Last updated 8:22PM ET
December 12, 2017
KSUT Regional
KSUT Regional
Durango Business Sounds Off About Government
(2007-11-15)
(ksut) - HOST LEAD: Durango business owners and officials have sounded off against what they say is over-regulation that could kill Durango.
And those they feel are responsible for that over-regulation responded, during an economic development summit held Wednesday.
KSUT's Victor Locke reports.

ENGE: DURANGO IS ANTI-BUSINESS, PARTICULARLY DURANGO IS ANTI-DEVELOPMENT.
Janet Enge, Vice President of Summit Custom Homes was one member of a panel of local business leaders who vented frustrations Wednesday over doing business in LaPlata County, and in particular Durango.
The panel was part of a Wednesday Economic Development Summit exploring future economic sustainability.
Jack Llewellyn, director of the Durango Chamber, one of 11 groups sponsoring the summit, says business owners have complained about a disconnect with government officials.
LLEWELLYN: THERE'S NOT A REAL GOOD SENSE OF COMMUNICATION WITH THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY.
Those on the business panel basically say it's becoming harder and harder to do business locally.
Panelist Joe Lloyd, owner of Durango Joe's Coffee related how he found it much easier to grow his business in Farmington than to add new stores locally.
LLOYD: WHAT I TELL PEOPLE, IF YOU WANT TO START UP A SMALL BUSINESS, GET READY TO JUMP THROUGH A LOT OF HOOPS AND NEGOTIATE THROUGH A LOT OF DIFFERENT PROCESSES THAT COULD BE MADE A LOT EASIER IF PEOPLE WERE WORKING TOGETHER.
Enge concurred with Lloyd saying there's too many new regulations.
Everyweek, she says, is like Business Prevention Week.
ENGE: A CITY IS EITHER GROWING OR IT'S DYING. THERE'S SENSIBLE GROWTH WE CAN EMBRACE, THERE'S INTELLIGENT GROWTH THAT WE CAN EMBRACE BUT WE CANNOT HAVE A NO GROWTH POLICY, AND MANY OF THE REGULATIONS THAT I SEE, THIS IS MY FEELING, I SEE MANY OF THE REGULATIONS THAT ARE COMING DOWN NOW ARE JUST DISGUISES FOR A NO GROWTH POLICY.
Those comments by Enge and others were buttressed by Dr. Elliot Eisenberg.
He's an economist for the National Association of Homebuilders, who made an short but highly animated presentation during the summit.
EISENBERG: EVERY TIME YOU IMPOSE A REGULATORY BURDEN, HOUSE PRICES ALWAYS RISE, IT'S IMPORTANT TO KEEP IN MIND. AND WHENEVER THERE'S A NEW PROBLEM, THERE'S ALWAYS A DESIRE TO SOLVE IT, AND REGULATION APPEARS TO BE FREE AND EASY, WE'LL PASS A REGULATION, WE'LL JUST PASS A REGULATION.
On the other hand, Eisenberg said the economic impact of new homes is tremendous compared to the cost to government of providing services for those homes.
City and county elected office listened to the presentation from the audience, then it was their turn.
County Commissioner Kellie Hotter agreed with those concerned about over regulation.
HOTTER: TO ME, WHEN YOU'VE GOT THIS GREAT CUTE CHARMING COMMUNITY HERE, AND YOU HAVE IT START STAGNATING WITH NO GROWTH, YOU'VE JUST CREATED THE UTOPIA FOR THE RICH.
City Councilor Doug Lyon says it's vital to work with the business community.
LYON: BUSINESS IS VITALLY IMPORTANT NOT ONLY TO OUR COMMUNITY BUT YOU OUR DAILY LIVES BECAUSE BUSINESS PROVIDES US WITH LITERALLY EVERYTHING WE HAVE. BUSINESS GOES OUT AND THEY CREATE SOMETHING WHERE THERE WAS ONCE NOTHING. THEY CREATE WEALTH AND IT'S THIS WEALTH THAT ALLOWS US TO LEAD THE LIVES THAT WE LEAD.
Other councilors defended efforts to control growth.
Councilor Scott Graham says residents want council to preserve what they have in Durango.
GRAHAM: ESSENTIALLY THE EXPECTATION OF THE CONSITUENTS IS QUALITY OF LIFE. THAT REALLY IS WHAT THE PEOPLE OUT THERE EXPECT OF THEIR ELECTED LEADERS.
Councilor Renee Parsons:
PARSONS: AND I THINK THE NEWS THAT TARGET IS NOT COMING TO DURANGO NOW SPECIFICALLY BECAUSE WE DO NOT HAVE WHAT THEY CONSIDER ADEQUATE WORKFORCE HOUSING IS REALLY DISTURBING.
Llewellyn says he was pleased with the candid exchange among business owners, and he hopes to have similar summits in the future, so elected officials are certain about what's on the mind of the local business community.
LLEWELLYN: THE DOOR'S OPEN NOW, LET'S CONTINUE TO PUSH FORWARD AND DO FOLLOW UP WITH THEM.
From KSUT, Four Corners Public Radio, I'm Victor Locke.
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