Letter: My thoughts on mountain towns blockading second homeowners
Consider this a second homeowner’s letter to mountain communities who want to act like Gunnison County.
While the country and mountain communities try to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, I applaud the Texas attorney general for threatening to file a lawsuit against Gunnison County on behalf of second homeowners who have assets in the valley and are selectively being blocked access to their assets in that county. I.E. Locals can pass but second homeowners should not enter.
These are people who probably only use their places less than 50% of the time while paying more than their fair share in property, sales and surcharge taxes that support the infrastructure and that the so-called “locals” all benefit from.
True colors come out when people are under stress. And the colors of Gunnison County are green. Green for greed. Green for dollars. Second homeowners, vacationers and outsiders are a common complaint amongst the “locals,” who likely moved there from somewhere else.
The true colors of Gunnison County and message it’s sending are clear.
We’ll take your money. We’ll welcome your property tax revenue, but when things get a bit tough, we won’t allow you to check in on or visit your asset and the community you’ve helped build through your monetary contributions. Stay away, but sent us your money so we locals can use it to fund improvements for us. We’ll let you back in when “we” decide it’s OK.
To all those “locals” who want to grouse about this letter, I’ll remind you that these outsiders are probably responsible for over 40% of your local funding. That beautiful school in Crested Butte that you send your precious children to and can afford so many wonderful programs is paid for in large part by those you loath and blockade.
Instead of 20 kids per class, it would be 40 kids. Instead of six 4-year-old police SUVs, you’d have three 8-year-old cop cars. Instead of the beautifully paved road, you’d have a gravel wash boarded road. Instead of six ICU rooms with six ventilators, you’d have three. Instead of the nice community center, ice rink, rec center, town hall, transportation center, fire station, you’d have nothing or shacks like you had before.
As an outsider in another Colorado mountain town, which instead of blocking it’s second homeowners, has “asked” them to be smart and reconsider coming to their second home only if they must.
I will be visiting Crested Butte later this summer and would encourage all visitors, especially Texans, to spend their hard-earned, non-Gunnison County dollars by driving in all of the food, booze and other essentials from outside the county and spending as little as possible while in Gunnison.
Use the natural and manmade resources for which much of you have paid for through taxation. A small change in your behavior won’t impact your stay but cumulatively it will send a big message to the so-called locals.
Instead of eating out for dinner four days a week, only go out two days. Buy only what is perishable or immediately needed within the county. Otherwise, drive it in from outside. That fishing pole you forgot in Texas, buy it from Amazon Prime or Walmart Online. The county may get some tax revenue, but the local shop owner (who probably loathes your presence in the county) won’t get a nickle.
When there’s a charity gala or raffle, don’t buy tickets. Spend your discretionary income on charities back in home at your primary resistance where they don’t hate your presence.
A few minor spending pattern changes will collectively send a strong message from the dirty, wretched unwelcome outsiders to the all-enlightened local Gunnison Valley community.
BTW, as a reminder, Gunnison County property taxes (like most in Colorado) are due April 30. Isn’t it ironic that while the second homeowner is blockaded from entering, they can’t even pay their property taxes in person if they wanted to. “Please, just mail or electronically transfer your payment we need your money but stay out of the county until we tell you to return.”
Lastly, most importantly and out of an abundance of caution, as a Gunnison County outsider, always be polite to the locals. If you see a local stuck in a snowbank, be polite. Wave as you drive by. For this is the collegial behavior that Gunnison County seems to be promoting.
— Jim Taggart, a Denver resident and second homeowner in the mountains
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