Steckler sees traffic, economy, downtown as top issues for Glenwood Springs
(Editors note: The Glenwood Springs Post Independent concludes a question-and-answer series introducing the three new Glenwood City Council members. Stephen Bershenyi, Leo McKinney and Matthew Steckler were sworn into office Thursday. Because there were no challengers for the three seats, the spring City Council election was canceled. Q&As with councilors Bershenyi and McKinney appeared in Saturdays and Sundays Post Independent.) Name: Matthew StecklerAge: 42Occupation: Financial Services IT. Originally from: Indianapolis, Ind.How long have you lived in Glenwood Springs: Three years. Two years before in the Basalt area. My wife, Wendy, son, Peter and dog, Rudy, moved to the valley from New Jersey about five years ago as part of a lifestyle change. I worked many years on Wall Street, and grew tired of the urban lifestyle. Like many before us, we chose to stay after many years of visiting.Why is being on City Council important to you? I thought about participating in local government in a meaningful way for several years, but didnt really know how. The opportunity to fill Chris Chadwicks vacated seat seemed like an excellent way to get involved. I feel part of a very special, unique community filled with many folks who are passionate about civic responsibility, and local government policy and execution. I feel Ive acquired enough life experience (finally) to make a meaningful contribution.In your opinion what is the roll of a city councilor? In very general terms, I believe the council as a whole acts as a deliberative body designed not to make snap, reactionary decisions, akin to the role of a corporate or non-for-profit board of directors. We offer guidance and leadership on the big issues, but do not interject ourselves into the daily operations of the city.What will you add or what will you bring to council? I think we can do a better job communicating rationale behind council decisions, and collecting feedback from the broad populace on whats important to the community as a whole. Not every citizen reads the City Council meeting minutes to understand what initiatives were discussed and why certain decisions were made. To be sure, the Post Independent does an admirable job with reporting and analysis, but I feel the council should take a more active role in two-way communication with the public to better understand whats important to the public, in a broader scope, outside of the regular meetings. I feel the council is filled with members who care passionately about the current state and the future of our community. I hope to contribute as much as I can in the same vein as my predecessors and current council members.From a City Council standpoint, what are the most important issues facing the city currently? The biggest would have to be the economy. Since the city derives most revenue from sales tax receipts, tax collections to pay for city services can be volatile. How we manage our budget going forward is critical to the well-being of our city. Here we certainly need to communicate better with our constituents if, at some point in the future, we would have to change budgetary status quo.Number two: Traffic. Seemingly unsolvable, but critically important to the quality of life in our town. I dont believe we have the density in western Colorado to pursue any sort of mass-transit plan that includes any mode other than buses. Like it or not, the automobile will remain the primary transportation mode. Because of this, hard decisions about the Highway 82 bypass, which will negatively impact certain constituents, have to be made soon if we want to maintain the character of the city.Three: Downtown. Along with the Hot Springs, much of what is special about our community is derived from the vibrancy and livability of our downtown core. Traffic, vacant storefronts and empty offices impact what is special to locals as well as visitors. I think the city can find ways to promote vibrancy through fiscal measures and zoning adjustments, as well as explore some of the more creative ideas other communities have implemented to improve their respective cores.
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