Bob Enever: Strike out fields


— I hope the City Council will not seriously contemplate building fields for Triple Crown. Consider:

- An earlier council built an airport terminal for Continental Airlines. Continental terminated service to Steamboat a few months later and left us citizens with a debt that we are still paying for. Why would anyone think that a deal with Triple Crown is safer than with Continental Airlines?

- The "first shot across the bow" estimate of $7.5 million might turn out to be an actual cost of $15 million or more: remember the Tennis Center?

- Why would we, the community, choose to make such a large investment in order to place the fate of our summer tourist business in the hands of one man?

- The much-ballyhooed $1.19 million of tax loss if Triple Crown goes away assumes that no tourist will come to fill a hotel room or a restaurant table, this at the peak summer tourist season of the year. Some will come because Triple Crown is not here.

- If there is some loss of business for a year or two (and there may not be), that would be because of the past short-sightedness of putting all the eggs in one basket. It is not a reason to continue to make the same mistake in the future. We must recognize past mistakes and move ahead.

- Would it not make sense to develop a long-term summer marketing strategy that uses the known marketing strengths of the community? For example, art galleries, music concerts, botanic park, fly fishing, biking, gondola rides, stables, llama-trekking. What about our restaurants and bars, shopping, free bus, balloon rides and guest ranches? Such a strategy would market to individuals, not groups, and would spread the risk.

- Such a strategy would bring visitors more compatible with the people who have bought condominiums here, who chose to retire here or who bought a home from which to telecommute. Many local business owners are included here. Together, these quiet people form a large segment of our population, and their views should be considered.

- The city's current budget provides a direct subsidy of $636,000 to the Chamber. This gives the City Council the right - nay, the obligation - to require a less risky summer marketing strategy.

Bob Enever

Steamboat Springs


elkeye 8 years, 10 months ago

Bob...if the City Council tries to spend millions of taxpayer dollars to build, upgrade and/or maintain fields for the benefit of Triple Crown without a vote of the residents, the residents of Steamboat Springs should use their right of referendum to bring any Triple Crown "ordinance" to a vote!

Interest in the question of Triple Crown is demonstrated by the opinions of those who chose to participate in the Pilot's "Question of the Week":

Should a four-field sports complex be built near Steamboat Springs Airport to help accommodate Triple Crown?


No 55% (292 votes) Yes 44% (235 votes)

Total Votes: 527

The issue is Triple Crown and not just the use of the Emerald Park fields by TC.

Hopefully, this is the last summer that we have to endure Triple Crown in Steamboat Springs.


another_local 8 years, 10 months ago

The city budget does not provide the subsidy to the chamber. The local business community provides it and the city passes it through. That money is the vendor fee that local business agreed to give up if the money was used to promote summer tourism; A decision that has worked very well for the community as a whole.

The tax impact of any group of visitors is one factor. Should TC move elsewhere, the city would have to work on ways to deal with the shortfall to be sure, but the tax impact is small comared to the wage impact. Wages paid as a result of visitor business is roughly 5X the sales tax collected by the city for the same business. We might be able to work around the 1 million in tax revenue, but giving up 5 million in wages would be considerably harder.

On the other hand, why ball fields would cost 2 million apiece to make is beyond me. That seems high by a factor of 10.


nofear 8 years, 10 months ago

My question to you, another_local, is how many times can we spend the "vendor" fee you speak of? That money goes to promote tourism by investing in the airline subsidies that are required to bring airlines into the Hayden airport. No airline comes here without incentive. If we give it back to the local businesses, will they be organized enough to actually use it to invest in the real need for our tourism? Let's see.

Let's not have the money go through the city coffers and out to cover the needs to bring airlines here, especially during the winter, let's see instead if our "Chamber of Commerce" can actually be disciplined enough to use business money rather than tax payer dollars to promote tourism. I have no faith that would happen. If it were not for the city handling the money, I do not feel that our Resort/Lodging Association would focus on the needs of retaining airlines. Why? Because there was no hue and cry when we lost the huge money and associated abilities to pay wages as the multi-million dollar Cutting Horse event left town. No upset registered by our Resort/Lodging group when the millions raised by the Vintage Auto races were gone. Both events known years in advance that they were leaving without new venues.

And what has our "chamber" done to replace them? Nothing. No new events. No investment in the future with anything to replace that lost revenue. They have just left us with one, consistent, summer event.

Mr. Enever has hit the nail on the head with his letter. Where is the long-term strategy? Why is the "chamber" willing to invest in someone who has never invested in the community directly but just functions by threatening to leave? Mr. King has not built a field himself, has not committed to doing so and only continues to threaten leaving the area. Why would we be more concerned about retaining that type of community member than those who have committed to become our neighbors? Groups like Strings in the Mountains deserve more of our financing and respect since they have committed to us with substantial investments and certainly bring an excellent tax-impact with them. I am tired of being threatened and am looking forward to the day we have a true chamber of commerce with plans and economic strategies instead of threats and weakness.


another_local 8 years, 10 months ago

nofear, the vendor fee has nothing to do with the airlines and never has. You have confused two un-related things.

You are correct that there is now a new funding mechanism for the airline program that flows through the city. Those funds are augmented by business directly to the tune of several hundred thousand dollars, so business is stepping up and writing checks (as they did for years before the air tax was ever passed). You don't think that the "Resort/Lodging Association would focus on the needs of retaining airlines"? Who do you think did it for all those years? It sure wasn't city council!

No hue and cry when the horses and vintage cars left? Your statement proves just how far you are from the discussion.

"let's see instead if our "Chamber of Commerce" can actually be disciplined enough to use business money rather than tax payer dollars to promote tourism" You need to inform yourself. Your statment proves that you do not understand the funding mechanism; the funds used by the chamber ALREADY ARE BUSINESS MONEY. The vendor fee is money the businesses agreed to contribute contingent on the use. It is not "tax payer dollars." The rest of the funds (the majority) are member dues.

Do you think that other events are just sitting out there looking for a place to go? If so, name them.

I agree with you more than you think about Triple Crown. They are important right now but we would survive the departure should it come to that. The impact would be larger than many realize though. I do not think we should be building a bunch of fields for them. On the other hand, the misinformation in the letter and in your post about the Chamber and it's funding is a distraction in this debate.

For a little perspective, the vintage auto races and the cutting horses ADDED TOGETHER did not equal one week of triple crown for economic impact. Both left for reasons tied to facilities. What the horse people wanted made even less sense than what TC wants when put into perspective with respect to the economic impact they had.


colowoodsman 8 years, 10 months ago

I agree with Enever. Money collected by the city should be considered a tax or the vendors should just collect and disburse it themselves. I also belive the City should get completely out of the tourism business. It is not fair to other businesses or industries. Why can't they stand on their own?


colowoodsman 8 years, 10 months ago

a_l, While I have to question the 5 million in lost wages, how much of that is already lost through foriegn and illegal workers sending their pay 'back home'? Taxes and wages could be regained from other tourists replacing TC.


another_local 8 years, 10 months ago


A "vendor" is a holder of a sales tax license. The vendor fee is the money that a sales tax license holder is paid to collect, record and remit sales tax on behalf of the taxing authority. It is like the 25 cents that a business that sells a fishing/hunting license gets to keep from the sale of the license for the same thing.

In the case of the sales tax vendor fee, the amount is 1/3 of 1% of the tax collected. (On a $100 sale the amount would be 15 cents in Steamboat) Sales tax license holders do receive this payment from both the state and the county. They used to get it from the city but agreed to give it up if the money were used to promote business through the chamber. So, this is money the businesses are entitled to and voluntarily gave up to be used as described.

Regarding workers, I agree with you on the illegal workers, but that is an unrelated subject.

Much of the $$ from sales in any business ends up in a paycheck. In a retail store, the amount is often 15% of sales. In a restaurant the amount is over 30%. My statement assumed that 20% of the money spent in the local market by these visitors ends up in a paycheck. If sales tax at 4.5% generates 1.1 million, those same sales would produce nearly 5 million in wages at that 20% assumption. Whether the correct number is 5 million or 4 million or 6 million, the impact is a lot greater than the tax which was my point.


ColoradoNative 8 years, 10 months ago

The survey speaks for itself. The TC people obviously have more strength in their lobbying efforts than the residents of this city.


nofear 8 years, 10 months ago


I truly appreciate your efforts to provide information about a confusing topic. My point about the vendor fee is exactly what you verified. You have described it as a fee no, a contribution no, a tax and the business community chooses where the money goes.

How is the public to understand when they pay fees and taxes that are not contributions and they have no say in the matter of how these fees are spent unless they are asked by ballot? My problem with the vendor "gift fee tax" is that it is just another tool used to manipulate the city when an event comes up for discussion that requires more money. It is not a request, it is an expectation; something that is owed to the businesses/chamber because they "give" the city money and if anyone disagrees, inevitably the threat comes out that the city and all its citizens will suffer the consequences of lost revenue. And their little dog, too.

You mentioned that "the funds used by the chamber already are business money." Who is one of the largest members of the chamber? The City of Steamboat Springs. Not business money, a_l, taxpayer money. Every dime of it and I hope you get back to me with a total of all those spent dimes. Don't forget to include funding the Main Street Program, sponsoring nearly every event including free concerts, attending to URA expenses and legalities, annual costs associated with the chamber, personnel costs in the parks and rec, finance and police departments to name a few.

I am tired of this scam. Do all business pay a "fee?" No. So, which "businesses are stepping up and writing checks" when the citizens are expected to invest every time? Please. Take the vendor "gift fee tax" back and prove me wrong by never coming to any current or future city council asking for additional funds for events or whatever the item of the moment may be.

The topic you didn't touch on is the main issue. Where is the plan? Where is an insightful, forward thinking, economically sound plan for marketing Steamboat Springs? How would anyone know if "other events are just sitting out there"? Why are we only looking at events? What about new businesses? Why aren't the business members who pay dues to the "chamber" irate? Why aren't they demanding a viable, demographically astute, visionary planned use of their dues? Instead, they are allowing our entire summer revenue season to be basically controlled by one business who continually threatens to leave if they don't get what they want.

We have got to stop doing things the way we always have and start doing things that invest in our future.

PS. About the cutters and auto racers; some mountain businesses paid their staff salaries through the first of the year with just those two weekends, hmm, more revenue with less impact from high end, return customers. We wouldn't want to encourage that, now would we.


another_local 8 years, 10 months ago

fear... you are deliberatly clouding the issue for your own ends.

The "fee" is paid by the taxing authority to the entity collecting and reporting the tax on the authorities behalf. The fee is for service provided.

Your use of parentheses around "give" as if that is not what happens shows your agenda. That money is given and it is not taxpayer money; it is earned money that business volutarily gave up to a specific purpose.

Regarding accounting, go check out the organizations you mention. Join them. Every dime is accounted for. I don't suppose that any single person agrees with how all of it has been spent; I certainly don't, but your implied cloud of smoke does not exist.

As far as city sponsorship of events and organizations; of course they do. Public money reaps a pretty darn good return on those investments too and all of us get better schools, bike paths, fire protection and open space as a result.

Why don't you become involved and bring some of your vision to the discussion. Sitting on the sidelines and sniping accomplishes nothing. Government does not open businesses, it enables them. The railroad came in here at great public expense to haul cattle. The forest service builds and maintains the most miles of roads of any entity.... to haul timber. Our city provides amenities like free bus service to haul tourists and locals. In the end, business employs people who pay taxes and the taxes provide services to us all.

I don't doubt a handfull of businesses did very well off the races and horses and nobody wanted to loose them. But the overall impact was still pretty small for the community overall.

Regarding which businesses step up for the air program, that is a matter of public record. Look it up yourself.


DISRAELIGEARS 8 years, 10 months ago

Bob - Bulls eye, buddy. Thanks for putting your comments together. There are enough hostages in the world already...


colowoodsman 8 years, 10 months ago

a_l, thank you for the claification on the 'vendor fee'. I am still a little confused. If Enevers figure of $636,000 (and my math) are correct the total sales tax revenue collected by the 'vendors' would have to be around $190 million. The $1.1 million attibuted to the loss of TC (for all of NW CO.) would be a 'drop in the bucket' by comparison. When you talk about lost wages, I don't think wages paid illegals is an 'unrelated subject" The roads the forest service builds are usually paid for from proceeds from the timber sales themselves and are a direct benifit to the public not just a handfull of merchants and their employees.


nofear 8 years, 10 months ago


I'm sorry you're cloudy. Your knowledge of the vendor "gift, fee, tax" is certainly extensive. The real topic is beyond that discussion. This city contributes significant taxpayer dollars in a multitude of ways to support a chamber of commerce who has demonstrated no ability to think outside the box. We are a destination resort experiencing flat skier days with community leaders in place that can only continue down the same, worn path.

7.5 million taxpayer dollars should be invested in long-term, broad reaching municipal infrastructure. At 2-3 million a mile, the widening of highway 40 comes to mind. That is the city's job.

The chamber's job is come up with marketing practices that help ALL of the businesses in a community be attractive and competative. Get me a chamber that will do that without threatening the citizens it is there to serve or the city that financially supports it.


stmbtprof 8 years, 10 months ago

Bob...very well said...I agree totally. Thanks for sharing your opinion and Audrey continue to be such an asset and inspiration to a community that now seems blind to much of the orginal beauty and vision of the Steamboat community and now are overwhemed in greed and tackiness of events such as Triple Crown. Please continue to fight the good fight.


ventrygirl 8 years, 10 months ago

Is it just my sneaking suspicion or could another_local be a loyal employee of the SSCRA?


elkeye 8 years, 10 months ago

When TC shows up this summer, I hope everyone gives them the Bronx cheer!

Anyone selling bumper stickers with three crowns crossed out?

If you are reading this Dave King...take your bat and ball and go someplace else, please.


blackthroatedwind 8 years, 10 months ago

Well said, Mr. Enever! You have put into concise, logical words exactly what all of the various folks who dislike TC have been trying to say in mostly illogical, poorly thought out diatribes.

I expect your letter may actually help elicit a much needed change in our lazy Chamber! Everyone is always screaming for more diversity in everything. How about a diverse portfolio in our summer tourist markets?! Sandy Evans Hall, are you listening?


stayinbalance 8 years, 10 months ago

Way to go Bob! I totally agree with you. Steamboat has such great assets to market, I do not think we would have any problem attracting large amounts of tourists. In fact, we could offer discounts or some other type of incentives to bring those tourists back once they know TC is not over-running town. I still have trouble with the huge investment the City wants to make for one entity. And that entity makes big money on these tournaments! If TC keeps growing like they are predicting, then they will outgrow Steamboat shortly and leave. Then we sit with our 10 million dollar fields, money that we could definitely utilize better elsewhere.


53native 8 years, 10 months ago

I've been saying for years, how many people does the TC crowd drive AWAY from Stmbt every year??? Every friend or family member who's ever had the misfortune to visit during a TC weekend for starters! Thanks Bob, for your usual insightful perspective and ability to see the big picture. It's SKITOWN USA, not BALLTOWN USA!! Dave King will never be satisfied.


colobob 8 years, 10 months ago

na na na na, na na na na, hey hey ,.................................


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