Steamboat Springs The population of the city of Steamboat Springs has nearly doubled in the past 20 years, according to preliminary census figures.
Based on preliminary numbers, the city's population reached 9,815 in 2000, a 46.6 percent increase from 1990 when the last full census count was taken and a 92.5 increase since 1980.
The city, which ran a campaign last year to make sure the census count was complete and accurate, outpaced the county by about 7 percentage points. Deputy City Manager Wendy DuBord said the count never gets 100 percent of the people who live here.
Resort communities, she added, can be particularly difficult to count because the work force is partially seasonal and may not be around when the
census is taken.
DuBord said the census count may have been especially conservative because the count was taken during mud season when many of the region's seasonal workers are out of town.
"How about that? Forty-seven percent growth rate. That's staggering to me. How in the world we're going to address that rate of growth, I don't know," said City Councilman Ken Brenner upon hearing the news.
Growth, and all its implications, has been a major topic of discussion in recent City Council meetings, as well as a variety of community forums in the past two years.
While many enjoy the jobs and amenities growth brings, others complain about the traffic and "sprawl" that it creates.
The city is looking to institute impact fees to make growth (the building kind, not necessarily the people kind) pay for itself. At the moment, the city is unable to pay for many of the growth-induced capital improvements it needs to make.
"First of all, if we are interested in growth management, we must make sure the existing community is not giving a free ride to new people coming in," said Bob Enever, a local advocate for growth management.
As it is, the needs of new development, be they police, transit- or recreation-oriented, are paid for out of the sales tax-heavy general fund. With recent large-scale building developments, such as the new hospital and the Steamboat Grand, the city has begun to look at making new projects share the cost of new city services and infrastructure.
The impact fee would not help the city pay for its personnel needs, which have grown substantially in the past 10 years. In 1990, the city employed 77 full-time employees, whereas in 2000, 180 full-timers were on the payroll.
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