Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Steamboat Springs I appreciated the Pilot & Today's editorial about Steamboat 700, its potential for providing affordable housing, and its true costs. You have opened an important issue: the actual costs and revenues produced by housing here in Steamboat.
Two separate analyses of the net cost of serving houses within the West of Steamboat Springs Area Plan showed that every new house will cost somewhere between $2,000 and $4,000 per year more to serve than it will contribute in sales taxes. No wonder, then, that Steamboat 700 was willing to throw in $50,000 a year in property taxes to partially offset the deficit.
But wait. It's not just West Steamboat houses that cost more to serve than they contribute. Every single house in Steamboat is also a net loser, tax-wise. That's why we rely so heavily on tourism to pay our bills; that's why we've never seen a tourism-related activity that we didn't like; and that's why any downturn in the national economy quickly forces us to make cuts in local city services.
The solution, which I have been trying unsuccessfully to sell for years, is an honest, objective, scientific re-examination of our city tax structure. Right now, it's regressive, unfair and unproductive. Steamboat 700 - and the house that's being built next door to you - will only exacerbate the problem. We can and must address this difficult and unpopular issue before it eats us alive.