The opinion poll on the Pagosa SUN website this week asked, “What about the Town Council Decision on the Reservoir Hill plan?”
Out of the 620 responses received by noon Wednesday, 505 people (81 percent) said it was a poor decision and the plan is unacceptable, 59 people (10 percent) said that only parts of the plan should receive the go-ahead, and 56 people (9 percent) said the town should proceed with finding funding for the full plan.
“Whatever,” said Town Manager David Mitchem as he brushed aside these numbers when confronted with them. “That’s fine. We presented what we had, and the council made their decision, so we will begin to work on putting financial packages together to fund the project, and that will take some months to look at the financial options and solicit interest.
“We couldn’t do that before because we didn’t have a decision from council on what they were willing to permit on Reservoir Hill,” Mitchem explained. “Now that the decision has been made we have something tangible we can take to investors and granting agencies.”
When asked if public opinion, as reflected in the SUN poll, held any weight in the matter, Mitchem said, “The council has made a decision and they are beyond that point.”
He went on to tout the petition and poll numbers he had previously presented to town council. “We had a unanimous decision from the board of realtors, a unanimous decision from the Lodgers Association, and we had 49 downtown merchants say they wanted to do the deal. It is overwhelmingly in favor.”
When confronted with the popular opinion expressed in the SUN survey, Mitchem claimed his support, “was not just within the business community. The petitions we received, both for and against, were overwhelmingly in favor of the plan.”
However, he did finally admit, “There is no doubt there’s still a strong opposition, and I appreciate that. They love this community, too, and they are certainly entitled to have an opinion, and have a strong opinion. I’m all right with that.”