Jaime McMillan for Durango City Council






Meet and Greet with Jaime McMillan

April 1, 2019​​​​​​​

Hosted by Colorado Grow Co.

About Jaime McMillan

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  • Jaime's Father
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Jaime was born in 1967 in the small town of Albany, Georgia.  In his childhood Jackie Jones raised him as a single mother working for UPS as the first female truck driver in the State.  Seeking more opportunity and a thriving community she moved their small family to Charlotte North Carolina.  

 

Jaime went to public high school in Charlotte and later earned his degree in Political Science from N.C. State University; being the first person to graduate college in his family. He worked during college as an oyster shucker and waiter near the State Capitol in Raleigh to pay for college and enlisted in the Marine Corp Reserves serving in his local duty station.

 

Moving west after graduation he joined Charles Schwab & Co. and became a stock broker enjoying a 20 year career meeting with thousands of individual investors seeking financial advice and planning.  A believer in life-long learning , he later went back to school in his 30’s enrolling in Trinity School of law attending night classes four years earning his law degree in 2008.  

 

After a divorce and becoming a new father, in 2009 he set out to find a new home in Colorado deciding on Durango to open his business and a good place for his boys to enjoy the outdoors and a small town life.  

 

Today, Jaime enjoys working as small town investment adviser working with everyday investors to build financial security.  However, his proudest role is being an active father with his two boys Zachary 16 and Troy 15 who’ve grown up visiting Durango on every school break, holiday, or vacation and have become Coloradans in their own right over the past years.

 

Jaime also has a fortunate story of family re-unification meeting his birth father for the first time when he was 18 years old.  His reunion with his father U.S. Army Colonel Mike Howell now deceased who left an indelible impression on him of the importance of second chances and to find a way back to loved ones no matter the challenge.  

 

He is running for city council to ensure Durango and La Plata county continues to be not only a great place to live but also a great place to work and his campaign for City Council is focused on accessible housing, rural health care, and higher wages for middle class families of Durango and La Plata county.

 

 

 

 

What Does Jaime McMillan Care About?

"We're not going to wake up every morning wondering if we have a job, but rather wake up every morning wondering how many jobs we're going to be able to do".

--Marcus Lemonis  

 

Top 7 Issues:

 

Why I Oppose voting for 1A; a sales tax increase

 

Sales Tax A Regressive Tax on Lower Income Families

Sales Taxes are Regressive in nature; they disproportionately affect low income earners taking a far greater % of their income than the wealthier groups.

 

Sales Tax Can Lead to Higher Prices for Goods

The unintended consequences of sales tax increases may cause businesses to raise prices for lumber supplies, retail shopping, restaurants, sporting goods, hotels, cars, and retail marijuana.

 

Employers and Visitors Forum Shop for Lower Tax Jurisdictions

Employers want their entities and employees to be in communities with low sales taxes,  a reasonable cost of living, and essential services.   Increasing sales taxes could lead to forum shopping for lower tax cities.  Durango could lose customers, employers, and others to Bayfield, Cortez, and Pagosa Springs

 

Deterring Boomerangs to Choose Durango to Live

Durango needs desperately to attract a demography of  25-39 year age group that are forming families, starting businesses, and buying homes.  Over half of home purchasers are in this age group.  Their spending on housing, health care, and higher education is substantial.  We want them to seek Durango as a place to live and to work.  Our motto is “live hear work here”.

 

Revenue is the Issue and the Answer

The city collected $2,527,203 in Sales Taxes in the month of January 2018 compared to $2,480,216 this year (2019) about -1% decline year over year.  The realty is our top line is not growing.  In fact, growth is flat to zero.  If that doesn’t change direction soon, we’ll be in the same situation 2 or 4 years from but saddled with a combined sales tax of 8.4% if 1A is passed.  There’s a better way.

 

Establish Business Growth Districts

Our business districts are clearly defined.  South Durango provides 36% of the sales tax base, the Central Business District 31% of the sales tax base, and North Durango 13%.  The opportunity exists in North Durango in particular for economic development. 

 

I believe government doesn’t drive the economy but it can fine tune it through focus, priorities, and goals.That’s the facilitation the city council needs right now-today to align our business districts for the common purpose of growth, low taxes, and marketing Durango as a business opportunity zone.

 

My business is local as an Investment Adviser so my success depends on our city’s success.  My focus if elected is measuring my own success as a Councilor to create more jobs, more paychecks and for the coming years of students- higher enrollment rates in Fort Lewis.  The future can be bright if we take the difficult steps today; we’ll do it together, we’ll do it thoughtfully, and we’ll be unyielding in that purpose.

LOCAL ECONOMY 


The 3 H’s of life- housing, health care and higher education costs continue to rise in the real economy. It’s particularly impacting household formation of our young people.  I believe we can diversify our job base by strengthening entrepreneurial opportunity zones, creating awareness of Durango’s skilled work force, and demonstrating the resolve and commitment of Durangans to get the job done.


Hard skills like computing, knowledge work, science, and engineering are in need in the gig economy. Employers want affordable housing, quality of life, and recreation for their workers.  I’m interested in where our public investments by the city and county are being made for a strong foundation to attract the private sector.  To live here means to work here and jobs must always be our highest priority.


Homeless in Durango and La Plata County

 

According to U.S Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Colorado is the 3rd highest state in the country with up to 3,250 homeless families with children.  These rates tend to peak in the colder months of January and February.  Homelessness can fall upon anyone-young families, veterans, seniors and even students.  For our city council- I know all members have both a heart and head to tackle this issue.  

 

I see the solution is 2 steps.  First, seasonal homelessness rises in the summer or camping months, but that number falls during colder months.  Therefore, a small foot print shelter could accommodate a temporary but not permanent resident homeless station for basic living in a sanitary condition.  

 

The second step is to facilitate both a path and process for permanent shelter but only those seeking to work here and raise their family in here in Durango.  By way of example, the city of Cortez has spent years planning for their shelter using private donations, in kind labor, in kind construction.  That led to obtaining matching federal and state grants to bring their Bridge shelter into existence.  It took time but it happened.

 

We can kickstart two tracts for fundraising, one track a temporary shelter goal called Shelter One for immediate use and the second a long term solution  Shelter 81301 to assist those who want to make Durango or La Plata County their home.

 

However,  I do not agree with commissioning a study  to spend $70,000 dollars of taxpayer savings whereas those funds if any could be better put into a non-profit organization to be matched by private individuals and groups.  Those funds could double to $140,000 with $1 for $1 dollar matching- attracting more stakeholders and apply for state and federal grants.

 

I believe City Council’s first duty of government above all-is to ensure the public safety, welfare, and security of our community's citizens and it precedes all other issues.  If that pillar is strong and secure it makes solving other challenges-both more reasonable and attainable.  By common sense fiscal restraint and aligning priorities with citizens we can turn things around and position ourselves to tackle any challenge that may come.

 

FIDUCIARY OF PUBLIC TRUST

 

For over 25 years I have been employed as an investment adviser a profession built on trust, loyalty and a duty of care to clients.  Often, planning and meeting goals has to be accomplished on a limited budget and assets. A truthful discussion of what’s a reasonable investment and what’s not is large part of the job.  I’m also accountable whereby success or failure rests solely with my action and advice.

 

I believe being a city councilor carries equivalent responsibility.  It requires one to give thoughtful analysis of balancing revenue and expenditures particularly since we have no committee on ways and means for tax policy or a budget committee.

 

Recently voters have objected to recent requests for property or sales tax increases.  I believe the reason is less about the needs but rather the means. Households are financially stretched even in a good job market due to increasing costs for goods, services, and providing for their families.   

 

As a Councilor I pledge to find new ways to raise revenue through growth, keep public spending level, and work hard to earn back the trust of the people of Durango.  Once that foundation is laid then it’s reasonable to believe our citizen taxpayers will be more likely to support a necessary tax increase tied to a necessary objective.  

 

TRAFFIC AND SAFETY

 

Downtown Main Avenue 

Over a third  of our city revenue in sales tax comes from Downtown. It’s historical significance and attraction from the world over can’t be overestimated.  After speaking with local business owners there’s different opinions about how to improve the area and retain its charm. A consistent concern of our business owners is the adequacy of parking and safety.  I plan to focus on the issue working with business owners, our city manager, and police leadership to understand to find reasonable solutions to keeping Downtown Durango accessible, safe and thriving for both the community and visitors.

 

Transit and Trollies

The city of Durango reported sales tax collection of $21,953.62 annualized through November 30thof 2018; a substantial amount of revenue for a population of over 18,000 people.  State budget cuts to Durango Transit could lead to a $4,000,000 deficit by 2023.  This after raising minimum parking fines to $25 dollars.  The Trolley plays an important role in transit particularly among students, seniors, and residents of North and South Durango.  

 

Proposals to raise sales taxes or target sales taxes on specific businesses (I.E. alcohol, lodging, or cannabis) is the least attractive solution.  I see the Trolley as one of many solutions to transit. Many cities have embraced private solutions such as Zip Car ride sharing, Short Haul Buses, and even Scooters. For example, for every Zipcar 12 vehicle comes off the road.  That reduces CO2 emissions and reportedly shows increase in walking, biking, and public transit.  The city of Golden, Colorado is an example of effectively using both public and private means of transportation giving residents more choices to commute and patron local businesses and city services.

 

FORT LEWIS COLLEGE

 

Over 3500 undergraduates attend Fort Lewis College.  Every city is deserving of a local college especially one like Fort Lewis.  A local college provides many benefits including economic, social, and cultural benefits.  As a city, we value our young students and their contribution to the economy and community. 

 

Students and faculty also provide a tremendous resource of ideas, volunteering spirit, business acumen, interns, and leadership in exchange for “real world” experiences in our city government and companies which enhances undergraduate studies.  That kind of differentiation can make our college Fort Lewis College continue to be a great choice and hopefully also raise enrollment and transfer to the institution.

 

VETERANS

 

There are over 600,000 Veterans in Colorado.  Our State is exemplary in respecting and treating our service men and women and their families.  It’s important the city and county provide the best physical and mental care available. Long distances and service availability make access challenging.  Rural communities like Durango and La Plata county are mission critical areas for SW Veterans.  

 

However,  solutions such as the VA Choice Act along with Veteran out-reach, and local Veteran organizations collectively can make a big difference.  As former service, I feel strongly in providing the best opportunities for Veterans and their families to transition to civilian life.  Their needs are truly our own n as most Vets want a nice place to live, maybe start a family and securing a good paying job.  We’ve done a great job in Durango in that effort and I hope to continue that as a councilman.