Craig Mayor Don Jones speaks at Wal-Mart's grand opening in Craig in November 2007. On Tuesday, the Steamboat Springs City Council discussed the future of big box retail in Steamboat Springs. A newly released economic development study showed Steamboat residents are divided in support for big box stores.

File Photo

Craig Mayor Don Jones speaks at Wal-Mart's grand opening in Craig in November 2007. On Tuesday, the Steamboat Springs City Council discussed the future of big box retail in Steamboat Springs. A newly released economic development study showed Steamboat residents are divided in support for big box stores.

Study eyes local economy

Steamboat begins to tackle tough questions about the future

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— Steamboat Springs is growing - that's no secret. What city officials are trying to nail down is how much, how fast and in what direction.

City Council members learned more about that at their meeting Tuesday night, when Economic and Planning Systems representatives presented the economic development study they have been working on for months.

"This is not intended to be the be all, end all of the conversation," City Manager Alan Lanning said. "This is the beginning of the conversation."

A key part of Tuesday's conversation was the future in Steamboat of large-format retail, often referred to as "big box" chain stores. Part of the development study included a survey of the public, which weighed in on the issue.

Residents were split: 45 percent of respondents said they should be allowed in the city, and 54 percent said they should not. One percent was neutral.

"I would have to say that's not a mandate either way," Dan Guimond of Economic and Planning Systems said in an interview Friday. "That just says it's an issue that I think the community is going to have to continue to address and make a decision about which way they want to go - realizing there are impacts either way."

Council members were divided, too, expressing a desire to protect local specialty business while stopping "retail leakage" - the flow of retail dollars out of the city. The study found that one-third of the money spent by Steamboat residents on retail purchases goes to stores outside the city.

The goal for the city, council members said, is to find a balance.

"With the amount of retail coming on market, we can let it happen haphazardly, or you can try to engineer what you want and try to attract some of those businesses," Council President Loui Antonucci said Tuesday. "If we can build a healthy mix, we'll stop some of that leakage."

Officials suggested large-format retail in the area was inevitable.

"If there's not a big box in the west of Steamboat, there's going to be one down valley, and we're all going to be driving to it anyway," Council Member Cari Hermacinski said. Hermacinski said she would like to see a more detailed study to determine what type of store would work best in Steamboat.

The city has a big box ordinance that stipulates any commercial development larger than 12,000 square feet be held to higher design standards and provide a high level of public benefit.

The council spent time Tuesday looking at what city residents have had to say so far.

The survey of the public, conducted in the fall, garnered a statistically reliable sample of spending habits and local priorities, Guimond said. Economic and Planning Systems sent out 3,500 surveys and received nearly 600 back. Community concerns that ranked highest were growth management, work force housing and traffic.

Guimond said high property values were causing a housing crunch for some.

"The middle class is still working here; the middle class is obviously being priced out of the housing market," he said at the meeting. "The question becomes, will the middle class stick around if they can't live and work in Steamboat, which is what they came here to do in the first place?"

He said prices were pushing people out of town and into surrounding areas. The economic development study showed that 75 percent of residential con-

struction was short-term rental housing or second homes.

"Employment is increasing, but there is not a commensurate increase in work force housing," Guimond said. "That will be addressed either by the marketplace or public policy or some combination of the two."

In addition to the hot-button issues of large-format retailers and housing for workers, the study highlighted some advantages Steamboat has over other mountain resort communities.

Although much city job growth is in the tourism arena, positions are being added in the business, finance, health and construction fields, the study indicated.

About 10 percent of the employment in Steamboat is location-neutral, which means the workers depend on sales outside Routt County or telecommute with a firm located elsewhere.

That's crucial, Noreen Moore said Friday. Moore is the business resource director at the Routt County Economic Development Cooperative; the group has been working on a livability index for the county for more than seven months.

Moore said the number of location-neutral employees shows that Steamboat has more than tourism - and even more than agriculture and other industries.

"The thing that we have that's attractive is that we're a real community, a community of children and families," she said.

Technology allows people to work anywhere, Moore said, and many are coming here.

"Before, if you wanted to do economic development, you asked, 'How do we get tourists in here?'" she said. "Now you might add to that, 'How do we take care of families here and children and safety - and make it possible for people to be able to talk to each other?'"

All of those questions could end up being part of the discussion. Guimond said his company would continue to work with the city to come up with a three- to five-year economic plan. Economic and Planning Systems will present a draft action plan in the next couple of months, he said.

Guimond said his company and the city were at too early a point to make conclusions or predict what that plan might look like.

As Moore's group prepares its index, she said, Steamboat and Routt County will have to reframe their talks about the economic future.

"This is a whole new world," she said.

Comments

another_local 6 years, 5 months ago

Woodsman, I can not answer the question of whether they represent the people of Routt county. In my opinion they are another example of "studying" rather than "doing" which we have way too much of around here. I can tell you two things though:

They do not represent me.

They are not funded by or associated with the Chamber.

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ColoradoNative 6 years, 5 months ago

Big Box ban = Keep shipping tax dollars to other cities.

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mtroach 6 years, 5 months ago

Is it legal for a property tax to be levied only on properties that are not occupied year round? ie. a second home/ rental pool property tax.

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 5 months ago

mtroach- I don't see why it wouldn't be legal. Unbuilt lots are taxed. It's a tax for owning the property...not occupying it.

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nightbird 6 years, 5 months ago

What would be so bad about having a "big box" locate down valley in a community such as Craig? If a Lowe's or a Home Depot decided to call Craig home you bet I would drive the 42 miles. It beats the 90+ miles I am driving now. I know that there will be some that would argue the loss of sales-tax collections would impact Steamboat Springs. Can you lose something you currently do not have?

I think Craig would welcome such a business. In addition the K-Mart in Craig is likely going to have a slow and painful death as a result of the Super Wal-Mart that opened last November. It seems to me that Craig will in a few years have the land as well as an empty 130,000 sq/ft building shell to offer a "big box".

We all need to remember that the road between Craig and Steamboat Springs runs in both directions. There is no need to be greedy. We are all neighbors in the Yampa Valley

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elk2 6 years, 5 months ago

As for affordable housing ,How about considering some kind of program where a person can build a secondary unit on their property (mother-in-law apartment) If they would use it to house teachers for a specified period of time,say 5 years, for reasonable rent. Just a thought. My kid came home from school last week and was concerned because she realized her teachers can't afford to stay here. So they move on. How are we going to replace staff at the schools? Just a thought.

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 5 months ago

Maybe because you live in Hayden and not Steamboat. You don't get a survey.

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MtnWarlock 6 years, 5 months ago

elk2, I think that the municipal codes for renting in residential areas, restricts additions for profit. There would have to be an amendment to or a stipulation redefining the verbiage of current laws covering this issue. I agree, new teachers have no place to go, without being stuck in a communal "ski bum" condo or townhouse with four or six people. Maybe the school district could build modular homes on the acreage they have next to Steamboat II! They could make them temporary housing, incase a new school were to built. They already have a house they rent on this property! They just need to plat it for more modified housing. Water and sewer would have to be granted from the metro district of Steamboat II. I don't know how well the county would digest that decision from the original plat.

sbvor, I am scratching head wondering about that survey as well! Maybe it was a "city thing" for those inside the city's limits.

All, I like the "big box" stores to shop at but, I don't feel Steamboat will ever faultier from their vision and the effects that obstruct that vision, leaving way for "big box developments here. In my opinion; anything that doe's not fit in with the Steamboat landscape, will be run off to the nearest town or county, or they will have to conform to the current restrictions, so the Steamboat pristine image will be preserved. Thats what I've seen here in all my years of residency. We will always have to "drive to buy" and that may change with the way oil futures and the economy direction! I've done it 25 years now, it's nothing new! Like everything, I deal with it like all of you do! Craig, maybe the only place near Steamboat, who will accommodate this! This template of development in Steamboat has a history of more that 25 years! It's kind of like the the City of Steamboat, is governed by one big home owners assc. (H.O.A.). Thats why I prefer county living myself! However, even the county is getting "anal" about some things. One can only speculate thats why our real estate prices are the so pricey!

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Tracy Barnett 6 years, 5 months ago

colowoodsman, you better check your facts. The Routt County Economic Cooperative is not part of the Chamber. Noreen was originally hired as the "economic gardener" and was housed within the Chamber but that changed a couple of years ago. Routt County and the City now share her and she DOES represent the people of Routt County as well as the City.

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colowoodsman 6 years, 5 months ago

Let's remember that Noreen Moore and "her group" are part of the self-serving Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association and is NOT part of Routt County Government and DOES NOT represent the people of Routt County!

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Gadfly 6 years, 5 months ago

The presentation showed that second homes, which account for more than 50% of our residences, pay 4% of our sales taxes. So that means our current tax system has those who can least afford it paying lots (4.5% sales tax on food, utilities, etc.) and those who can most easily afford it paying almost nothing. Ya think it's time to create a tax system for THIS century?

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ybul 6 years, 5 months ago

--The presentation showed that second homes, which account for more than 50% of our residences, pay 4% of our sales taxes.-- --Most of these properties are in the nightly rental pool (generating income and jobs).--

Yes they generate income and jobs. However, they also cause the price of housing to be unattainable by the average joe. Many properties are not in nightly rental, and their residents do not pay a proportional share for Police Protection, Fire Protection, etc. and they require the same to be spent as the year round resident.

You also do not need to get rid of the lodging tax, to institute a property tax as opposed to a sales tax. The lodging tax should be there as it is needed to provide the additional services the tourista's want.

On the big box issue, they should comply with regulations that keep the character of the community. Though I think that their are some criteria that would need to be met for a big box to enter the town. I do not know that their is a critical mass of people for many of them.

The lack of year round residents will probably keep the big box retailers out of town. Especially with the needed rent factor, from those new commercial space, and any potential new areas as the cost of land, will price most business' out of the market.

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SilverSpoon 6 years, 5 months ago

"With the amount of retail coming on market, we can let it happen haphazardly, or you can try to engineer what you want and try to attract some of those businesses," Council President Loui Antonucci said Tuesday. "If we can build a healthy mix, we'll stop some of that leakage."

Translation, I have to engineer a way to get people to spend money at Staples, before I lose a good big box renter.

Leakage, that means you were entitled to it in the first place. When i buy a car, in denver, they laugh at how much the city tax is. But the dealerships here stink.

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another_local 6 years, 5 months ago

54% to 45% is not a mandate? In any election it would be. The only reason it is not in this case is that the results are from a study that did not give it's sponsors what they were looking for. Alan "big box" Lanning should go work someplace where people want what he is selling.

All of these studies are a waste of time and money. Retailers will come where they think they can make money and landlords will rent to them when they come. We have only had an ordinace controlling size for a handful of years. The ordinance does not prevent any retailer coming here; it only requires that they make the building more attractive and provide some other public benefit. The simple fact is that there are NO examples of big boxes that have stayed away as a result.

Sales taxes work very nicely here. Locals pay quite a bit less than 50% of the taxes collected in the city. Visitors and 2nd home owners pay the rest. People who think that a property tax will hit second home owners are confused. It will hit all residential property which impacts everyone, locals included. Rents go up. But the group it really hits is local small business owners. For every dollar you collect from a second home owner you will collect another dollar from a local owner or renter and another $7 from a local business.

Property tax is passed through to the tenant in commercial property. The owners of commercial property don't pay the tax, they pass it to the tenant. Ask your favorite local shop or restaurant what they already pay in property tax, it will shock you.

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colowoodsman 6 years, 5 months ago

mimsgram- a search of the Routt County web site and the SSCRA web site turned up no official status or contact information for Routt County Economic Development Cooperative. Moore was listed as Resource Director of the Yampa Valley Economic Development Council but that web site was not responding. Please tell us if you can who are the members of RCEDC, how are they funded, what is their contact info and what makes you think they represent the people of Routt County?

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id04sp 6 years, 5 months ago

roach and sausage,

Property taxes on land in the county, vacant or improved, is taxed without regard to residence of the property.

Another way to look at this is that second home owners pay the same tax as anybody else (probably more for the nicer places) but don't consume the services except for the time when they're in town.

Also, I don't know many people who load up their cars with groceries in Kansas or Missouri and then drive to Steamboat to spend a week without having to shop in the local stores.

So, locals are probably getting better services AND cheaper tax rates because of taxes paid by second home owners. It may not be a popular thought, but it's true.

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 5 months ago

Those 2nd home owners aren't spending on groceries the majority of the year. Look at the City's site on sale tax breakdown- the Miscellaneous Tax Revenue, which includes groceries:

http://steamboatsprings.net/fileadmin/all_documents/finance_doc/prev_salestax_reports/2008_salestax_reports/Jan08_SalesTax.pdf

Compare it to the Lodging rental tax revenue. See how the Misc Tax stays pretty even except for December (Christmas dinner fixin's) while lodging fluctuates significantly? Even utilities don't fluctuate as with lodging- they stay fairly level during when accounting for lower utility use after the winter months.

2nd home owners also do an even amount of condo/home upgrade buying from out of town sources as they do locally, just like when locals go to Silverthorne...and yes: we do go to Silverthorne.

A city property tax would weather storms such as no-snow years, and be consistant for growing "needs" items such as sewer, fire, police, etc., which would allow sales tax to be used for the "wants" items.

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id04sp 6 years, 5 months ago

You are right. The city should have a property tax.

I guess the only thing about having a stable population year-round to provide steady sales tax income would be, where would they work? This town and county would never allow the kind of industrial development that would be required to provide enough jobs to support enough people to fill all the lodging units (less nigtly rentals) every night of the year.

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 5 months ago

They could work where all the J1's and H2B's work now, and we'd have a local workforce. There are plenty of jobs still open and not just the service industry jobs.

By adding the 700 "club," hopefully those would be in the more "family affordable" range, the City annexes it (and Silver Spur/ Steamboat II) adding more property tax revenue...and the added revenue can help pay for the traffic problem in conjuction with possible county/state funds.

Pure conjecture on my part, but it might end up working to everyone's advantage that way.

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techno_babble 6 years, 5 months ago

So, you support affordable housing initiatives AND a local property tax. Sorry, but they are mutually exclusive.

I am stunned that you would support a property tax AND a sales tax. Increasing taxes for decreasing services.

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424now 6 years, 5 months ago

As I said before 70 acres 1/4 acre lots 3 & 4 BR 2 BA Shotgun houses. I don't care if its behind a hill just put it within the city limits or at least close.

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 5 months ago

techno- I apologize; I should have made it more clear (as I have in past threads where I have said this same thing) that by increasing the property tax, the sales tax can go down...then be increased for "wants" as they come up so that tourists help pay a share, and locals can enjoy using them. The property tax would be a consistent way to pay for "needs" only. Nowhere did I even mention decreasing services. Not sure where you picked that part up from my post.

The 700 isn't an "affordable housing" initiative. It's just that if you put in that many homes on 1/8 to 1/4 acre lots for single family or duplex housing, you have the opportunity for working families to afford to live close (without restriction) to where they work. More working families that can afford to live here year-round means those families are a part of the year-round work force, negating the need for importing workers.

More working families might start up businesses in all the new retail space going in downtown and when Ski Time Sqr. gets rebuilt.

By the City then annexing those areas, implementing a property tax means more people to spread the tax over, either lessening it for all taxable properties or having more money to put toward traffic congestion or increasing the SST to expanded routes. Do you see what I'm getting at? It could be a win-win situation, overall.

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another_local 6 years, 5 months ago

If you want 2nd homes to pay their share here are two ideas:

  1. Enforce the existing rules that require property rented for any period less than 30 days in length to be licensed as a vacation rental property which has to collect the sales and lodging taxes. There are hundreds of condos and homes here including many managed by property managers that are not properly licensed and which do not collect and pay the taxes due on the business of renting them.

  2. Classify properties which are in the regular rental pool and primarily used as visitor lodging as COMMERCIAL PROPERTY (like hotels and motels are) rather than as residential property. These properties are income producing businesses. The tax rate on them would then rise by nearly four times.

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techno_babble 6 years, 5 months ago

keil -

"by increasing the property tax, the sales tax can go down"

but it won't - I can't imagine the city reducing the sales tax. I can easily see the city instituting a property tax. So, now the cost of living here would include a high sales tax and a property tax. And that was my point - the cost of living just went up.

I have a rental property (long term). If I get a city property tax, guess who will pay the increase. The same tenants that now pay the sales tax.

As to the decreasing services - sorry, that was my expectation of adding the "700 club" and spreading the existing services that much further. If we did create a property tax we could at least afford some more studies about the services....

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 5 months ago

That's why tax questions go to the voters. If the voters speak up saying this is how they want it to go, then it can happen. Just like me, you are speculating on what the voters can control.

And if you have to pass any tax increase to your renters, then if my scenario works, it's offset by lowering the 15-17% sales taxes they pay now on lodging down to something manageable. The URA/LMD could then also collect from a City-wide instituted property tax instead of skimming from sales tax or County applied taxes.

All it takes is a voter willing to make the change happen when elections come. If not, guess it's status quo and hope that the snow always is good.

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another_local 6 years, 5 months ago

Matthew... your facts.... aren't. You must be a renter who does not see the tax bill even though you end up paying it.

No thanks on the city property tax.

By the way, tax on nightly rentals (lodging tax) is nowhere close to 15-17% even including sales tax (which is also collected)

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 5 months ago

another_local: I work for a property management company and have been in the business for almost 17yrs, half of those working a reservations line. LMAO!!! Call 879-0740 Steamboat Central Reservations. Ask for a property in/around Ski Time Sqr. and for a property on the south side of the mountain, away from the LMD area. (Or call any property management company direct, since they won't require a package rate. Package rates are usually discounted and will not break out the separate portions- you just see an overall discount.)

Get the single nightly rate based on whatever the nightly minimum stay is. Do the math: 15.8-17.8%, depending on where the property is. Then come back and tell us what you found.

Any person who books directly with a management company that doesn't include having to get a package deal, will receive a confirmation that shows the nightly rate and tax breakdown.

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 5 months ago

Oh, and I say Central Res because I don't work for them and say to call ANY management company directly so as not to promote my particular workplace.

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another_local 6 years, 5 months ago

Go back to your own homework. The city lodging tax is 1%, the air tax on lodging is another 2%.

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another_local 6 years, 5 months ago

However, being in the lodging industry you are aware of how many units are being rented without collecting the 11.4% due on the rental... which was my point.

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 5 months ago

I'm not here as a spokesman for my company...just that I work in the industry and know what I'm talking about on how much TOTAL taxes/fees get collected per paid rental night. (Don't just say it's the 1% lodging tax- nobody pays $200 per night and end up paying $202 total per night.) If you have proof that tax is not collected, that's for you to prove to the City and not make unproven allegations for something of that nature.

And I'm not sure what you meant by my being a "renter who doesn't see the tax bill." Check public records: my wife and I own our home and don't own a rental property.

In fact, let's have techno-babble speak up on the total taxes/fees that either tech or tech's management company collects on that rental property.

So, did you call any company to get a quote yet to satisfy your curiosity? Anyone can do this themselves; it doesn't have to be another_local.

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another_local 6 years, 5 months ago

Matt,

I stand corrected on the renter comment. Sorry.

"Taxes" and "Fees" are two different things. The lodging tax rates are what they are. 1% city and 2% airline. All in all, our lodging/sales tax rates are not at all unusual for a resort area. As to whatever other fees are in there, I can't speak to it. Not knowing what they are it is hard to say, but I don't think the money goes to the city. If there is a booking fee or a cleaning fee etc, that is just another form of profit for somebody.

As to the tax not being collected, I am not referring to the bigger professional property managers but to the properties that are on VRBO and other such outlets. There really are a lot of them and many of them are not licensed. Some of the smaller managers of vacation homes have also been known to "overlook" the requirements as well.

It is not my responsibility to prove anything to the city any more than it would be to support the statement that there are people driving above the speed limit on US 40. If the city wants to change the behavior there are steps they can take. It would be in all of our interest for them to do so.

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techno_babble 6 years, 5 months ago

Keil,

I stated that my rental is long term - so I only pay the state and county property tax. A tax that is based upon the assessed value of the property. An assessed value that is steadily increasing.

You are probably correct in your assessment of the fees and taxes on (legal) nightly rental properties- especially near the mountain. I have not been close to the property management industry for several years.

So, how would yet another property tax on those properties be better?

The issue I see with your argument is that the total tax bill will not go down. Yes we might vote a property tax in. But we will NOT be asked to vote a sales tax OUT. And I don't think the sales tax has a sunset provision.

So, the local government will request a property tax in order to create a more stable source of funding and provide increases in services to newly annexed areas. My (and your) total tax burden will increase - it can't do anything else.

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 5 months ago

Okay- one last time: take away the Sales Tax (not just lodging, but overall city sales tax) items that would be attributed to a Property tax for all "needs" in this town. This decreases the overall city sales tax. Since the property tax would be a reliable income based on property owned and not on whether we can keep tourists coming to town, it will generate revenue that won't be subject to the weather or if we kick Triple Crown out of town.

My tax burden is something I can handle on an annual basis. It's called saving and knowing that it's a one time payment per year. This is especially true if I know that it's going to pay for infrastructure for where I live. I pay high sales tax every day, multiple times per day, all year long. If we end up "wanting" a Rec Center or other things that make Steamboat more popular to bring more people (remember- steady property tax income already going to alleviate infrastructure needs such as traffic, police, fire, etc.) then increase Sales Tax (remember- it's been lowered thanks to moving it to property tax) to have tourism help pay for those items. Bringing more people, bringing more sales tax revenues. No matter what: taxes will always go up- it's inevitable. This way, the income gets distributed as necessary in a fair manner for what locals need and for what tourists (and some locals) want. It keeps it separate. That way, if you don't want to pay the Sales Tax for "wants" you don't need- shop in Silverthorne. It's already done by many of us.

another_local: You were the one bringing up taxes not being paid, so if you think that and you think it's wrong, then you should do something about it. If not, why bring it up in the first place? Thanks to City Council's edict last year, all private home rentals going thru a property management company have the same taxes collected as any condo/townhome association that has nightly rentals. Again- if you know otherwise, why aren't you doing something about it, if it's that big a deal to you?

As for it being the norm...if a tourist saw that they could save a bundle on the taxes they pay between here and Vail or Aspen...well, where would you go? Price is always a factor.

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 5 months ago

Don't worry Bore- You live in Hayden, so it doesn't affect you. Plus, if you'd read- which you never do, otherwise you wouldn't allow your own links to give you up- it's a reallocation of taxes; not an increase.

Other plus sides- it might slow the brutal $1 million home prices for homes that should be half that. That would allow working families to afford to buy and live here. That would allow for a more diverse crowd, possibly bringing more year-round industries to Steamboat. More year-round industry, possibly even more sales tax revenue coming. That might allow for an EARLIER sunset on sales taxes that pay for "wants."

But people like you think about the now without consequence for the future, all the while pretending to be so interested while not doing anything but bitching and offering no solutions except keeping the status quo.

That's why your kind is dying out- sooner the better, so the rest of us can make the country this nation it was meant to be- a great nation that the rest of the world envies and respects. That's why you keep harping on the good stuff that can come about just to keep the nation stagnant, and rooted in the past. It's called fear...which is truly un-American.

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 5 months ago

Awwww...whassamatta, E? Coming down into the pit with "ad hominems" when you can't face facts that shame your way of thinking? Ohh, how the flighty have fallen. Maybe Coulter will come to kiss it and make it all better for you, but you'll probably have to pay her first.

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another_local 6 years, 5 months ago

With regard to nightly rentals going un-taxed, I was responding to the comments about second homes not carrying their share as an argument supporting other taxation schemes. If you are in the lodging business you know they are out there. I would think you would be the one beating the drums as not paying the taxes gives those rentals a price advantage over your employer. Perhaps a minor thing but it is out there.

On the subject of competitive prices and the markets we compete with here are the facts on lodging taxes around the state:

Vail 9.8% (8.4% sales tax, 1.4% marketing tax on lodging) Breck 10.8% (8.4% sales tax and 2.4% lodging tax) Aspen 9.6% (8.6% sales tax and 1% lodging tax) Telluride 12.4% (10.4% sales tax and 2% lodging tax)

It should be noted that Aspen and Vail both have airline programs funded by other means. I do not know about Breck but I suspect they depend on Denver for air connections more-so than the other resorts do.

The whole line of thought on sales taxes being unreliable is nonsense and is just a smokescreen for raising taxes. Sales taxes are exactly as reliable and predictable as the sum of the rest of the local economy. Because of combining and averaging out all the various parts of that economy, they are more stable and predictable than revenue for individual businesses. EVERY business in the private sector deals with it every day so you will find sympathy for the public sector whining on the subject to be very limited.

Sales taxes are reliably forecasted to small single digit percentages. That is plenty close enough for solid budgeting. Property taxes are not better in that regard and are also vulnerable to downturns in value. Go check in with front range communities on the subject. Property values have dropped by 30% in some markets. Do think home owners in those places are challenging the valuations on the tax bill?

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another_local 6 years, 5 months ago

A comparison of the income generated by taxes is also instructive: If a houshold in steamboat has an average income of something like 60K how much of that money is spent locally on sales tax producing transactions? Perhaps 20K at the outside? That will produce about $700 to $900 in local sales tax. In order to replace sales taxes with property tax (remember locals pay only about 40% of sales taxes) you would have to increase property taxes by more than $800. It simply does not work and it would cost locals more money rather than less.

For every million $$ in increased property taxes you are proposing here is how it would shake out for who pays:

Local home owners: something like $220,000 Second Home owners: something like $230,000 Non residential property $550,000
Nearly all of that non-residential property tax is paid by businesses. A typical downtown business owned by a local family and leasing a Lincoln ave store front pays about $16,000 in property tax on the space they lease. They make the same income as a plumber or an electrician but carry a much higher tax burden. That is who is really hit by higher property tax: not the second home owner as some think.

Steamboat collects ~20 million in sales taxes per year so you would need to increase property tax by that amount for the offset you propose... so an additional 4.5 million or so on local's homes comes to maybe another $1000 per home at a minimum and maybe another $6000 on the mom and pop retailer with 2000 square feet downtown.

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 5 months ago

Ah, but we're not eliminating the sales tax altogether, so that's still a funding source; we're just lowering it to a more reasonable level.

By implementing a City property tax, you then garner taxes from those 2nd home owners you want to make sure are taxed. That will bring in property taxes from all those $1 million homes, meaning they pay their fair share. Then there's also the possibility of the 700 annexation- add Silver Spur, Heritage Park, and Steamboat II into that annexation...a whole new slew of revenue.

It can be done...it was done in reverse in the 80's, when Steamboat eliminated the City property taxes in favor of an all Sale Tax revenue. That was to get people buying homes. Now? Those homes are bought and it's time to switch the revenue back to something more stable as Steamboat grows. Again- this might just help keep housing prices from going out of control, allowing Mom & Pop to afford their home in Steamboat, giving them the option to vote in the home where they work.

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snowysteamboat 6 years, 5 months ago

You folks seem to miss that this was thoroughly vetted by the Tax Policy Advisory Committee a few years back. The mission of the committee was to try to shift more of the burden to second home owners. What was found is that due to the Gallagher Amendment a property tax would hurt locals more because of the taxation on commercial properties.

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another_local 6 years, 5 months ago

Snowy is right.

Kiel... raising property taxes "might just help keep housing prices from going out of control, allowing Mom & Pop to afford their home in Steamboat" Huh?

Property tax is NOT more stable than sales tax despite what the folks that want to raise your taxes say.

Matt, you are mistaken. And that's all folks.... 'nuf said.

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another_local 6 years, 5 months ago

ooppps not enough said.... just took your invite, Matt, to look you up on the county site.

No wonder you think property tax for the city is a good idea; you don't live in the city.... so you would not be hit by the tax you propose (kind of like all those nice homes in Marabou over the hill from you or the ones in Dakota Ridge, Storm Mountain Ranch, Steamboat Pines etc etc) And you were sounding off to sbvor that "You live in Hayden, so it doesn't affect you"

my my.

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 5 months ago

If the annexation goes thru the way I said, I would get hit, also. I'm willing to sacrifice for the greater good. Hayden won't be annexed for at least a quarter century, I'd imagine. Homes in the south end of the mountain (Bear Run) and Sanctuary would get hit. Those are nicely expensive homes. Same with Silver Spur and Heritage Park.

As for the Tax Advisory Committee that researched this...if it was such a bad idea, why did they try to implement the first property tax for the Rec Center? And was this the same Committee put together by a Council that was voted out en masse?

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snowysteamboat 6 years, 5 months ago

Matt- The committee was in put in place back in 2004 or so. One of the reason the Rec Center failed was precisely because of the impact on commercial properties.

The Committee did not try to implement the property tax.

Come on Matt. Do your research. Do you even know what the Gallagher Amendment is?

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 5 months ago

Yes, I know the Gallagher Amendment put the approx 55% share of overall property taxes on business compared to the 45% for non-commercial properties.

The City Council who put the tax question on the ballot was the same Council (mostly) that implemented the Advisory Committee in 2004. This council purposely set the question in motion in order for it to fail. Nobody, including myself, truly believed it would pass. It's not that we didn't need a Rec Center better than what the current OTHS provides, but that it was to be funded purely by locals via a property tax.

So the Council who picked the Advisory Committee also picked the way to fund the Rec Center, in order for it to fail. That Council was ousted for what Steamboat locals believed to be a string of bad decisions. Connect those strings, and you see possibly an Advisory Committee set up to fail on a question to keep the status quo on taxation, whether purposely or inadvertantly.

I do my research and form opinions from those. I'm not an independent economist- evidently, according to Bore, they're all liars when they say a recession is coming. I'm just someone who looks for a bigger picture in the scheme of things to come, and am willing to share in the sacifice it will take to get it done for the benefit of all.

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snowysteamboat 6 years, 5 months ago

I would invite you to speak with members of the advisory committee. I am sure they would be interested in your assertion that they were set up to fail. You belittle the numerous hours they spent examining this question.

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