Reality is a tough pill.
I sincerely hope the county commissioners learned a lesson during the recent road referendum when the voters spoke out so loud and clear. They weren’t only saying that we as a community were “tapped-out” and couldn’t support additional taxes and costs, I think they were telling Archuleta County officials that they just don’t trust them to spend the taxpayers’ money the way they promise and the way they should. DeBrucing was supposed to be a major answer to our road maintenance problems because we were promised that the addition of this funding could attack our county’s biggest problem — roads. In fact, it didn’t. Conversely, at that point in time, the threat of communities having to take over their own road maintenance was far too complicated and in the end, the local organizations would report to the commissioners. That meant going back to square one.
I have lived in Pagosa for over 30 years and have seen plenty of difficult times. However, somehow, roads got graded and snow got plowed. Now, despite all the “extra” funding, we haven’t seen a grader in two years and cries go out throughout the county by residents who get no response from county officials. It is now proposed by our commissioners that the county, to whom we pay our taxes, should throw up their hands and walk away from the responsibility of maintaining the very roads we pay them to maintain. Creating ten, twenty, thirty or forty neighborhood improvement districts will surely take a lot of time and expense just to set up and gain approvals, and I am not sure where we will find enough independent contractors with the knowledge and equipment to service these local needs. Certainly, passing the responsibility to large organizations such as PLPOA not only puts us back to another bureaucracy, but gives no proof from past history that they have more capability to perform any more efficiently than the county. Meanwhile, I can promise that the situation in our community will just continue to get worse and this will also directly impact the recovery of our real estate market.
Obviously, we need leadership at all levels in the county, elected and managerial. We need to establish our priorities, recognize our deficiencies and allocate our assets. That is what most of American companies have had to do in order to survive the Great Recession. Those that can’t display leadership and adapt to current conditions don’t survive. Those of us who love this town pray that Pagosa Springs never falls into that category. I am certain this isn’t the only “wakeup call” the commissioners have recently had ringing in their ears.
Alan L. Powdermaker