Carol Saade: Supporting the workforce, managing capacity and connecting the community tops the list
I have loved my home of 12 years, Breckenridge, and am proud to currently serve on Breckenridge City Council, lending my voice to the ongoing difficult conversations emerging from COVID and reevaluating our balance. As the youngest board member, I bring the perspective of someone who has just found their calling professionally and personally. I experience many of the same challenges that other long-term residents face as we build permanent and fulfilling lives. At the same time, I worked for a small local public affairs firm for the past five years. It has given me a deep understanding of how to be an influential leader in local government and how to leverage relationships with partner organizations and industry voices to shape policy and create positive change for our community.
I believe that anything the city council legislates should receive broad community input, be data-driven, and be fairly and scrupulously enforceable and enforceable. As a board member, my ability to listen and proactively seek advice from those affected by any policy serves me well in decision-making. The diversity of voices in our community makes us stronger – from the business owner to the longtime local, to the part-time resident, to the immigrant worker, to the recent transplant.
City Council decisions have a huge impact on the daily lives of our residents. My guiding principles are the objectives of our destination management plan created by the community and the larger vision: the harmony of the quality of life for the residents and the quality of the place for the visitors. This balance will always be my top priority. Here are some of my additional priorities:
Priority #1: Supporting our workforce residents and creating pathways to success
Here, I draw on my personal experience. I moved to this community in my mid-20s, picking up jobs from working at Clint’s to catering to the night shift at a hotel. I found a way forward to contribute to my community when I was able to purchase a home nearly 10 years later in Gibson Heights, one of the city’s premier workforce housing neighborhoods.
I believe in the city’s housing programs – buyouts, housing assistance, construction, public-private partnerships, land banks – and in continuing our efforts by planning strategically for our housing needs.
By supporting our workforce with childcare assistance and supporting the many partner organizations that provide community resources, we help support our businesses and the local economy. Supporting our immigrant population is part of these efforts; they are the quiet workforce essential to our economic prosperity.
Human capital is our most needed and valuable resource, as almost all entities (municipalities, nonprofits, small and large businesses) are understaffed, which leads to my next priority.
Priority #2: Manage our capacity for the future
In addition to straining our resident population, the growing number of visitors has overwhelmed our ability to support a strong workforce and is becoming an economic detriment. Our financial future lies in maintaining the high quality of the Breckenridge brand. With reduced opening hours, understaffed businesses and a stressed workforce, our brand is suffering. We need to put more emphasis on managing crowds and expectations, and reevaluate our direction.
Capacity issues are not limited to visitor management. They are reflected in our traffic jams, our empty grocery shelves and our crowded sidewalks. Capacity is clearly lacking when it comes to child care. There are nearly 400 children on waiting lists in the southern half of Summit County.
Priority #3: Build and strengthen our community ties
Our sense of community was built by the people who live here and they are our greatest asset. COVID has made community relations difficult. By continuing to organize community gatherings and supporting partner organizations, I believe the city can play a supportive role for individuals to build community. There has been a shift in the makeup of the community since the pandemic, and the city should strive to welcome and educate new members of the community while focusing on creating opportunities for current residents. .
Another of my goals is to focus on city communications and increase participation. Although the government demands transparency, the systems can seem confusing. I believe we need to be more proactive in our communications and solicit greater community input.
Carol Saade is an incumbent for one of three vacant seats on Breckenridge City Council. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.