“I want good things to happen for our community and I want to make good decisions that allow us to be smart about how we grow.” Barbara Bynum is half-way through her term as an at-large member of the Montrose City Council. She would like to run for the seat again in April of 2020. Her past community service is broad including years on the Montrose School Board and the hard work on the Recreation District Board, creating the new Recreation Center.
She and her husband Kelly, an orthopedic surgeon, have been married 24 years. They have two children, Maggie, 21, who attends Scripps College, and Danny, a Montrose High student, who will be 18 next month. She is thrilled that Maggie landed an internship on Capital Hill this summer.
Bynum and her husband attended Occidental College in California where she majored in art history. “It is a great liberal arts education which really teaches you to think critically, to communicate, to write well and to research. You learn to draw interdisciplinary inferences with multiple pieces of information. While I could tell you a lot about Renaissance art in Italy it’s not so much that’s important, it’s all the skill you get while studying which I think I’ve been able to put to use.”
Bynum discusses the conversation the council is currently having about how to encourage companies to locate in Montrose. “We are getting a lot of inquiries, especially because half of Montrose has been designated an Opportunity Zone by the Federal government through the Tax Act. It’s basically a vehicle to provide investment in communities that are hurting. The governor looked at the census tract that is the north part of our city and said, if we could incentivize some development in this part of of the city, there will be a big rate of return. It will benefit the community and will benefit investors.”
The city can offer a company to hook up their water for free. It doesn’t collect real estate taxes so it can’t offer tax relief. “But we can say if you build a new factory, we’ll help you landscape the part that faces our city street. Then all of our community will benefit from having that trees instead of dirt.”
Boards with five diverse members may have contention but Bynum says that this council gets along well. “We’re civil, we’re respectful” she stated. “We’ve been able, since I’ve been on council, to talk things through and either come to a consensus or a compromise. We don’t have a lot of split votes on council. It isn’t because we don’t have different opinions about things but we can generally talk them through and agree to move forward. There’s not a lot of glory in it so we don’t have to posture—we don’t have to grandstand.
Barbara Bynum seems to be enjoying life. She says it’s fun to learn about the economic incentives, about public safety—she just met the three new police officers. She’s even fascinated to learn about the water treatment plant—what happens to all that sewage, she asks.