Christopher Robinson (D) – Summit County Council Seat D
Christopher Robinson (Democrat)
Summit County Council Seat D
Question 1: What are your qualifications to run for a seat on the county council and why do you want to serve?
I am now completing my sixth year as a member of the Council, so I have firsthand knowledge and understanding of what the position entails. I bring to the job, not only this experience in local government, but extensive background in business (real estate, accounting, finance, transactions, problem solving, dispute resolution, agriculture, resource management, minerals, water, etc.) and community service (conservation, open space preservation, Olympic organizing, and church service).
I’ve enjoyed my tenure thus far and believe that there is much more work to be done given the confluence of a growing economy, the largest ski resort in the North America, regional planning efforts (Mountain Accord), new open space funding opportunities, threats to our air and water quality, and mounting traffic congestion. I will be an effective leader in dealing with these challenges and opportunities. We have a very bright future and I would like to be a part of guiding it.
Question 2: Now that the economy is recovering, are there cuts in staff, projects or services that you would reinstate? Would you recommend lowering taxes? Please be specific.
The recovering economy is bringing with it more construction, tourist visitation, and local residency. I predict that it will only increase in the foreseeable future.
The mission statement that we’ve adopted is "to provide excellent, ethical and efficient services that ensure quality of life for present and future generations." This mission cannot be accomplished on a "shoe-string" nor on a "penny-wise, but pound-foolish" philosophy.
I don’t envision a tax decrease nor a tax increase. We made necessary upward adjustments to our Municipal and Service Area #6 Funds to adequately maintain our roads and municipal services. We’ve already hired more building inspectors and I suspect we’ll need to make additions to our planning staff as well. I envision that we’ll be investing more money in transit and transportation infrastructure as time goes on.
Question 3: Are you satisfied with the county’s current council/manager form of government, why or why not and what would make it better?
I was fortunate enough to be one of the first five members of the Summit County Council. This form of government works very well. The addition of a professional County Manager serving at the pleasure of the Council has led to a better organizational structure than having a three-headed CEO in the form of the old County Commission. Interim County Manager Brian Bellamy did a great job during our first year (2009) while we recruited and hired Bob Jasper, who is retiring late this year after five years of service. The County staff is in better shape than ever to welcome a new manager (currently being recruited) and to build upon the strong foundation built to date.
We’ve made some minor tweaks to the County Manager’s powers and to streamline the process by which a County Manager is selected. I don’t see any need for other changes at present.
Question 4: If you could introduce one specific new policy that would help improve Summit County citizens’ quality of life, what would it be?
The biggest challenge to our quality of life is traffic congestion in the Snyderville Basin, together with it accompanying threat to air quality. The Great Recession brought a very brief hiatus, but since then, our traffic problems seem to have multiplied. Now with revived energy and enthusiasm in the economy plus the specter of the largest ski resort in North America and interconnected ski areas, it will only get worse.
We need to implement a transportation system that gets people out of their passenger cars to get around the Basin. We are addressing this in two collaborative processes with all the right stakeholders: through our long range transportation plan and as a participant in the Mountain Accord. I currently serve as Vice-Chair of the Executive Board of the Mountain Accord. In coming months, we’ll have lots to discuss to enhance transit and other modes to address the problems.
Question 5: Currently there are four council members from West side of Summit County and only one from the East side. Do you believe the needs of the citizens on the East Side are different from those on the West Side and are they being addressed?
It is wise that all five members of the County Council are elected at large. Council members elected by separate districts tend to be much more parochial — constantly trying to "bring home the bacon" for "their" constituents. Such a structure is more divisive and can overlook the big picture of what’s best for the whole county.
The County’s challenges and opportunities are very different between the two sides. In the Basin, the County provides a great deal of municipal services to suburban areas outside Park City’s limits. In contrast, the population centers in Eastern Summit County are mainly in the incorporated towns and cities — greatly simplifying the role of county government there. The Basin is mostly built-out, while on the East side there is a great deal more growth to come. I believe that the Council form of government will continue representing both sides of the County well.
Question 6: Please differentiate your platform from your opponent’s.
I have nearly six years on the Council now. I have a proven track record of leadership. I work very hard to be a cool-headed voice of reason. My public- and private-sector experiences have very well capacitated me to deal with almost every issue that comes before the Council. I work very hard to respect and uphold the rule of law and the Public Trust. At every turn, when faced with a difficult problem or great opportunity, I have been at the table – -anxiously engaged and with my sleeves rolled up.
Our Council’s greatest legacy from these past six years has been our open-space purchases (Stone Ridge, Hi-Ute, and Toll Canyon), the resolution of our decades-long water wars, and our sustainability initiatives. These are tangible, permanent fruits.
The next four years will be characterized by growth pressures like we’ve never seen before. Using our open space bond (please support it!), we’ll have the opportunity to further protect key open spaces and viewsheds. Regional collaboration on land use and transportation issues will be key in managing this growth. I will help provide the steady-handed leadership necessary to build upon our past and move forward towards a bright future.
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