is the primary author of the Bell Policy Center publication, “Ten Years of TABOR: A Study of Colorado’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights,” a comprehensive study of Colorado’s fiscal and budget situation in light of the TABOR constitutional amendment. 

 She has experience in the philanthropic sector and in political service with Governor Roy Romer of Colorado, the National Governors’ Association and with Governor John Carlin of Kansas. 

Carol has a BS in Public Administration from Emporia State University and a JD from the University of Kansas.  She is a current board member for the Front Range Economic Strategies Center in Denver, a member of the Colorado Nonprofit Association’s Leadership Advisory Committee and a member of the Technical Advisory Committee for Governor Ritter’s Blue Ribbon Transportation Panel.

The May 8th forum is free and open to the public. Doors at the Community Center will open at 6:30 p.m. Light snacks and soft drinks will be available.

Our Future Summit is a “quality of life” institution dedicated to improving Summit County by providing monthly opportunities for informed discussion on topics of interest to the community.



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