Sound Off for Aug. 3, 2003

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Paying for history

I am calling to voice my opinion about the historic mill levy. I'm calling to say I am in favor of it.

A bad idea

I'd like to know whose brilliant idea it was to chip and seal U.S. Highway 40 near Hayden for nine miles after they recently had redone the road and there was nothing wrong with it. Didn't this town learn anything from the car races that were held a few years ago?

Flawed land exchange

There are some fundamental flaws with the land exchanges for Emerald Mountain involving the BLM. Land exchanges present a conflict of interest for agency personnel whose salaries and careers are on the line, for elected officials who count on campaign contributions for re-election and for citizen groups that want to save specific properties land swaps can be seen as a dilemma even for the private, nonprofit sector.

The relationship between corporations and the nonprofit sector are really ripe for abuse.

Salary isn't Fair

I find irony in the fact that American Skiing Co. doubled CEO B.J. Fair's salary. There have been cuts in budgets, staffs, services and, most recently, health insurance coverage.

I think it's interesting that a company in such a dire situation finds the money to double its CEO's salary.

Trade benefits public

Citizens to Save our Public Land claims that more than 19,000 acres of public land will be sold or exchanged. CSPL claims that more than 6,000 acres of that land have public access.

Do the simple math and anyone would realize that about 13,000 acres of that public land has no public access. It is the exclusive domain of bordering property owners.

CSPL says it has more than 400 members. Nearly all have a selfish interest in killing this exchange.

CSPL says that Western Land Group is the primary beneficiary of this exchange. Wrong again. The primary beneficiary of this exchange is the general public and, in particular, the majority of Routt County residents.

CSPL says that the BLM should re-evaluate the way it handles its business. It is difficult for the BLM to manage isolated small parcels of public land. The BLM Management Plan says that these lands are available for disposal or for trade for public benefit.

A land exchange like this is for the overall public benefit.

Tax questions

Steamboat Springs is one of the only cities in the state that relies nearly 100 percent on sales tax revenues to fund itself. As a result, Steamboat has to promote baseball tournaments, soccer tournaments and use event planning as its economic development model. These events target bringing tourists into town to spend their money to pay for our services.

When sales are down, our city revenues are down. A better revenue source is either 100 percent funding through property tax, which removes the burden of event planning and a tourist economy for raising revenues, or a mix of sales tax and property tax.

Done properly, the sales tax portion of the mix could target those businesses aimed at tourism.

A lodging tax, a restaurant tax, and a travel tax. Because more than half of the homes in Steamboat are owned by people who do not live here, the property tax is primarily a tourist tax as well. This mix would give Steamboat residents a break in taxes, and would free us from the need of promoting tourism as we do. If we choose not to go down this path, expect busier springs, summers and falls, because that is how we pay for our town.

Tom Ross fan

I wanted to say how much I enjoy Tom Ross' column. He always makes me smile Monday. Keep up the good work, Tom.

Tom Friedman fan

What happened to Thomas Friedman? You guys stopped running him. He's better than anyone else at The New York Times and a far sight better than Jeff Jacoby. You can drop Jacoby anytime, as far as I am concerned.

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