Our View: City, county officials should focus on jobs

Advertisement

Editorial Board, August through December 2010

  • Scott Stanford, general manager
  • Brent Boyer, editor
  • Blythe Terrell, city editor
  • Tom Ross, reporter
  • Rich Lowe, community representative
  • Sue Birch, community representative

Contact the editorial board at 970-871-4221 or editor@steamboatpilot.com. Would you like to be a member of the board? Fill out a letter of interest now.

— The city of Steamboat Springs and Routt County have tasked some staff members with tweaking information in the Steamboat Springs Area Community Plan. Although this plan has value for government officials and the community, now is not the appropriate time to devote resources to it.

Rather, the city and county should focus as much as possible on economic and jobs development.

According to an article in The Denver Post this week, “Colo­rado should add about 10,100 jobs next year after losing more than 140,000 jobs the past two years, according to a forecast released Monday by University of Colorado economists.”

Even if jobs are coming back, they’re returning slowly. Routt County’s unemployment rate was 9.2 percent in October. The number of households receiving food assistance has more than doubled in two years, and the county’s human services staff members are scrambling to keep up with demand.

Steamboat Springs City Council member Bart Kounovsky spoke to this point when the city and county discussed the planned update Monday. He said Tuesday that he became less concerned when he realized the city would use existing staff members to update the plan rather than hiring outside consultants. Still, Kounovsky said he wanted to make sure the city continued its conversations about economic development.

“I think that the council spent a bunch of time and effort in regards to that already, and I don’t want to see that focus fall aside,” he said.

We don’t, either.

The council held an open house with the public recently, which led to an exchange of ideas about how to stimulate the economy. The city — and the county, where appropriate — should continue conversations about how to implement some of those ideas. This also is a good time to review city fees for permits and construction to make sure they are reasonable and not prohibitive for people who want to do business or build.

We’re not suggesting that the city has ignored the economy and residents’ needs. Kounovsky pointed to $40,000 in tax incentives for an expansion at ACZ Laboratories as an example of a positive step the city already has taken toward economic development.

“To me, that was a perfect scenario where we’re helping a long-term community business, and in my mind, we would get more bang for our buck in regards to helping those kinds of businesses,” he said.

We recognize that the Steamboat Springs Area Community Plan is outdated. The plan was adopted in 1995 and revised in 2004 at the end of a three-year process. The city and county aren’t planning a massive revision, but rather intend to update some of the information on which the plan is based.

We’re not against community conversations about the area’s future. However, most of the people in the area probably are more concerned about keeping their jobs and spurring the economy. A couple of questions our governments should continue to consider: How do we better compete for scarce business opportunities in this environment? What are the best policies that will create the best environment for business development in our community?

What we want to see is a firm focus on what’s most important to the community. The City Council and the Routt County Board of Commissioners have a lot on their plates. Let’s make sure they’re devoting time, staff resources and tax dollars to the highest-priority issues.

Comments

pitpoodle 3 years, 8 months ago

Perhaps the planning staff just needs something to do. Here's a thought, how about just leaving us alone for a while?

0

Fred Duckels 3 years, 8 months ago

For a long time I think that there has been a mandate to stop growth. This mentality will have to change in the future. Our coal mines may be falling on hard times, the construction boom may be gone for a long time, and our resort probably will not come close to covering the shortfalls. A city property tax would help. We are going to need to widen our scope. In the past we have had resistance to keep out employers that would compete for the local workforce. The path that we are on, may not be sustainable. I am not a big fan of growth, but we have grown to this point and we have no choice but to feed the beast. Shaking down those wishing to develop has been great sport in the past, but this is another day.

0

Steve Lewis 3 years, 8 months ago

A few months back George Hresko, a committee chair for Vision 2030, gave an interesting presentation of the Vision 2030 process and report. He noted, with some emphasis, that the 2030 results are very similar to the findings of the Vision 2020 report. This new effort by the City and County, if it plans to engage the community's input, will amount to little gain.

0

Scott Ford 3 years, 8 months ago

This whole process of discussing economic development strategies reminds me of a conservation in Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. In this literary classic there is an exchange between the Cheshire cat and Alice when they meet for the first time.

The setting is simple to envision. Alice stands at the intersection of several roads and is confused as to what road she should take. Cheshire cat appears and Alice asks the cat which road she should take. The cat tells her, "where you want to go and how to get there depends a lot on where you are and where you want to go." Alice tells the cat - that it really does not matter where she goes as long as she gets somewhere. Since it does not matter where she wants to go, the cat responds by telling Alice, "take any road and in time if you walk long enough I am sure you will eventually get somewhere."

As this story applies to our current situation, I am sure most of us know who is playing the role of Alice. I think I also know who the Cheshire cat is - but I am not sure there is agreement on this role.

0

Scott Ford 3 years, 8 months ago

Hi Fred - Without question, in all of the Colorado mountain counties construction played a significant role. Construction as an industry sector in Routt County for the past 9 years represented over 25% of the source of private sector personal income. As a source of employment, it represented on average for the same period 18% of all private sector jobs. That was then and this is now.

Although final numbers are still a few months away -we are estimating that in Routt County construction declined 46% income and 55% in jobs. To put it as simply as possible the top industry sector in Routt County has declined by 50%. Ouch!

In comparison to other Colorado mountain counties, Routt County's dependence on the construction industry sector was about the same. While most of our peer counties started to see a decline in this sector in 2008 - Routt and Summit counties were on an express elevator to new heights.

By the end of 2009 Routt and Summit counties had joined their peers in the sub-basement. Our rate of decline was just more dramatic because it essentially took place all in one year rather than being spread out over two. Most of our peer counties took the elevator down and we based jumped off the roof. A lot more thrilling to be sure.

Your point about coal is well taken. Mining is an important industry sector that over the past 9 years has accounted for on average 7% of total private sector income and about 3% of employment. My point is the Routt economy has survived a decline in the construction sector that is 2X of what mining accounts for as a source of personal income and 3X as a source of employment. The economy in Routt has contracted in both jobs and wages/salary by about 16%. The good news is that the local economy is like Timex watch; it has taken a licking and is still ticking.

During this decline there have been two industry sectors that have increased as sources of personal income. Professional/Technical & Scientific and Health Care. Each of these sectors now represents individually about 8.5% as sources of Routt County's personal income. Combined as generators of personal income they are roughly equal to the personal income generated from tourism activities.

In comparison to our peer counties - Routt County is weathering the recession equal to some and better than most. This does not mean it has been easy. Some individuals are experiencing very real economic and personal hardship. This simply means that conditions are a lot worse in some of our peer counties.

Here is a questions I would welcome yours others' comments and perspectives. What would have those of us involved in economic development efforts do? Moreover, your ideas on how success of those efforts can and should be measured?

0

Steve Lewis 3 years, 8 months ago

Hi Scott, Nice analogy. I enjoyed your literary fun and your facts. I have come to respect a lot about what this council has done, but in this analogy, I think it unfortunate that they are both Alice and the Chesire cat. They insist we are at a crossroad (in need of a plan update), and they will shape its final form. I hope their overwhelming employments in real estate and construction do not predispose this effort to stimulating more development.

0

Steve Lewis 3 years, 8 months ago

In my opinion, we are in a flux between the past 30 year's trends of easy money, and the future trends that are encumbered with debt induced headaches. At least today, we seem to have a healthy focus on sustainability in the new programs sprouting up in Steamboat, but who can tell the area plan shape that best advantages us or achieves community goals?

In the short term the conversation is going to be about jobs, jobs, jobs- and that is no recipe for a community's 20 year plan. We should hold off on the plan update until the national and local trends (and needs) take clearer shape. Spend our energy on jobs now. Plan the next 20 years after we have some view of the national mega-trends.

Tourism is again the key industry. Making that industry sustainable in the age of $8/gal gas is where you might put some thought.

0

housepoor 3 years, 8 months ago

Scott, With a declining population wouldn't you expect the health care segment to begin suffering as well? Do you have any #'s from YVMC on birthsER visits and surgeries?

0

ybul 3 years, 8 months ago

Hey the feds are focusing on jobs... S 510 will help to add 4000 FDA agents to enforce their Rules???

Kangaroo courts for violators

Once an FDA inspection occurs, if the government believes the food grower is producing anything that might pose a risk to the public (and note carefully that "belief" is the only thing required, not actual scientific evidence of harm), that food grower is then "suspended" from producing food.

After that, they get dragged into a kangaroo FDA court where a panel of FDA officials then decides their fate. This takes place with no due process, no attorney, no Constitutional protections and no rights whatsoever. This is, in every sense, a "King's court" where the King can simply decide that you're guilty and put you out of business.

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/030672_Food_Safety_bill_FDA.html#ixzz17gBBTy7h

Boy if they want to focus on Jobs then the first thing to do is to ensure Washington does not completely destroy this nation!

WE ARE ALL TOO NUMB TO EVERYTHING, OUR TECHNOLOGY IS DISTRACTING US FROM WHAT IS IMPORTANT.

0

ybul 3 years, 8 months ago

Sorry I am upset that our government is so bold to push through this crap!

FDA tyranny is on the rise

So essentially what we have here is a food tyranny bill that would hand a group of un-elected bureaucrats who answer to no one the power to control virtually the entire U.S. food supply. This is an agency, by the way, that is already responsible for the deaths of millions of Americans (http://www.naturalnews.com/030461_S...).

This is an agency that has participated in armed raids against natural product companies (http://www.naturalnews.com/021791.html).

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/030672_Food_Safety_bill_FDA.html#ixzz17gDvlJpR

0

sledneck 3 years, 8 months ago

You got it, poodle,

Just leave people the hell alone. How simple is that? Leave us alone, .... ..

0

Scott Wedel 3 years, 8 months ago

Steve, I think this is a perfect time to be thinking about 20 year plans. It forces us to consider local issues in the context of economic viability.

Scott F. If you want to learn what matters for this area's economic future then local economic development should visit Google, Oracle, Intel and Apple in order to ask those workers would they move to SB and what would be their top issues if moving to SB.

For instance, we rarely consider the local school district as a driver of economic activity, but in Silicon Valley the educated workforce will pay $200K more for the same house in a good school district.

Or cultural diversity and acceptance of immigrants, but in a different way than we are used to because it is not about being tolerant of the working class, but dealing with people that are likely to be smarter, better educated, harder working that may have grown up overseas.

0

ybul 3 years, 8 months ago

--In the short term the conversation is going to be about jobs, jobs, jobs- and that is no recipe for a community's 20 year plan. --

It has everything to do with a communities 20 year plan. Everything is interrelated and Vision 2030 does little to explain WHY we should do what it states we should do. As jobs were addressed in vision 2030, they were a primary reason behind the ski area to create jobs in the winter. Then the push for summer tourism to create more business activity and closer to year round tourism jobs.

The vision is what should be looked at when making a decision to build a sidewalk, refinish a road, recruit Apple to have an office here or to seek out more location neutral business'. just as Ford stated about Alice in Wonderland, without a vision of where you want to be in thirty years and what you value you have no idea what you should be focusing on to get there.

WE HAVE LIMITED RESOURCES, we need to make decisions that get us to where we want to be fastest. Go after the lowest hanging fruits first and then go after those that will be most difficult last.

i.e. purchasing land at howelson hill, building a sidewalk, etc.. While some idea may not seem to have the largest bang for their buck they might actually provide much larger yields to achieving the long term goal that is desired.

X dollars for Y is going to move us how far towards reaching on long term goal?

Could X dollars be split amongst several smaller things to provide greater yields in terms of movement towards a goal. On the tourism sustainability front, take for example a bakery, it might be difficult to open up because of the high fixed costs of real estate. However, this bakery can provide fresh baked goods to all of the restaurants in town. So to create a draw and help buoy main street a development agency buys the building and charges a below market rate for the space to grow a new business, at some point that business will be able cover all costs associated with operation - with the one time exception of the needed one time funding to add a layer of spice to the community to ENHANCE the tourism experience.

On the bakery, in San Francisco there is a great example of this in a tourism attraction of a bakery. Take some funds to build a silo to house the grains grown in our region to be showcased in the breads made here. Maybe you get good enough at bread that we backhaul bread to Denver on a produce truck that comes from Denver.

Take Beef then, this region beats out almost all others in its ability to finish cattle on grass (with results as good as grain - though it is not as brainless as dumping feed in a trough and as such requires someone with a little skill to do so). So why not work with local ranchers, in the region to develop a supply line and processing plant (that can handle the volume and is state of the art) that can then distribute beef to elsewhere.

0

Steve Lewis 3 years, 8 months ago

Scott, Ybul, My point remains that the community’s “goal posts” moved very little in the 10 years between the Visions 2020 and 2030. And then we hit this ditch. We’re still in it. Revising our plans about next week seems awkward while we are still trying to figure out how to get the car back on the road.

I do think you have a good argument for assessing long-term economic survival and staying out of the ditches ahead. But that doesn’t rate a revision of our overall goals, in my opinion, because our goals encompass a lot more than economics. This would be better approached as adding a chapter, and I would call it Sustainability.

0

Scott Wedel 3 years, 8 months ago

Steve, First, the ditch analogy is a false analogy because it asserts that we are just a little fix from returning to the freeway. A more accurate roadway analogy would be that neglect followed by a disaster wiped away the old roadway. The debris has been cleared so that it is a drivable one way unimproved roadway. It is going to take a lot of time and effort to rebuild the work into a freeway again.

Anyway, if it doesn't make sense to revise the community plans now because of the economic circumstances then aren't the existing plans irrelevant because they were done in different economic circumstances? I think doing one now will reinforce most of the previous plans. I doubt there will be any desire to develop the South Valley and so on. A few issues such as affordable housing will be viewed from a different perspective, but the old perspective during a housing boom is also flawed.

And some ideas on how to deal with growth should be addressed. County is looking at TDRs to bring development to SB's borders and stuff like that should be considered in the community plan. And maybe get some handle on the size and scope of Stagecoach as a growth area. How far and wide into the mountains from the lake area?

0

Scott Ford 3 years, 8 months ago

Steve - One of the challenges I see with updating the Steamboat Springs Area Community Plan (SSACP) is that there will never be a perfect time to do it. In addition, once the process is started the we need to limit its scope. If the scope is not limited, even the updating task can become herculean.

From my perspective, the SSCAP is a land use-planning document primarily. It is not a visioning document. It supports the greater community visions that have been articulated in Vision 2030 and whose elements are measured routinely and objectively in the Livability Index. If the scope of the SSACP becomes too broad, the guiding criteria become subject to interpretation and its usefulness as a decision support tool becomes defused.

The update of the SSACP needs to economic condition neutral. The SSACP is not the place to outline specific economic development strategies and areas of focus. I am not too sure it is the place to articulate items regarding affordable housing. I could be persuaded differently- but discussions become philosophical and I get lost in a corn maze of issues all claiming to be the most important one.

To be useful the SSACP must provide the framework for infrastructure need discussions. It should avoid the "who" and the "why" and only focus on what will be needed "if."

For example, putting provisions in the SSACP about business sustainability practices is silly. Putting provisions that any construction that takes place must have a specified percentage of local workforce and that a "living-wage" be paid is silly. All of these may be good things they just do not belong in a land use-planning document.

0

Scott Ford 3 years, 8 months ago

Hi House Poor - I have heard a host of antipodal comments about people leaving the area - I am sure that it is happening - the challenge is to understand the scope. We eventually get from the IRS very good population migration data. This data lags about 2 years at the county level.

I think it may be possible to calculate correlations using workforce data and the IRS migration data. I have not taken the time to do the necessary mathematical gymnastics. I would be surprised if there was not a correlation. I am unsure how strong the correlation would be and/or how strong it would need to be for us to use it for assessing out migration.

Mr. Scott W. may also have some insights - on a simpler way to objectively assess out migration.

0

Scott Ford 3 years, 8 months ago

Hi Scott W- I am not opposed a recruitment strategy targeted to high tech workers - wherever they may be living. There is a concentration of them in the Bay Area - Austin, TX and for that matter the Boulder.

The approach we have taken thus far has not been going to them - but once they express an interest -trying to provide them with the information they would need to assess our community as a place to live. One of the tools we use is the Routt County Livability Index.

Without question, we need a stronger web presence that would support their informational needs about our community.

As you have likely seen, putting a face on the location neutral business/employee is what I will be doing over the next 10 months with column "You Too Can Live Here" in the Local.

We know that the quality of the school system ranks in the top three elements they are looking for. This is a heavily weighted item in the Livability Index and an area where we excel. It is promoted.

There is only so much that can be done within the context of the current funding from the City and the County. I think your perspective of recruiting individuals is the right one. Trying to recruit businesses to re-locate here sounds "sexy" but it is hard for an established business to make a business case to move to an area that increases their cost. It is easier to grow them.

0

ybul 3 years, 8 months ago

I would contend that the goal posts are not that defined or better yet not well written out. Jobs can be a very broad definition and the current debate between Scott^2 about location neutral is not about the defined goals of the community that is here. That is about trying to find out what would bring in outsiders here (not that it is a bad thing).

To take a real example from a guy I am trying to help out (my fatal flaw) in twenty+ years he would like to see himself with 10+ horses and 300+ cows and a place to support them. This is his long term vision that I am working to get out of him. The question to this is why do you want 10+ horses or 300+ cows, this is not the goal, this is the means to the goal.

I think that the vision 2020 -2030 both state the same thing that we value this that and the other. But really fails to weave all of the items together and why we should. What is the purpose of building a bike trial or promoting summer tourism? To have more jobs, okay why do we want more jobs. What are we striving for?

What do we hope to gain as an end result of the jobs, beyond a roof over our head (and as opposed to the financial returns that housing used to be thought of, it will return to simply being an expense and shelter in the future) and food on our table.

What is the end goal of what we are doing.

What is the quality of life we seek.

What forms of production do we want ( those that either do not detract from our environment or those that enhance it)

What does the future hold (What is our future landscape that we would like to see - in a very broad standpoint of social, environmental and economic, etc landscape) - a community where a declining number of people need assistance - where the environment is beautiful - where people greet each other on the street with a smile.

That would be what I would consider a vision statement for the valley something that weaves those aspects together. While doing one thing may seem good at the time does it really move you towards the goal you are seeking, many times it will seem so on the surface, but without further monitoring it it very well may not.

0

Steve Lewis 3 years, 8 months ago

Ybul, Your farm and you represent the element I would be writing into the area plans - we will need to be more self reliant. But the broad rewrite you speak of is not possible in this budget. Big changes should only come with full engagement of the community.

0

Steve Lewis 3 years, 8 months ago

Scott W, I agree with your road analogy. This is going to be a long haul, and eventually will amount to a different economic road. Our difference may lie in one’s confidence of what that road will look like. I don’t see the freeway that you see. Eventually that flight from Boston to Hayden will require more subsidy than is economically viable.

As Scott F. notes, there is rarely a perfect time to update a plan. I would wait at least 2 years, as new trends will be more evident by then. A few trends are already obvious, such as the long-term value of planning sustainably. I think we can work on this now, because many of us have already started. The concepts behind the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council are only going to grow more important.

We have some early lessons on economic viability, which started yesterday for most local govts and businesses. They are still quite busy trying to get on their fiscal feet. Maybe these ideas don’t need to be in an area plan, but we do know that there will be a long-term trend toward efficiency of services.

But I’m against rewriting the whole plan now, particularly with an intentionally cheap “in-house” effort. I was told the last SSCAP update cost around $300,000. Real community engagement should go into any significant changes. Diane Mitsch-Bush has made similar comments.

0

Steve Lewis 3 years, 8 months ago

Scott Ford, I share your view on limiting the scope of this update. Should it also be economic condition neutral? I don’t think so. The original effort, at its heart, asked us what which town we should be: Should we seek a future of heavy growth, a future of moderate growth, or a future of low growth. We opted for the latter, at least in the plan.

I wouldn’t use a plan to venture strategies for the business sector. But we should acknowledge coming challenges for our remote economy and plan for them. Increasing our local agriculture makes too much sense. Why wouldn’t we endorse that in our plan? Diane MB has spent a lot of her time attending the state’s conversation on our future statewide transportation network. It’s critical to our long term interest. Why wouldn’t we endorse that effort in our plan?

I think a Sustainability chapter would be smart. It is the one obvious horizon we have from this point. Let’s work on the obvious. Not on guesswork.

0

John Fielding 3 years, 8 months ago

.

A recognition of the economic impact of the CDC is very important. In choosing the low growth model we had a negative impact on the climate for businesses, particularly those not closely linked to the resort economy. That has been one factor that has stifled diversification of our economic base.

Sustainability covers a broad spectrum. One of its important aspects is how many of the goods and services the community uses are readily available from within. We still have a lot of purchases being made outside of town that would be made here if, for instance, we had a Costco here. The reduction of local revenue lost and the attraction of shoppers from Meeker to Kremmling would produce a benefit that would offset concessions of hundreds of thousands in tax breaks in a short time. So do we support the big box model?

Another aspect that is in contrast to that example is how long a dollar stays in the community, how many times it changes hands before it leaves. Locally owned stores and locally produced goods help maintain that benefit. But we cannot produce a significant amount of the goods we use, and we cannot forbid corporate ownership of business. Our attempts to limit it in favor of the smaller business model is a major factor driving the leakage. Where is the healthy balance?

There is also a force that is often not recognized for the real potential it has, volunteerism. This community has a greater resource in that field than most, and removing obstacles to the efforts of these organizations can an even greater and more immediate positive impact than any other. When people are willing to give of their time and money for the good of the community, they should receive every encouragement possible. There is no better measure of a healthy community.

.

0

John Fielding 3 years, 8 months ago

.

John Ybul,

Thank you for your diligence in reporting the threat we face from the FDA. Is there any organized resistance, any legislators proposing bills that would curb the abuses or at least investigate them, anyone voting against the expansion of their authority?

And thank you for your encouragement for us to re-examine our perspectives.

.

0

ybul 3 years, 8 months ago

John,

Farm and Ranch Freedom alliance is about it.

Steve,

As you have said there was little change in in vision 2020 versus 2030. One simply needs to look at the data sets and put forth a vision of what it is that people are after.

Affordable housing comes up often as a topic. We are playing with so many variables all at once, the issue of affordable housing really comes down to is that we want people who work here to be able to afford to live here as is stated in the founding charter of the city of Steamboat Springs. that is the vision we are working towards. Does some of what we do make it more difficult for that to happen?

What needs to happen is a survey of resources and what we have and when it might be offline and how we could bring about a utilization of that capital and labor so that BOTH can have higher returns on their effort.

Then go after the low hanging fruit first. Many times it seems that people like to go for the home run as it is showy. However, it is much more cost effective to go after that single, or find ways to invest to create 1-5 jobs as opposed going for the home.

Take for example, the abundance of great restaurants here. However, these places have mud seasons associated with them. How can we help them eliminate the mud season? Possibly utilizing them to make pop in the oven meals to be distributed throughout the winter into Denver. That truck that then goes into denver with frozen product to be delivered like Schwanns could then return full of produce or something else and create a food distribution system for the valley/region that has an underlying base in the community.

In addition, what makes it easier for the location neutral business owner to live here and succeed also makes it possible for locals to have the ability to make a higher income and thus be more able to afford housing here. Making a decision to move towards one part of the future landscape of the community should not take you further away from other areas of your goal.

I tried and tried to make my previous ranch location work out. While it did for the first 7 years, for the last three, I have been moving very far from my other and more important part of my goal spending quality time with my family. By missing the mark by a little, while is seems we are moving down the right road, you end up far from the bulls eye. So without that final destination that Scott Ford spoke of above we are just on the hamster wheel of life chasing more and more of what I do not know.

0

Scott Ford 3 years, 8 months ago

Hi Steve - In the past discussions about the economy focused on diversification and viability. We have developed ways to measure these characteristics routinely and objectively. To do this we use Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) data that has allowed us to establish a baseline from which to measure. I really like BEA data because it allows for comparability to other mountain counties.

I know this, that if the measurement is too difficult to do it will not be done routinely. If it is done by a group with a philosophical basis there is the risk of the loss of objective. I would also like it to have comparability to other mountain counties.

For me it is very important to know how we are doing in relation to each other. For example, knowing that we had a 10% improvement in air quality is nice to know - however it is more valuable to know that when compared to other similar mountain counties although we improved the other counties improved more and now we are dead last.

What (routine and objective) measurements would you see using for "sustainability" as it relates to the local economy? On the assumption we can arrive at a measurement that meets the routinely, objective and comparable criteria what value weighting would you give sustainability.

0

Scott Ford 3 years, 8 months ago

Hi John - The economy in Routt County is diversifying. Beginning in 2001 the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) adopted the North American Industry Classification system. The NAIC codes identified 19 private industry sectors and 4 government sectors. This was a huge improvement over the SIC codes that were used. It allowed us to identify emerging industries sectors much better.

In the past 8 years the personal income from private sector employment activity in Routt County grew from $546 to $850 million During this time the Professional, technical and scientific sector as a percentage of private sector income grew from a 6.2% share to 7.6%. This particular industry sector encompasses many of our local Location Neutral Businesses.

The vast majority of these folks work out of their homes or in small offices scattered throughout the area. It is a large and growing industry sector we do not see it because it does not occupy a lot of physical space.

This industry sector is specifically dependent on the telecommunication capabilities of the area (broadband and cellular). As these have improved it is making it possible for more and more of these types of individuals/businesses to move here. What is an added bonus is that these jobs typically pay very well.

When one considers that personal income from all the Retail Trade sector in Routt County accounts for 10.5% of private sector personal income - having a sector that accounts for 7.6% is not chump change.

0

Scott Ford 3 years, 8 months ago

Hi John - I think we are zeroing in on how often a dollar turns "locally" in the community. Using data from the US Department of Labor on household expenditures and data from the Routt County Consumer Preference Study there is evidence that would support the conclusion that a dollar spent in the Retail Trade sector likely turns over .8 to 1 times at the most. Other industry sectors such as Health Care have a higher multiplier because the wages/salaries in that sector as a percentage of revenue collected are higher.

I have yet to calculate a composite multiplier for the county. It is on the "to do" list I will likely wait until this spring when the newest economic data is released for the county.

0

ybul 3 years, 8 months ago

Scott having a higher multiplier is good, it as I am sure you know it leaves out where that income comes from.

Health care is not creating/building overall wealth, neither is retail trade for the most part. Location neutral as does tourism brings in new dollars. Though tourism is subject to the health of the broader economy ($4/gallon gas).

BTW. what is sustainable, I think that the best definition is that it is profitable economically (I must interject that is without subsidy), environmentally (it leave the environment in as good or better condition for future generations, and socially.

So going to vision 2030, people want a clean environment (which is a facet of sustainability), generally like the friendly atmosphere of the community (which goes with a general sense of courtesy in town, which comes from a town in which people are not killing themselves from making ends meet) the economically profitable part.

0

ybul 3 years, 8 months ago

John,

So here is a good example of the absurdity of government regulation of the market. Guns drawn the police raid a food coop in LA, wow

Think what only the loons are part of the tea party, we are upset at our government and its dictatorial actions.

I was thinking of making a major investment in equipment, livestock and building upgrades, however, this legislation makes we not even want to.

Oh those jobs we need so badly and yet our government makes it difficult to want to make any investment.

0

Scott Wedel 3 years, 8 months ago

Scott F. I think overall it is rather obvious that money spent on retail has lower than average effect upon the economy because the item being sold is essentially being imported and most retail dollars being spent on at the large corporate stores which keeps even less in the area.

But, what is the multiplier for restaurants? That typically has much higher labor costs than retail and the wages are likely to be respent in the area.

Also, isn't the highest multipliers for hiring local consultants and such because then essentially all of the money spent stays in the valley for the transaction? Personally, I laugh when the same people that profess the important of leakage then spend money on Front Range expertise instead of finding similar expertise locally.

0

Steve Lewis 3 years, 8 months ago

Scott Ford, Hi. I agree with the value of measurability. Obviously measurability should not be the first criteria of value for a goal, or we would not have a SSCAP chapter on Community Design and Image. But it is very useful, so here is what I would measure in our local indicators: a. Which occupations show steady growth to date? Rate of growth? b. Which local industries show the most cyclical or sporadic growth behavior to date? Rate of variation? c. Which local industries have the most reliance on physically importing distant participants or products? Measure international, national, in state, in county, in city participation. Perhaps non-physical importing is a plus. Perhaps drawing in regional is better and drawing in more distant is good but also sporadic. d. How much of each industry’s dollars stay in the local economy, and how much goes into local tax revenue. What is the ratio of employee costs to gross revenue? Higher is better? e. Note and measure trends or likelihood hazards to industry, such as drought, high transportation costs, terrorism, or national recession. f. etc

0

Steve Lewis 3 years, 8 months ago

Scott W, ybul, I would think restaurants are much higher local multipliers. Labor is a much higher part of their cost. Same for agriculture.

I think the value of John Fielding’s Costco is also a pivotal question. Based largely on their use of centralized (i.e. distant) consultants such as graphic designers, accountants, upper managers, etc, and their use of distant banks, studies once showed that 14 cents of a dollar spent in a chain retailer would remain in the local economy, while 45 cents of the same dollar spent in a locally owned store would remain in the local economy. I refer to 2 studies around 2003 in coastal Maine and Austin TX, which both found the same numbers.

That’s a 31% difference in supporting the local economy. Its noteworthy that both store types are selling products made elsewhere, so getting more recoup than that 45 cents may be possible only by selling locally produced merchandise. I believe this study/calculation was about the owner’s ledger, and does not account for the respending that achieves the higher multipliers Scott Ford mentioned.

So a City might prefer the Costco chain store to fight sales tax revenue leakage. (The internet is a bigger problem.) A local bank would probably argue for the locally owned store model to increase the local dollars flowing through their hands.

0

Scott Ford 3 years, 8 months ago

Hi Ybul - I think your comments are very insightful. Any modern economy depends on new dollars flowing into the local economic system. There is a tendency to focus on the gross dollar inflow - rather than the personal income that result from that dollar inflow. I like to focus on personal income by industry sector because if the private sector is not producing personal income economic erosion begins to occur.

For example, in Routt County the Retail Trade industry sector produces about 10.5% of the county's private industry sector personal income for every dollar spent. (This is not a guess this is based on Bureau of Economic Analysis data that is extracted from our tax returns.) This percentage of 10.5% is a wee-bit better than we see in the metro areas where it ranges between 8.5% and 9.5%. The lower personal income is likely due in part to Big-Box influences - "everyday low prices" are not accomplished solely by buying in bulk.

Locally the focus is often to focus on the Retail Trade sectors to generate sales tax. OK, I understand this; however, sales tax revenues are a very blunt tool when measuring the health of an economy. From my perspective, the Retail Trade Sector has its place. Therefore, I do not expect any more or any less from it. It has been responsible as percentage of private sector personal income for the past 8 years in a narrow range between 10.6% and 10.3%. I only get concerned when I begin to see tax policy set economic development policy. This is a danger that can occur when sales tax and construction use fees are the primary source of government revenue. I think this government tax sources work - but we need to guard from having the desire for more government revenue drive economic development policy. Simply put - it is possible to grow the economy in the wrong way. Summit County is a close example of this.

Health Care locally - mainly thanks to Yampa Valley Medical Center - is an economic driver. Folks from outside of the area from Southern Wyoming to Eastern Utah come to YVMC for services. Those are imported dollars. To the degree, those imported dollars result in personal income the economy benefits from this activity. The Health Care Sector accounts for about 8.5% of personal income - and it has been relatively stable since YVMC was built.

I this really difficult for us to get our arms around the value of Location Neutral Businesses. Although they tend to congregate in the Professional, technical and Scientific industry sector they are not exclusively to just that category. What we can look at is IRS migration data. From year to year, the net seems to average since 2001 at about $30 million annually. What we know is that it does not appear to be folks coming here with "retirement" income because the percentage of Labor vs. Non-Labor sources of personal income has remained roughly split 80/20 for the past 30 years.

0

Jeff_Kibler 3 years, 8 months ago

Scott Ford: "(This is not a guess this is based on Bureau of Economic Analysis data that is extracted from our tax returns.)"

How is that data extracted? My guess is that a W2 to an employee (SSN) is traced back to an employer (EIN). The employer's tax return identifies a business code.

Couldn't Location Neutral Businesses also be identified via tax returns? Or at least an educated guess, given the IRS' "Principal Business or Professional Activity Codes."

0

Scott Ford 3 years, 8 months ago

Hi Scott W - You are spot on in your insights and comments. I like specifically the comments about outside consultants. There is a great tendency to view someone with a Boulder mailing address, fancy briefcase and a PowerPoint presentation as the "expert." I must admit I have on occasion been hired as the outside expert - However, I wore nice jeans and a Hawaiian Shirt - but I did use a PowerPoint.

According to industry benchmarking "standards" the Food Service component of the Accommodations/Food Services industry sector, salary/ wages account for 18.5% of sales. So spending in this specific industry sector does contribute at a higher percentage to wages/salary than Retail Trade which depending on the subset of retail store involved. Groceries stores at about 9% and furniture stores at about 13%.

A large discount retailer such as Wal-Mart or CostCo wages/salary are close to 9% with about 4.5% going to profit. (These ratios are very similar to grocery stores - which seems reasonable in the context of this discussion.)

Although this is a different perspective it is the one I look at when assessing the status of the local economy. For Routt County the Accommodations/Food Services industry sector account for 7.6% of private sector personal income. It has been at this same level for the past 8 years.

0

Scott Ford 3 years, 8 months ago

Hi Jeff - The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) is based on tax returns of those individuals that are residents. Your assessment about how income on W-2's is handled is essentially correct. We use a number of different data sources in assessing wage/salary but BEA data (although it significantly lags) gives us the best "picture" of the economy at the county level.

What I like about BEA data it is based on the individual's place of residence and not employment. An individuals' residense is where the greatest economic impact occurs. BEA data also identifies self-employment income (Sole Proprietors or single member LLCs) that is reported on a Schedule C and S-Corp data that is reported on Schedule 1020.

How all this gets glued together in the back end systems of the IRS/Census/BEA, I am not too sure but it seems to via linking SSN# / Employer EIN / W2-Control Numbers / County of Tax Filing.

Bureau of Labor Statistic uses information being reported by the employer for federal unemployment insurance. It is from this data that we get the job count and wages/salary paid. It does not pick-up self-employment. It is also based on the location of the employer and not where the employee live.

What we know from this data is that 93% of Routt County residents workforce work for employers located in Routt County. We know that about 49% of Moffat County resident workforce workout outside of Moffat County. I do not have access to see specifically what county they are working in - but I think it would be a safe assumption that a majority are working in Routt.

As a result portion (?) of the job loss numbers that are being reported by the BLS in Routt include folks that live in Moffat. We also know BEA data that Routt County is a net exporter of W-2 reported wage/salary. The most current data (08) Moffat had $102 million of inflow (imported). Routt County exported (outflows) $77 million.

It drives the Moffat County Commissioners a wee-bit crazy when I highlight to them that in rank order their biggest sources of personal income from W-2 wages in rank order are:

1 = Mining

2 = Routt County economic activity generating jobs for Moffat County

3 = Utilities

It is for this reason I typically try and look at the region's economy (Moffat/Routt) combined.

When working with employment data I always have to remind myself of the source (BEA or BLS). Mixing the two is like mixing grain alcohol with beer at a party - you can easily get a huge and painful headache.

0

Scott Ford 3 years, 8 months ago

Hi Jeff - I am sorry I did not answer your question. I am guilty of telling you how the watch is made when you only wanted the time.

Yes - Professional/Technical and Scientific gives us a good indicator of the scope of Location Neutral Businesses. It has grown from $34 million to $65 million in 8 years. As a percentage of private sector personal income, this sector is growing at a fastest rate.

0

Jeff_Kibler 3 years, 8 months ago

As you mine all this data, do you consider how pure the ore is?

0

Scott Ford 3 years, 8 months ago

Hi Jeff -

The purity "test" I use is three fold: 1.Guidance from economist Richard Wobbekind of the University of Colorado 2.Confirmation and credibility of the source of the data 3.Objective and how often is the data updated. (Annually is my minimum) 4.Does the data look OK compared to prior reporting periods and does it "reasonably" cross check with data from other sources 5.Comparability to other Colorado counties with similar social/economic/demographic dynamics. (Is the same things happening to a greater or lesser degree.)

There are very few perfect data sets. In the case of Location Neutral Businesses there is no data set I am aware of that measures the characteristics of this emerging economic trend perfectly. There are, however, data sets that likely measure traits of this trend such as the growth of this sector and the in migration of personal income into the county.

The other thing is that I give myself permission to learn. I discover or I am told about new data sets all the time. I try to remember not to torture the number beyond what they can tell us.

Data is simply a decision support tool. It can be ignored our used. Most of us every day check the temperature (that's data). If we simply want to know if we should put on a coat before going outside an inexpensive thermometer gives us enough data to be a great decision support tool. If we need to mix medicines at a very specific temperature a more expensive tool is needed. The later provides more "pure" data. The former data that is good enough. Typically when it comes to discussions about the economy we just need to know if should take the coat or go witout.

0

Scott Ford 3 years, 8 months ago

Hi Steve -

I will be the first to admit that not everything that can be counted really matters and there are some things that really matter that cannot be counted. However, there are two common mistakes I have seen made with our community visioning documents. (In this context vision and desired outcome are interchangeable.)

1 - There is often a vague notion of desired outcomes but the focus too quickly shifts to specific actions and the difference between an action and outcome become confused.

2 - Little time is spent on understanding the characteristics of the desired outcome. Typically if characteristics or traits of the desired outcome can be understood, it is possible to measure (characteristic/trait) as evidence of progress toward away from the vision/desired outcome.

It has been my experience that once an adequate measurement(s) is decided upon that measures (often imperfectly) progress toward the desired outcome - strategic planning becomes easy. This is because planned efforts become focused on improving the measurement and as a result tangible progress is made toward the desired outcome. We have to recognize that not everything that is tried will work - that's OK - it was just a tactic and it may be time for a new tactic.

There is an adage that has great application when discussing desired outcomes, 'You measure what you want to improve and you improve what you measure.' This adage helps me for getting lost in the "corn-maze" of discussion and focus on concrete actions.

In regards to your questions, with the exception of "C" these questions can be answered by data available to us and reasonable thought applied to the interpretation of the data. I need to think about "C" a wee-bit more - I think we can answer some in part. The present challenge is I do not have the bandwidth to answer these questions.

Think about this. Once we learn something what are the chances collectively as a community we would do something different?

It appears to me that our annual breakfast meeting needs to be scheduled. I truly enjoy our discussions and have a great deal of respect for your thoughtfulness and civility in the exchanges that take place in the blogs.

0

Scott Wedel 3 years, 8 months ago

Scott F. What strikes me about the data for Moffat County is the implication for Routt County. That so much of Routt County apparently is commuting to Routt County and that is probably to the mine and SB, and not so much to Hayden.

I recall other discussion regarding affordable housing and how others said that it was so important for workforce housing to be in SB. Well, with so many so far away then it would appear there would be a whole lot of demand for workforce housing with half the commute distance. So maybe Routt County should worry a whole lot less about providing it within SB city limits and be trying to increase the number of units quite a bit closer. And maybe the biggest question is why are so many people willing to commute so far when their closer options would appear to save enough on cost of commuting to actually be cheaper.

0

John Fielding 3 years, 8 months ago

.

Lewi's observation that the internet is a bigger problem for loss of potential sales tax revenues than locals driving to places like Gypsum, Avon or Silverthorn to buy at big box and factory store retailers ought to be addressed. I am not sure how one calculates the volume of purchasing done online, but I know some jurisdictions have collected sales tax on that commerce. I have heard of challenges to its legality and resistance by some vendors refusing to sell in those areas, but I don't know where it stands now. I remember in the days of mail order some places charged tax too. My wife says it is taxation without representation, but I see little difference from a business owner who rents a small store and lives out of town thus having no vote in city affairs. They both use the city streets to do their business, one via UPS.

If other localities can tax internet sales, can we? What would it take in the collections department? I see no reason we should not.

Lets take measures to solve leakage by making it just as convenient and economical to shop locally as elsewhere.

0

chickadee 3 years, 8 months ago

Routt County contributed very much to economic development and job growth during 2009-2010--for some out of town law firm. The estimated million or so in legal fees the County has or will have paid when the Connell suit runs through an appeal will have enriched a few law partners and provided jobs for their young associates and a hoard of secretaries and paralegals.

Pumping those fees into the legal sector will filter out into the economy according to the spending habits of law firm partners. There might be a few Mercedes and Porsche dealers who would not have met their quota if not for the spending largesse of a few law partners who saw an easy mark in the Routt County Commissioners. The partner's daughter will be able to have a shopping spree at Urban Outfitters and the Mac store. As a result a few retail clerks will be boosted with the commission on the sale and thus able to either pay their rent on time or purchase some MMJ.

It is good for Routt County to spend a million dollars on legal fees! Great for the Denver economy or wherever the heck it is those outside counsel are based. Did someone say leakage?

0

Scott Wedel 3 years, 8 months ago

Sales tax revenues is a revenue source for government, not economic development.

If sales tax revenues were so great economically then we would have wanted the largest possible Walmart and every big box retailer to be located in SB.

The way SB City spends so much effort trying to maximize their revenues makes me wonder if we might be better off with a city income tax. Sure, everyone would hate paying it, but then the City would spend so much time and energy trying to increase people's wages that it might almost be worth it.

The internet is not a threat to the economy or even to local stores. Someone that buys something from the internet is simply not interested in buying that item from a local store.

0

John Fielding 3 years, 8 months ago

.

The problem with the income tax idea is that only residents and businesses pay it, not tourists. It is because of our visitor based economy that we rely on sales taxes.

.

0

Scott Wedel 3 years, 8 months ago

The income tax "idea" was meant as a joke commenting on how dedicated our city officials are at maximizing their revenue streams.

I do not want to be considered to be "on record" suggesting that the city should institute an income tax.

I think the city overall has plenty of money and is able to fund many luxuries.

0

Scott Ford 3 years, 8 months ago

To All that Read/Participate in the Blog - I want to thank-you all for an informative and enjoyable discussion. It has been kept it "local" and has been "kept" civil.

0

Scott Ford 3 years, 8 months ago

John - The Retail Trade as an industry plays an important role in our local economy, however, there is only so much it can do. Because of its "foot-print" there is a tendency to think Retail Trade's role in the economy is bigger than it really is. The sales taxes collected plays a significant role as the funding source for a funding for City, County and School District. However, it role in the greater economy as a source of personal income is limited. Although there is some value in reducing Retail Trade leakage it is not as valuable as many seem to assume.

Routt County households spending patterns are not substantially different from households across the nation. It is similar enough to allow for some gross comparisons. Although these comparisons are not perfect - it does put discussions about Retail Trade in perspective. In Routt County, the median household income is 79,900. Less taxes and amounts set aside for savings Routt County household spend about $62,700 annually. Of this $62,700, about 23% can be classified as "retail" spending. ($14,421)

The biggest single item in the retail-spending category for any household is groceries. It accounts for 7%. Routt County residents do 98% of their grocery shopping locally. Personal care items such as shampoo, etc; housekeeping supplies - laundry soap, etc.; alcoholic beverages and tobacco products account for another 3% of household spending. These items follow the same local spend patters as groceries. This simply means that $6,275 of household spending is happening locally.

Based on the Routt County Consumer Preference Survey about 50% of the remaining retail spending was happening locally. This would included books/gifts/apparel/appliances/consumer electronics, etc. So in "ball-park" terms we are leaking out a wee-bit over $3,000 per household annually. We have just shy of 10,000 household in Routt County so the value of leakage is about $30 million +/- in retail sales. This sounds like a really big number and I would welcome it in my bank account, but when it is translated to how much of this $30 would result in increased payroll and jobs it is not huge.

Using industry standard benchmarks $30 million in retail sales will result in about $3.6 million in payroll. Based on BLS data for Routt County this would translate to about 126 jobs (FTE's). Without questions there would be some secondary and induced impacts as a result of this increase in local payroll which would generate about 25 jobs and another $1 million in personal income. Being optimistic at best plugging 100% of all retail leakage will result in about 150 jobs and somewhere between $4.6 and $5 million increase in local personal income.

In Routt County personal income from labor source activities is about $945 million annually. Plugging 100% of retail leakage would result in about half a percent increase in labor source personal income for the county.

0

Scott Ford 3 years, 8 months ago

Scott W. - You said, "Sales tax revenues is a revenue source for government, not economic development." Let me add my comment -Amen !

0

Scott Wedel 3 years, 8 months ago

Scott F An area which it may be worth trying to attract business might be for data centers because our reasonable electricity rates, cooler temps and it appears we also have local skilled people so the data center would not be completely dependent upon people moving here. (The big cost for data centers is electricity and cooling). Hayden has all sorts of land zoned commercial near the airport. And we are not so high altitude that the lack of air density forces reevaluating air flow requirements for cooling components. We don't get tornadoes, hurricanes or earthquakes.

In theory, we could attract data centers from both the Front Range and the western US generally because we aren't that far from West Coast, Texas and the Midwest.

0

Scott Ford 3 years, 8 months ago

Hi Scott W - Good thought. Part of the economic development strategy is to have broadband speeds as fast as what is available in Denver for 75% of Routt County households. The high-speed fiber does run through Hayden - so your suggestion has merit.

I will be the first to admit - I am not a very strong economic hunter (aggressively seeking companies to relocate to the area.) Most rural communities engage this strategy with very limited success. The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (ODEDIT) can only point to one example that occurred last 7 years as it relates to rural communities. Montrose was successful in securing a private jet assembly plant (35 employees) that was moving from Germany. Montrose put together a very attractive package. It did not hurt that the owner of the company lives in Teluride.

I keep Routt County's name in the pot for consideration at the state level - but the reality there are relatively few tire kickers - and even fewer lookers and almost no movers. We have a recruitment packet - but most of our focus has shifted to "economic gardening" as the primary economic development strategy and - having a strong telecommunication capabilities seems to be working. No big companies but significant number of Location Neutral Businesses (typically one-person operations) - that move here for the lifestyle - and the telecommunication and transportation infrastructure allows them to make it happen.

I think the City may be moving forward in looking for an "economic hunter" - specifically in the tech area. Good hunters do not come cheap - and more often than not, they come back empty handed repeatedly. To put it simply, if we look to economic hunting as primary economic development strategy we will starve. However, I never say never. However, I never say never. Stranger things have happened. It is just not my specialty.

0

Jeff_Kibler 3 years, 8 months ago

Scotts F&W - Here's a small town in Eastern Oregon with a Google data center:

http://www.google.com/datacenter/thedalles/index.html

The Dalles is right on I-84, and has a huge (1.7GW) hydroelectric dam 2 miles upstream.

http://www.cbr.washington.edu/crisp/hydro/tda.html

The Dalles is definitely warmer than Routt County. The big questions? Are Routt's internet pipes big enough to support this much traffic? And redundant enough? A data center has backup power, but requires internet redundancy to remain reliably online.

Great possibilities if we can address the above.

0

Scott Wedel 3 years, 8 months ago

I wouldn't expect to get a $600M Google data center. Those are pretty unique and highly desired. But how many corporations are located along the Front Range that could move their data centers to Hayden?

I believe the fiber along I40 continues in both directions so one could route east or west.

I think this area has some uncommon advantages for locating a data center. First, there would appear to be a reasonable amount of technically competent locals so they would not be completely dependent upon their existing staff moving here. (Not every company is Google for whom any number of people would gladly move anywhere to work for them). Second, unlike other resorts that might have skilled locals, we have good electric rates and relatively inexpensive land where a data center could be built.

I don't know about hiring business recruiters, but it'd seem to make sense to investigate some more to see if it is practical and then at least promote that opportunity on your website and like at the Hayden airport. In fact, posters advertising that opportunity at the airport is probably about as good as we can do for promoting it. Lot easier to sell the idea to people that like being here.

0

ybul 3 years, 8 months ago

Growing business is a much better strategy than thinking we are going to pull in this, that or the other. What could be the lowest hanging fruit to go after. To place a metric on needing diversity you could be going after harder to achieve jobs.

To manage for diversity you are managing for one variable and typically when that occurs you will move yourself further from other goals and desires. One needs to have a complete vision for the future when making decisions. Without knowing the whole you will most likely make a decision that moves you towards one strategic goal but further from all of the rest.

The fiber is a resource/tool to grow new or bring in new business'. What makes the region desirable to location neutral workers are the same assets that make it a desirable location for tourism and facilitate expanded business opportunities for region.

The question still in my mind is what is the end goal of bringing in more location neutral workers, a data center. What are we trying to achieve in reality, what is the end goal for 10-20-200 years from now by doing so. Still seems to me that you are in the Alice in Wonderland movie with no defined destination vision 2020 did a better job of giving the vision than 2030 in my opinion.

A data center brings us closer to what, that is what really needs to be defined as without it you are simply chasing ever greater levels of economic activity to what end? A more diverse economy is a goal why? The more diverse economy is not the goal. The goal is to have an economy which can better withstand the economic cycles. In addition to having jobs that pay a good/living wage.

0

John Fielding 3 years, 8 months ago

.

Scott F The added benefit of more jobs and tax revenue from reduced leakage is only the gravy. The real meat and potatoes is that if we had the lower prices available from an outlet center or wholesale store the consumers would save money by shopping locally. If we were able to save say 15% on those food and sundry purchases, how many tens of millions would be available for home improvements, charitable contributions, ski passes, music lessons or whatever makes life more fulfilling for you? How many new jobs would be created by those expenditures?

.

0

Scott Wedel 3 years, 8 months ago

Ybul, Because location neutral jobs pay better than average, so why wouldn't we want more location neutral jobs? Well paying jobs with minimal adverse impacts creates a better future for our children and might allow them to have good jobs while having the option to stay in the area.

No one is opposed to growing existing business, but every area promotes itself in the hope of attracting good businesses. I am not suggesting that anyone make plans dependent upon data centers or any other business moving to the area. I am just observing that some of the trends in locating data centers (cooler locations with affordable power) match up with this area.

It is expected for an area to look at the local resources and competitive strengths, and then promote those strengths so that businesses seeking to expand while containing costs are aware of their options.

I don't think there is an end goal for economic development. It is a continuing process in which good jobs are preferred to bad jobs or no jobs. It is really hard for a community plan such as the 2020 or 2030 plan to say much about the future economics of the area. Mountain View's 1990 twenty year plan would not have said anything about Google moving into a million sq ft of decommissioned NASA AMES at Moffat Field because Google didn't exist in 1990. Google was just starting to be noticed even in 2000 so even their 10 year plan in 2000 would have failed to foresee this. But when the base was being decommissioned they choose to keep a big portion of it for a large corporate campus. So these long term community plans are more about the sort of opportunities that will exist in the future.

Personally, I put minimal value into the idea of having a diverse economy. What area is going to turn down more good jobs because they are in the same field as existing jobs? I think it is far more relevant to be looking at more better jobs. Tourism tends to greater lower paying unskilled service jobs. Not that we should discourage tourism, but we should not be satisfied with that.

0

ybul 3 years, 8 months ago

I didn't say we don't want location neutral business'. I said that what attracts location neutral business' is also good for tourism, other business and so on.

I said that by saying we want this, that or the other you may be moving yourself from the actual vision/destination you want to move to. By focusing on one variable you have the large potential of moving further from other goals by focusing on one variable.

I am not saying what should or should happen, just that you should leave your goal as open as possible, ie your last paragraph and the tendency that simply focusing on tourism has potentially led us further from having a workforce that can afford to live in town as opposed to say location neutral workers that can.

That is it, I am saying leave your goals vague as if you say you want this you may miss out on that. That is all.

0

ybul 3 years, 8 months ago

Scott,

Location Neutral workers want quality education for their kid (so do most locals), this quality education requires quality teachers, who need housing that is within the reach of their incomes.

The location neutral work also wants affordable housing also as most are not CEO's, but are technical workers with high incomes but not so high to justify 2008 housing pricings.

All of the variables are interconnected and without examining the whole and monitoring it you are on a road dictated by one variable, which may push you way off course for all other desired outcomes concerned.

We have a limited pool of money that is to be used on options to help out with the employment picture. Which option, moves us closer to our end goal.

-- What needs to happen is to list our resources. - ie meat production - close energy stores - beetle kill - the ski area - trash - compostable and non - compostable can generate energy, some could be fed to pigs (if proposed Food safety act is voted down - might be done though), etc.. - water - could we build numerous micro hydro plants in the valley to put people to work and create a long term viable energy source. Could we tap into the wind reserves elsewhere to crack the hydrogen to provide a consistent fuel supply for a power plant.

We seem to love technology, however are there ways we can go low tech to accomplish our goals. How many acres of hay could an individual cut and bale with a team of horses and the much less equipment needed. This puts someone to work at the low end of the pay scale, initially if one did not look at how they could be employed through the remainder of the year.

Would doing such make the tourist experience better? Probably a little.

How about building a silo to store grain grown in Routt and Moffatt counties. Could this grain then be used to make local bread, that is then sold throughout the region? If this bread was good enough could we ship it to Denver for sale. If it was good enough would people buy it to take on their plane ride home, like the sour dough bread in San Fran?

Yes they might require a little start up capital to get them funded. Though there is a marginal reaction to taking any of these courses. How much is going to be required to do any of them. What is the return to the region. Might not work to fill rooms as seems to be the one item focused on, but it might actually move the community towards what the "vision" is.

I do not have the answers, only ideas and questions. It is up to someone else to decide what the community want and to decide that we need to start focusing on moving to that goal as opposed to filling rooms, as when we get them all filled they will simply build more and we will need to fill more rooms.

0

Scott Ford 3 years, 8 months ago

Good Morning John - Economies (even our wee one) are dependent of the in-flow of new dollars and the subsequent circulation of those dollars within the local economy before they leak out. Without question - plugging leaks has value. However, not all leaks created equal.

Plugging a leak in the Retail Trade Sector is not as valuable as plugging a leak in the health care services or for that matter in vehicle repair. This is because the portions of sales/revenue that are allocated to wages/salaries are very different.

The reality is, if it were theoretically possible to plug 100% of all retail leakage by the local population, it would result in about $4.6 to $5 million from direct, indirect, and induced from this increased Retail Trade activity. If this were possible to plug 100% of retail leakage about 125 (FTEs) in the Retail Trade sector would be created.

Not all jobs are created equal. Full-time Retail Trade sector jobs pay on average about $28,000 annually. At this level of income, there is limited discretionary income to pay for ski-passes, music lessons, home improvements, etc. The median income Routt County is $41,600. To put it simply, activities that create jobs that pay less than this amount do not benefit the overall economy. Sad but true!

There is no single industry sector identified as Location Neutral Businesses (LNBs). Just as there is no industry sector called "tourism". What we know is the economic activity from these areas manifest themselves in specific well defined Bureau of Economic Analysis industry sectors. The professional, technical and scientific services industry sector encompasses some but not all of the LNBs. This particular industry sector is the fastest growing industry sector as contributor of private source personal income. What we know is that the average job in this industry sector is about $60,000 annually.

From a economic development strategy, the Retail Trade sector is benefited most from activities the bring folks with a high ratio of discretionary income into the area. This is typically done by encourage more folks to visit the area, i.e., "Tourism". From my perspective, dollar for dollar it is likely more effective and less expensive to bring in new Retail Trade dollars from visitors than to plug leaks in this industry sector within the local population. Some individual businesses in the Retail Trade sector have figured out ways to do both and both visitors and local benefit.

0

ybul 3 years, 8 months ago

--To put it simply, activities that create jobs that pay less than this amount do not benefit the overall economy. Sad but true!--

Wow, could not disagree more. Many of those jobs actually add spice to the community which make the community more attractive to LNB's. I would agree that many of the low paying jobs that are created do not add much value except in maintaining ourselves on the hamster wheel of life, chasing more of what I do not know.

Some of those location neutral people, want someone to cut their lawns, do their laundry, etc., that requires people making less than the median. Focusing only on the top you are failing to recognize the bottom which helps support the whole. Without focus on the whole, you are steering the car based upon half of the variables or less.

0

John Fielding 3 years, 8 months ago

.

Scott your points are generally well made. However, I too think creation of additional jobs is beneficial even when they are low paying. Maybe the point was to not expend resources toward growth in the low pay sector.

The point I would like to address is how we can do more with what we have, ie savings on necessary purchases. Saving time or money, electricity or gasoline, is just as effective as creating more of it. Resisting the development of discount vendors equates to being wasteful in that regard, which many people avoid. But if that savings was readily available far more would utilize it than the few who will drive 90 miles to do so. Hence the potential for substantial source of "new money" in the local economy.

.

0

Scott Wedel 3 years, 8 months ago

Scott F. This is a rather bizarre statement: The median income Routt County is $41,600. To put it simply, activities that create jobs that pay less than this amount do not benefit the overall economy. Sad but true!

It seems absolutely false. Creating a job that pays $40K which is less than than $41.6K obviously does improve the local economy. As does a $30K. Or so when a restaurant in OC paying an average of less than $41.6K a year closes then that is good for the local economy?

I have no idea what you might have been intending to say Thus, can you please explain the point you were trying to make?

John, Except that a dollar saved at the counter does not always mean another dollar retained in the local economy. If the store is a large corporate store then most all the purchased amount consisting of wholesale cost, profits and corporate overhead leave the valley. But a slightly higher cost locally owned store could be charging $1 more and keeping $10 more of the total transaction in the valley. And you could also argue that the better we are at taking money from the tourists then the better off we are so a discount store doesn't help us.

That said, I think we have a reasonable variety of discount stores here. We've got some of the most popular.

But, anyway, I don't think the big box rules are about stopping discounters, but much more about keeping a resort town feel instead of a suburban shopping center feel. And I think that the 90 mile away discounters are more concerned about size of local market vs size of I70 market. Certainly they'd have no problems finding a location in Craig and could probably find a place easily in Hayden so SB's big box rules are not keeping them out of the area.

0

sledneck 3 years, 8 months ago

As long as there are unemployed people... even just one, isn't ANY job created a good thing?

0

Ken Reed 3 years, 8 months ago

The location-neutral segment of our population is not only about people who live here and work for companies located elsewhere but also about companies that could be anywhere and choose Steamboat. I moved here 8 years ago to start a new online business. The key issues for moving were quality of life, small town atmosphere, good schools, enjoying mountain-related activities, less traffic, clean air and cost of living. Steamboat has all of these qualities except the latter (like most if not all ski towns). However, for most of these types of workers the cost of living is outweighed by the quality of living. If Steamboat was going to go after the location-neutral types, it should go after the location neutral businesses and possibly provide incentives for these types of businesses. The incentives would be very different for a data center, as Scott_W suggested versus a web-based company. A data center would provide more for the economy because of the types of workers it would hire that would have to be located in Steamboat (network engineers, technicians, programmers, managers,etc.) Web-based company employees (location neutral employees) can live anywhere.

0

ybul 3 years, 8 months ago

John,

What does having a discount store really do for the economy? Does that really move us in a direction we want the community to move in? Does a super walmart/target with cheap food move us in a sustainable direction, really? How can we facilitate food being grown here and consumed here, without 4 hands in the middle taking a percentage? What could we do to facilitate a farmer being able to grow and sell for the same price as City Market?

From Ken Reed's post --The key issues for moving were quality of life, small town atmosphere, good schools, enjoying mountain-related activities, less traffic, clean air and cost of living. Steamboat has all of these qualities except the latter (like most if not all ski towns)--

These are qualities that vision 2020-2030-2200 will show if one reads between the lines. The cost of living make it hard for everyone, except the most fortunate, to live here. If one has a vision of working towards a community in which people are able to afford to live and work here, then you are working towards a community which is attractive to location neutral workers. Thus your recruiting is done for you as those who want to live here and telecommute, can do so.

The tapestry of Steamboat Springs is very interconnected, almost all decisions will move all variables in one way or another. This requires that all variables are considered when making a decision, not simply we need location neutral business', what are we saying no to by saying yes to something else, sometimes there is little, as the location neutral businessperson is seeking out much of the same as the broader community.

This goes for bond guarantees for a sidewalk, buying part of emerald mountain or on the individual level, buying a cup of coffee, making it at home or foregoing it. All move us closer to or further from the goals we have individually or as a community.

0

John Fielding 3 years, 8 months ago

.

I am all in favor of increasing the amounts of locally produced goods, and am actively working on a couple of projects that will move us another step in that direction. But much of what we need must be imported, and that will be the inescapable fact for the foreseeable future. Thus whether the product is sold by a small store with a local owner or by a corporate franchise, the bulk of the money goes to where the item came from.

The way the wholesale or outlet store moves us toward sustainability is that when a large number of people are saving quite a bit of money on their purchases, they can use the savings in creative ways that improve the quality of life for the community. A family could save enough in a year to build a greenhouse, or buy a grain mill and a bread baker, a dehydrator and a juicer. Or a years worth of karate and violin lessons. Or a season pass. Any of these sound like they move us in a good direction? That's where the savings go at our house.

Many people consider access to a good variety of shopping to be among the key elements in quality of life. It is an element we have neglected as we work to improve bike trails and preserve outlying ranch-land, one that would likely be just as important to many of our residents. And it doesn't have to spoil the boutique qualities of the Old Town and Mountain Village, there is a big piece of land out of sight between the Steamboat airport and Steamboat II where it could be hidden.

.

0

Steve Lewis 3 years, 8 months ago

Scott Ford, This particular comment thread is remarkable, mainly due to the interesting economic terrain your research provides. Your knowledge of the local economy makes better reading than the printed pages this week.

I take two thoughts out of your comment on lower wage jobs and their value in the economy. First, its refreshing to see someone willing to question the value of a "job". We have few things more sacred in the local and national conversation than jobs. I understand how having or not having one can make or break some lives. Food on the table is not something we can all take for granted. But I think we should be willing to question the value of "jobs" all the same. I struggle to understood the folks who would picket their company because they felt their jobs were owed to them. The lengths to which we can set aside other considerations such as deficit or environment for the sake of jobs concerns me at some turns.

Second, we are the kind of place where minimal pay still combines with great lifestyle. And these folks pay rent and buy food. They just don't magnify/recirculate their wages on the level as that family making more. You raise an interesting point, as always.

0

Scott Ford 3 years, 8 months ago

Good Morning Scott W - Thanks for asking for clarification - I sometimes make leaps in my thinking that do not cross the canyon of common sense and logic. It's my Evel Knievel side I guess.

Here is the canyon I was trying to bridge. There is a core belief that locally we want a diverse and vibrant economy. Diverse in order to weather the economic storms that will be encountered and vibrant enough that it affords those that live and work here the opportunities to achieve a standard of living that is acceptable to them.

There is no shortage of ideas when it comes to economic development ideas and what strategies should be employed. For example the exchange I have been having with John F., about plugging retail trade leakage. One of the challenges any community faces is where limited resources should be allocated to accomplish the most good when it comes to economic development.

It is my position that before any community jumps head first into doing many things in the name of economic development; it needs to first determine what community wide economic success looks like. This presupposes that success can be measured and I contend that it can.

For Routt County, economic diversity is archived/maintained with the top three private industry sectors contribute no more than 45% of the sources of employment and income. In addition, vibrancy is achieved/maintained when per capita income is growing at greater than the rate of inflation. Economic development activities need to have the possibility of accomplishing all three criteria measurements or it may not truly be economic development

For illustration only: So let us imagine that American Express moved a call service center to Routt County. It was going to hire 300 people and the average hourly rate was going to be $15.00 ($31,200 annually) In Routt County this since this activity is not in the current top three industry sectors it would result in slightly diversifying sources of employment and sources. However, since the average annual income is below the current medium income for Routt County it does not contribute to increasing per capita income.

This because even if the jobs at the imaginary call center were filled by folks currently living here earning $11 - their jobs would be replaced by folks earning $11. I recognize that someone currently earning $25,000 annually getting a job that pays $41,600 is awesome! I am happy for them.

One of the on-going challenges is to recognize that it is possible through well intended economic development efforts to grow a community's economy in the wrong direction. This the background context of my statement about $41,600.

Perhaps like Evel Knievel, I may not be able to bridge this canyon.

0

ybul 3 years, 8 months ago

Scott - Steve, I think that this is the statement that fits what would a community vision, without spending another $300,000. It does not limit what options are able to be done in terms of business'.

Scott Ford said "we want a diverse and vibrant economy. Diverse in order to weather the economic storms that will be encountered and vibrant enough that it affords those that live and work here the opportunities to achieve a standard of living that is acceptable to them."

Touching on both having a diverse economy and a standard of living such that housing is affordable.

John F., So yes it might be moving the town in the right direction on a community wholistic goal spectrum of simply the retail trade portion of it. Then you have to break it down to the diverse companies providing that shopping experience. How much in sales would it require to meet the expending of their resources to locate here?

We have a very vibrant - diverse shopping experience for the outdoors lifestyle, as those that come here want to purchase these items. Where as people coming here may not view shopping at the gap as a desirable use of their time. Then the fact that a large part of the community lives here part time or has kids they take to sporting events in areas with larger population densities and thus more shopping and so they get their fix once in a while.

I would guess we would need more people here, which would lead to more traffic and without addressing the traffic situation at the bottleneck you are going to be moving in the wrong direction on that part of the community goal at the same time as moving forward on the more diverse shopping experience here.

So I would agree with Scott, that in this case looking to add those low paying jobs through economic incentives or the like is not worth the investment.

0

Scott Wedel 3 years, 8 months ago

Scott F. Geez, that was some sort of Snake River canyon jump. First, a highly debatable definition of economic vibrancy being solely if average wage is increasing faster inflation. That suggests that if we simply eliminate the low paying jobs that we increase our economic vibrancy? So past couple of years has been economically vibrant enough for you? No, no, no, economic vibrancy is average wages AND NUMBER OF JOBS increasing. And here since people come and go easily enough so we have a local workforce that increases and decreases with number of jobs so it is misguided to consider a shrinking workforce anything other than bad economically.

Even a call center paying $11 per hour could raise the average wage if it is hiring existing locals making less than $11 per hour. Obviously not all jobs are equal and we should be wary of subsidizing a company moving here with low paying jobs. But a company moving here even with modest paying jobs without any subsidizes would improve the local economy.

I think the more important issue for vibrancy is whether there is a good spread of job opportunities so a person could start and advance, either within the company or by switching. Even very wealthy places can have issues with diversity because they end up with jobs for highly skilled people and low skilled people like security guards, but not much in between. Gated communities by their very design tend to have very wealthy home owners and low paid service workers with no plausible path for the low paid workers to ever become a high paid worker. So a gated community could raise average income of the area, but actually hurt economic diversity.

Your data suggests an interesting situation in this region in that Moffat County has so many people working in Routt County which is presumably SB and the mine, not so much Hayden. So exactly why are so many willing to commute nearly 50 miles a day when the cost of living is not that much different in Craig vs Hayden or OC while there would be significant savings of time and money on commuting? In a sense, Moffat County has been very successful at recruiting local agnostic workers from Routt County. That could be seen as a tremendous amount of economic leakage from Routt County.

0

Scott Wedel 3 years, 8 months ago

Anyway, I'd be far more concerned with having a reasonable spread of jobs across wages than a spread of jobs across various industry sectors. Silicon Valley could be seen as hopelessly dependent upon tech, but I think 99% of the world would love to have their lack of economic diversity if they could have those companies located in their community. What is far more important than a spread of local business sectors is the long term growth of the those sectors. Locally, coal and ag cannot be expected to grow significantly. Ag as an industry sector has been losing jobs for 150 years. A local call center cannot be considered a growth industry because technology is killing those jobs and exporting them to the lowest cost labor situation and computers are constantly reducing the number of needed operators.. LNBs and LNWs are both growth industries because major trends are in their favor.

The long term trend of local tourism is not without challenges because it still way too dependent upon people of European background and the average age of our winter tourists is constantly increasing. That trend is not good because it means our customer base is going to start dying off. In general, tourism is a good sector, but we are in a weaker part of that sector. Local tourism growth is going to be challenging, but as a resort area we have better opportunities to use quality of life to attract companies and workers in growing sectors of the economy.

0

Scott Wedel 3 years, 8 months ago

dang it, typo that someone will probably dislike.

Not "local agnostic worker", but "local LOCATION agnostic workers". Point I was trying to make was that it appears we have many local people whom are willing to live pretty darn far away from their jobs. It was absolutely not any sort of religious comment.

0

Ken Reed 3 years, 8 months ago

Scott_W,

I agree with your statement that "I'd be far more concerned with having a reasonable spread of jobs across wages than a spread of jobs across various industry sectors." But wouldn't this be a natural outcome of focusing on business sectors that provide higher paying jobs? In other words, let's say that a large data center was in fact built in Steamboat and that they had to build a new facility for their operations. They plan to hire 40 network engineers, 75 computer technicians, 20 programmers, 30 administrators/managers and 35 call center support engineers. While some of these jobs could be outsourced to India, let's assume they aren't. By building this new center and hiring these types of folks, they would bolster the local economy and create more opportunities in the lower paying sectors of our economy. We would need more construction workers (for their facility and homes) more restaurant workers, more cleaning services for their business and homes, more snow plowing services, etc. You get my point.

The opposite may not be true. Focusing on a new large retail center would not have the same impact, even if the number of new jobs were equivalent.

0

Scott Wedel 3 years, 8 months ago

Ken, I think we'd be more likely to get a variety of wages if a variety of companies came here regardless of their job sector. A biotech company is probably going to have a different spread of wages than a communications company and so on.

BTW, if a data center were to move here then I would expect them to explicitly bring the minimal staff onsite required to operate a data center. That the programmers and so on would probably not come because they are also location neutral. But some of them might come later because this is nice place and there are some advantages for some of the programmers to have physical access.

It seems to me that big retail centers are a very dangerous venture for a town to try to attract. The retailers are masters at demographics and if the customers exist then they will come. But some of them will accept all the financial incentives offered by a community in the hope that the region will grow before the financial incentives expire. So then if the region doesn't grow the retailers leave and the town is left with subsidized infrastructure that now no one wants. If this was a big enough market for Costco then they would be here seeing which town would give them the best deal.

0

John Fielding 3 years, 8 months ago

.

Scott F. I am interested in what some of the other values of household income are, you mention the average. What about the mean? Better yet, what fraction of households makes, say ten times, five times, double that figure. What percentage of Routt county households are slightly or substantially below?

It is that large number of lower income households that would reap the greatest benefit from savings on food and ordinary consumption.

.

0

John Fielding 3 years, 8 months ago

.

Scott W You say If the customers exist they will come. But perhaps not if the Community Development Code forbids it.

.

0

Scott Wedel 3 years, 8 months ago

John, Well, the large footprint discount retailers know they bring a lot of sales tax dollars to local government and can always play the game of "respecting" the intent of the code by not trying to locate on the mountain or downtown. But if they applied for the west side when their alternative is Hayden then would be very hard for the city to refuse. Or they simply go to Hayden as their first choice.

These big chains are pretty confident in their ability to win over local towns and they are rarely turned down. The more frequent question is how much of a local subsidy they receive to offset their costs.

0

ybul 3 years, 8 months ago

John here is another example of looking at the whole when a decision is made. The CMC expansion, the city/region should be all for it.

Simply looking at this facet one thinks we should do whatever it takes to make it happen. The school looks at it as they are improving the town. The residents have paid for a mill levy to support the college because we believe in an educated populace.

What impact is an expanded college going to have? The only negative one I can think of is the traffic issue (excluding the parties and general party atmosphere brought here by college kids). So in planning traffic needs addressed, which it was somewhat.

Given the real potential of an incident which shuts down Lincoln at 13th, there is little chance of an ambulance getting from west to east in this scenario. I believe, could be wrong though I saw plans for it, that an entry to the school could be made near the community center. This might cost more, but also serves a NEED within the community.

While the whole of CMC may not be that concerned with the traffic plan and frankly probably views it more as a pain, the whole of Steamboat Springs and Routt county are served better by a bypass for emergency vehicles being allowed access from one end of town to the other. I can think of almost no scenarios where the traffic is going to divert itself through campus except a minor catastrophe at 13th.

Planning for the whole as opposed to the divide and concur approach is what is needed in planning.

0

John Fielding 3 years, 8 months ago

.

John W, I agree that the whole of the community would benefit from having an alternate route that avoids the bottleneck. Therefore the whole community should build it with funding allocated to meet that need. It should not become the burden of one entity to do it, even one that is publicly funded.

Then, thinking of the whole again, addressing only the remote chance of a major disruption of traffic at 13th St. misses most of the problem of the bottleneck. The biggest part of the problem is that there is little dispersal of the traffic between 13th and 3rd. Essentially the bottleneck includes all of Old Town making a serious negative effect on the quality of life along Lincoln, the heart of the community. To focus only on an emergency bypass is not planning for the whole at all.

Nevertheless I agree that an access to the college from the west is better that increasing the traffic on 12th st, and not just because I live there. It is because I do that I see very clearly the dangers and difficulties presently faced by the college traffic. Any alternate to 12th st. would cut vehicle traffic by more than half, and leave the pedestrian, bike and skateboard users a far better corridor. I personally would vote for and promote a bond for the access improvements through the County.

Ultimately, we will have to deal with the whole, and it probably will not be until the situation is so bad that the downtown business has collapsed from the all day bumper to bumper and major rush hour delays.

.

0

John Fielding 3 years, 8 months ago

.

Scott W The big stores are already looking seriously at Hayden and west Steamboat. If not for the current economic downturn we would be actively involved in deciding how much to offer them to locate here instead of Hayden, or whether to keep them out of the City and let our residents have to go there to benefit from the savings.

I have to go to near Pine Bluffs Nebraska Thursday for a livestock breeding errand. Usually I just go right out through Walden and Laramie, but this time we will leave early and go through Denver, spend most of our Christmas budget there and get another 4 to 6 weeks worth of food from Costco. I was doing some rough estimates this week, and I calculate that my family of 5 plus guests saves well over $2000 a year by having enough freezer and pantry space to store a truckload at a time.

What amount of tax subsidy would it be worth to give that much and more savings to every household in the County? What would they then spend those millions on?

PS I have run almost out of my whole wheat we grind for our bread. I would like to buy some from Routt or Moffat county sources. Any suggestions anyone?.

.

0

ybul 3 years, 8 months ago

John,

I was not suggesting that one entity pay for it. I was saying that the need to do something for a second access is there and that a community need can be served with an entry elsewhere. Because of it, the city could have stepped in if the cost was more to serve a need.

Personally, I think that the elimination of the lights at 13th and third, coupled with making Oak and Yampa one way would solve the majority of the problem unless town quadruples and then something else would have to happen. Though this solution retains the emergency bottleneck.

0

John Fielding 3 years, 8 months ago

John, I agree with your first point completely, but regarding the second, making Oak and Yampa one way will really just spread the problem. few people would turn off of Lincoln unless some obstacles were in place that made it slower. Traffic on Oak, crossing the nemerous side streets, would be very slow even if lights were in place of the stop signs. There is only one traffic lane and no turning lane unless parking was eliminated. Yampa has few side streets, but does not continue beyond 5th st except as an alley and is just as narrow. Besides, we are trying to improve Yampa as a relaxing riverside venue, and Oak as cycle and pedestrian friendly. Adding substantial volumes of traffic would not suit the big picture and would delay the traffic.

This is why our traffic problem has not been solved. There is no easy fix.

.

0

ybul 3 years, 8 months ago

You force traffic onto Oak and Yampa with a turn onto Yampa at 12th and Oak at 3rd. Yep it spreads the problem and reduces the traffic count on both streets. Traffic lights would be placed at the location of the stop signs, the lights would be syncronized and very long allowing traffic to flow freely.

Yes also it has a negative impact on the low traffic on both Oak and Yampa. However, a solution needs found. As far as Yampa stopping at 5th, the removal of the trailer park and lack of any future development there would facilitate traffic moving down that road and might make that property more valuable to the owner, who is probably going to lose money on that bet.

The negative impacts on yampa and Oak are countered by more visibility for business' in addition to the benefit for Lincoln which becomes much more ped friendly as it can not be accessed via north-south. I would also move it to a single lane and put in diagonal parking, couple with one ways on all numbered streets excluding 5th and have diagonal parking there also, increasing parking availability and having less traffic so that eating a meal on lincoln is more pleasant.

There are no perfect solutions to the problem and no one is going to be completely happy, that is where the city needs to step up and make tough decisions. The problem is not going to get any better, but having a holistic goal in mind you can look at the big picture and test your plan against it and determine which way is better to go.

0

ybul 3 years, 8 months ago

On your last point about the move to Yampa being a nice river walk road and oak being friendly to bikes and looking at the big picture.

That is looking at the small picture of those two trees (streets) in the forest of Steamboat Springs.

0

Jeff_Kibler 3 years, 8 months ago

Ybul, yeah but: Right turns at 12th and 3rd will be problematic for big trucks. Easier transitions to the one-way streets are needed. That may entail tearing down the post office and buildings around 12th and 13th for the Oak one-way. For Yampa, rip through the park, perhaps Double Z and Orange Peel, and River Walk and Rabbit Ears Motel on the other end. (Just suppositions, no claims of geographic accuracy).

You are absolutely correct. No perfect solutions. Some kind of bypass? It's all about trade-offs and who pays the price. Fred's right, IMHO, we've been dodging this bullet too long.

0

Scott Wedel 3 years, 8 months ago

The real issue here is that the we really do not have a traffic problem compared to other places so there is no real demand to address it. When traffic is commonly backed up to Anglers then there will be serious talk of solutions.

I'd guess that Yampa is too desirable along the river to be a bypass. I'd guess that it'd be Oak and Lincoln as efficient one ways and even the potential of there being a way to make Oak one way east or west depending upon the time of day. Lincoln as a 3 lane one way road would have lots of room for parking and it'd be a lot more ped friendly.

Though, the bigger issue is probably between 13th and Elk River.

0

ybul 3 years, 8 months ago

Yampa valley land trust goes with part of the park. Post office loses parking as well as the parking lot. lose the city building to get back on lincoln or something else, that is the tough spot, imo..

0

John Fielding 3 years, 8 months ago

.

Cut through Dream Island to a bridge that goes to behind the Depot then punch a short tunnel in the toe of the hill, take a path tight to the RR tracks, past the eliminated 5th St bridge till Brooklyn, then elevate and return to Lincoln before the Iron Horse. Use a traffic circle intersection at each end to allow access and egress to Howelsen by right turns only, no lights or crossing traffic on the bypass.

.

0

ybul 3 years, 8 months ago

Yep your right that is another option, the cost of that option is the drawback.

Money or a loss of some of the street appeal.

It is all a trade off, it is a complex system, where changing one variable will change many others. That money could be used to bring in your retail center or something else.

So in saying yes to that option what are we saying no to? Without having that guiding vision of where you want to go and testing each decision as to wether it gets you closer or further away from where you want to be in 10-20-200 years.

That was the point was not about a road or anything, just how we need to look at the whole when making a decision and many times it seems we do not. I have been guilty of not doing so in my personal and business life. There is no perfect answer, to economic development or life.

So to economic development, maybe there are some jobs that would pay less than $40k to an individual that should be fostered as they add value to the experience for the LNB or the tourist. They are enhancing the whole, yes better shopping would also, but that is a major investment that may not pay back.

0

John Fielding 3 years, 8 months ago

.

Measuring the "payback" is another area that often has too narrow a focus. The payback of a less costly alternate route through or around downtown is to be measured how? The reduced delays at each end of town? The improved ambiance of significantly reduced traffic in the prime business district? The added revenues to tax coffers from the increase in that business? The overall quality of life improvement from not being jammed together in traffic anywhere in the valley, and its effect in attracting LNBs? The elimination of a potentially dangerous situation by having a real alternative to the bottleneck?

And similarly how would one measure the payback of a discount commercial center at the old 700 site. The point at which the sales tax revenue finally exceeds the concessions granted by the City? The plugging of leakage and its attendant increase in volume of sales? the attraction of shoppers from outlying areas? The savings to residents and the subsequent increase in commerce or improvement to their quality of life from increase in discretionary funds? The attractiveness to LNBs of improved variety and value of shopping?

We usually frame our goals in terms of what we do not want, too much traffic, commercial sprawl, despoiled vistas, economic stagnation. But trying to avoid consequences will often have unintended results as well. You cannot successfully pre-plan and order society, it is too complex and too many variables are out of any kind of control. The best course is a gently guiding encouragement in qa general direction and a prompt response as the unforeseen becomes evident.

.

0

ybul 3 years, 8 months ago

yep, that was the point that all the variables need considered.

That was it, the ambiance, how does it move all aspects of life here towards or away from that elusive destination that is held within the 2020 and 2030 docs.

No more no less, I have only opinion on the road, no better or worse than yours. I like how empty yampa street is hate to see it change but change is all that occurs in life nothing is constant. Making sure you are nudging towards what most people want is important and not simply seeking more economic activity for the sake of more. More of what I ask?

0

John Fielding 3 years, 8 months ago

.

I do like the questions you share. I often contemplate them myself. The answer I most often settle on is what is more today will be enough tomorrow. I view it as the same reason that our predecessors created more, so that we would have enough.

The benefits they left us, irrigation systems they built with horse and shovel, roads cut over the passes with axe and saw, buildings of native lumber and stone, are what has been the basis that together with our own efforts has resulted in our ability to pursue music, science, literature, art, medicine, spirituality, and work toward sustainable energy sources, remediation of historic pollution damage, and the extension of liberty to peoples around the world, to name a few.

I am willing to dedicate my life to creating more, so my descendants will have enough to share.

.

0

John Fielding 3 years, 8 months ago

.

Sorry, I get carried away. In short, more of everything that benefits Life..

.

0

ybul 3 years, 8 months ago

Yep in most cases it is good. Sometimes it is not. What are we looking for when we create more, irrigation created an ability to grow more food consistently. Roads facilitate trade which typically brings up everyones standard of living, a good thing.

They had a reason for creating more, in general to benefit the population as a whole. We need to ensure that in creating more we are not hurting others in our sake for more quantitatively.

We need to look for the triple bottom line (from holistic management), economic, environmental and social profits. Without a profit in all areas at some point the system's inability to sustain itself will show.

0

Scott Wedel 3 years, 8 months ago

BTW, a local area of growth for SB that is little acknowledged is mmj. Turned an illegal activity into tens of thousands of sq ft of rented commercial space with dozens of new jobs in SB. SB City has stayed out of the way and let people rent vacant commercial space. SB City did not invent false reasons to make operating here into a challenge and so investment has been substantial and rapid.

0

sledneck 3 years, 7 months ago

John, Sounds like you have read the words of John Adams who said "I must study politics and war that my sons may have freedom to study mathmatics and philosophy."

The problem seems now to be that his "sons" have p****d away the freedom they were given and seem determined to return to the study of war and even worse, politics.

0

John Fielding 3 years, 7 months ago

.

My point is that we build upon the legacy of our predecessors. Every road, building, technology, or art we have inherited make us more capable of serving the the great ends to which we are the means. We in turn must use this bequest wisely to give our descendants the capability to serve the needs of their descendants.

We accept that many will fall to selfish motives, and fail to make contributions. We acknowledge that the most valuable service is to instill positive values in our children as we raise them with love and care. That great calling, and a little toward leaving the world better for our life's effort, multiplied times most of the people, will result in eventually fulfilling mankind's destiny.

.

0

sledneck 3 years, 7 months ago

I understand your point, John. And I agree ostensibly. However, the direction in which I have observed mankind heading in my lifetime leads me to a rather contrary conclusion. That being: Apart from some omnipotent intervention mankinds' destiny ain't worth moose tits.

0

ybul 3 years, 7 months ago

I would agree with sled, much of the more we seek today is not really more. Much of the more in the past went towards creating wealth into the future. Today, what we seem to spend most of our time on is how we can extract the most wealth from others.

If you want to subsidize something, subsidize something that will generate wealth into the future, an irrigation ditch, reservoir, a power plant or to a lesser extent a road or bridge as they do not create the wealth simply facilitate its trade.

The subsidy is there to help foster a fledgling business gain its footing and add to the stability of the region. It should not provide a competitive advantage to anyone, which is what seems to happen with subsidies today. Corn subsidies have pushed out cane and beet growers in terms of sugar production.

If NW Colorado sees the desire to promote local food through the subsidy of a grain storage facility, to encourage local production, I see no reason why that should not occur. This because it is filling a void in the economy that no one else regionally is doing, it should not require an ongoing subsidy to operate, as this would not be economically profitable and therefore unsustainable.

It could also occur with subsidizing a wind farm coupled with a hydrolysis plant to produce hydrogen to be burned at a later period in a natural gas style power plant. This way the peak demands of the power grid (highest priced electricity) can be sold back to the marketplace benefiting the region. Find a way to rewrite pension laws so that those funds can also be used to grow our economy as opposed to China's.

That is another factor in the whole, existing wealth. Which is what the discussion is about, using wealth created elsewhere and through taxation put into a general fund, to subsidize the economy. Hopefully leaving all better off than they would have been without the tax, which is the sticky point as that is hard to show.

Those subsidies have helped the Japanese in their economy, also the Chinese through an artificially low currency value. We can not operate at that level, but why not try to foster an environment which allows the residents the ability to afford to live here.

Work towards a community vision where less and less people are in need of assistance, wether because of poor health, financial conditions or whatever. That is an admirable goal, for everyone to be able to live a free life to do as they choose, because they have the means to do so. (there are obvious limits to this statement as not everyone can go to the moon, though if that is your passion then find out how you forego other things to make your dreams happen on your own dime.)

It might take some help to get moving in the right direction as we are so far off course today, in my opinion, in the sense of the broader economy not just Steamboat Springs.

0

John Fielding 3 years, 7 months ago

.

John your examples are excellent, and your efforts to help raise awareness here in this forum are valuable. Your work to boost local sustainable industry is exemplary. You have probably seen my proposal for the non-profit harvest market by now, which is another one of the factors that may allow us to make slednecks observation and prediction true. Yes what we see today includes a lot of greed, corporate and governmental plunder and waste. But the "omnipotent intervention" of which he speaks is beginning to show up in the nick of time, we being the tools of that effort. There are millions now in this country who are sharing the new conceptions of Life as a Whole, of the Earth as Vessel in which Infinite Forces act in a finite realm, of Responsible Stewardship as among the highest of callings. If the growth of the sustainability movement is maintained at something like present levels for another generation or so, we may well have passed this pivotal threshold into a future of affirmation.

.

0

ybul 3 years, 7 months ago

Nope John, first I heard of it was when Marsha emailed you and I - as I have had my head in the sand trying to get caught up. Not sure what the idea is, but given that we have bamboo, healthy solutions, etc. not sure we need another market. Not sure we need omni-potent intervention, let people see a need and fill it.

Like when, I saw an opportunity but have a lack of employees and facilities. So I am collaborating with Bamboo market to make local fresh roast beef, I am trying to work on several other joint ventures. This has worked out well so far for both of us and works well with my goal of helping others succeed in their business. This gives Bamboo market a feature that no other place in town has, strengthening their business.

I have a problem with the concept of getting grants to fund a business. Both from a competitive advantage being given to one versus another and then from the fact that it is much easier to throw away someone else's money than your own. I can't remember the author, but the saying was that no one spends money as well(wisely) as there own. Whomever is getting a grant (and I believe it should be a low interest rate loan with some forgiveness for a default), better be putting as much or more skin in the game, even if that grant is helping to fill a void economically.

0

John Fielding 3 years, 7 months ago

.

You missed my point. We are the the tools of the omnipotent intervention. This is how it is actually accomplished, by Life's continual progression. With the sustainability movement we are taking ourselves to the next level, and all live on Earth will benefit as a result.

The "Harvest of Thanksgiving" does not seek to receive grants, rather to provide them. It is to be a venue for like minded community service organizations to volunteer time in distributing the food and education and receive a proportional share of the proceeds. Much of the produce will be donated at the peak of the harvest, surpluses that might have gone to waste will be provided to the groups and the producers will receive a tax deduction for the contribution. Much emphasis will be on growing your own and home preserving during the harvest season. It is an important step, whether it is made by a commercial enterprise of a non-profit service group is less important. It is unlikely to have a significant impact on any existing business, probably won't garner one percent of the local food market. But it will focus on regionally produced foods, and hopefully promote further development of local food supplies.

.

0

ybul 3 years, 7 months ago

I guess I see intervention and I see someone trying to micro manage a market. We have so much intervention already, what we need is to start removing it. The Food Safety Modernization act is a prime example of the intervention that will continue to foster an environment which makes it difficult for the individual to compete against the corporation.

On city water growing ones own food is actually very costly in addition to getting the active agent in most pesticides delivered through the water distribution system, fluoride.

I think that collaborating with Lift up makes more sense than reinventing the wheel. The reinvention that needs to occur is people to learn how to cook and preserve again. But as this does not appear to be a for profit business model, how could you do so within the confines of an existing organization?

The other issue is that farmers are the ultimate recyclers and if I see a waste product on my farm, I will find out how to utilize it for something else. In addition, unless you have another form of income that tax break does little for the farmers income. Also, as lift up does exist does not a lot of the excess food that is produced here go there already? Michael Moss dropping off the less desirable produce at lift up, beef producers taking in old product to be donated.

Shoot I think that as opposed to simply giving it away, maybe a little work to paint or shovel an elderly persons house in exchange for lift up bucks would be good. Or any form of charity, so that those doing the service feel like they earned the money and another need in the community has been satisfied.

0

John Fielding 3 years, 7 months ago

.

I do not suggest that this project is a perfect solution, only a step in the right direction. No doubt there will be some duplication of others efforts, but that is a good thing, to not have only one provider of any particular service. And it certainly has a few unique features.

As with any new venture, it will follow the laws of supply and demand. Some aspects will be found to not be worthwhile, others emphasized and expanded, still others not yet conceived will become apparent as useful.

While we can think of much that might ought to be done different, the important thing is that another effort in the direction of sustainability and expansion of the local economy is being made. Let us give it full support for that alone, and see how we can help it to be tweaked to suit the real needs more fully.

.

0

ybul 3 years, 7 months ago

I think that in a world of scarce resources that duplication of efforts is not wise, unless both ventures are profitable, which lift up is not.

That is the whole idea behind holistic management, taking and evaluating the marginal reaction of one decision versus another and the payback towards your goal. Reviewing how it effects all aspects of your life or the communities for this discussion.

I have my whole in the community, my decisions should move me towards my goal. Then there is the whole of Routt county which I participate in, when I am secure in myself, how does my decision effect the social structure of the community. I want to have neighbors who are happy I am here. Putting a feedlot on my property would not make my neighbors happy (not that i would). So i have to evaluate my decisions on how they impact others.

If you are looking to moving towards sustainability for the community then the impact of your decision on all of the smaller wholes in the community need to be pondered upon.

Not trying to discourage you from your efforts, however, if there is another vehicle to do what you are trying to do, that lowers the cost of doing so then why not do that. It does not appear that you are trying to make a business for yourself. If you are why call it a non-profit. Any time one goes to work they are profiting from there work. Profit needs to be made to pay the bills and save for retirement.

0

John Fielding 3 years, 7 months ago

.

Non-profit is only a term that describes a venture whose "profits" are used to support community service. Because it is recognized as being very beneficial to society it is exempted from numerous but not all governmental regulations and taxes.

The cookie and cake sales City Market allows on their premises are an excellent example. Much of the product is donated, as is the labor and the use of the location. The product is not subject to health department regulation, and sales tax is "collected but retained" by the group. The profits go to someplace like the North Routt Charter School or the 4-H, where they are used by more volunteers and some paid staff to further noble purposes. No doubt fewer cakes and cookies are sold by City Market on those days, that is another way by which they contribute to the community as a whole.

You mentioned farmers as a particularly resourceful group. If a farmer is faced with the prospect of having no market for a highly perishable crop, or a glutted market due to all the fruit being harvested at once, how may he still see his produce distributed and receive value? Build storage facilities? Sell at a loss to the cannery? Seek other, more distant markets? Or perhaps he will donate a portion to some non-profit that will issue him a receipt for the full market value which he can use for a tax deduction. The non-profit may then give it away, sell it at reduced prices, or possibly even get full value from consumers who prefer to spend some of their food budget where it will help support local service organizations.

Similarly, if a mall has many vacant storefronts, great value may be gained by donating some space to a non-profit for the tax benefit, and attracting more potential customers into the mall as a result.

If a person supports the goals of some community service group but cannot afford a monetary donation, giving of their time is usually just as useful to those ends. So yes, these ventures are for profit, in many senses, both for the individuals and companies who participate and for the society in general.

.

0

ybul 3 years, 7 months ago

-- If a farmer is faced with the prospect of having no market for a highly perishable crop, or a glutted market due to all the fruit being harvested at once, how may he still see his produce distributed and receive value?--

One could use the rent by an hour kitchen in Hayden to make jam with fruit, feed the waste to pigs, dry the fruit or other things. Adding value to the product is a key to success and how to build a more local food system.

-- Build storage facilities? --

If you want sustainability then storage facilities to house product that was harvested in the fall can be kept and distributed throughout the winter are needed to establish a way to facilitate the short crop cycle we have here being extended without massive investment. What models are working elsewhere and how can we mimic those.

I grew potatoes two summers ago and ate them all winter. That is a very low hanging fruit to copy that model elsewhere and bring that food production back into the valley. Then make potato chips with them. Yes you are only creating a few jobs, but in doing so you are moving in the right direction. They may not pay over the median for the county, but also bring in outside wealth and recirculate wealth that is here.

That is what happens with root crops in southern colorado potatoes. That is a better move to sustainability in my eyes. Speaking of storage the elevator in Craig is at risk of closing down and so the wheat that is grown in the region might dry up as there will be no point to ship product out.

-- Sell at a loss to the cannery? --

That typically would be in a large scale operations business model. Heck I know one guy in southern colorado who takes the seconds of the potatoes and turns a waste product (people pay him to haul it off) and he makes mashed potatoes to be distributed through traditional channels.

-- Seek other, more distant markets? --

Yes, that is a necessary part of the business model in a rural community. I deliver monthly into Denver, had fantastic sales this year and have run into supply issues.

--he can use for a tax deduction. The non-profit may then give it away, sell it at reduced prices, or possibly even get full value from consumers who prefer to spend some of their food budget where it will help support local service organizations.--

Yep and that is what currently happens through lift up with my excess product - it goes to lift up. However, my income is not great enough to justify deducting it from my taxes. Others with an off farm income might need it, as most can not make ends meet on their farm income alone.

0

John Fielding 3 years, 7 months ago

. You do understand it well, all those alternatives are necessary components of agricultural success. The point I add is that many can benefit from the donations option as well, and tax laws encourage it. As long as a deduction is useful, that is as good an option for the farmer as any other of the choices.

.

0

ybul 3 years, 7 months ago

I did not want to reply and keep the thread going, but, I was sitting here thinking about me knowing it well. I know my whole well, the aspects that effect me and my whole. I am the expert in my whole, but once I get outside my whole I just have opinion.

There are far too many variables in life for any outsider to know what should be done. A farm is a great example of how involved the world is and how many variables are at play. The soil conditions vary from pasture to pasture and foot to foot. I am a grass farmer or solar energy producer, not a beef producer, the beef, small amount of milk and produce are how I harvest the solar energy and profit from my effort. So for someone out side of my whole to tell me what to do is wrong. They can offer advice, ensure that I meet safety standards by testing for pathogens, but should do no more. There must be standards that are logical and not exclusive of any other process'.

Sorry to rant but I am still disgusted that Reid, passed the "food safety modernization act" in the 11th hour.

Just as I am not an expert in what you are trying to do. I simply have opinion, neither right nor wrong. Life is full of shades of gray and for anyone to be so steadfast in their opinions is simply wrong.

0

John Fielding 3 years, 7 months ago

.

What are the potential problems we small producers and distributors may encounter from this new law?

.

0

ybul 3 years, 7 months ago

If the FDA, believes that your practices are unsafe they can seize your product and force you to shut down. The key word is believe, not based upon factual evidence, simply based upon belief. From my dealings with the USDA rep in craig, not the sharpest tool in the shed, that scares me the FDA hiring 4000 more agents who can come in and say well heck you are not using the latest and greatest tools so you need to cease and desist.

The earlier version I read from cover to cover gave them authority to say how food should be grown, if they so chose.

0

Scott Wedel 3 years, 7 months ago

John, The changes are in reaction to the challenges the FDA and USDA experienced in recent food contamination situations. Such as the E coli contaminated spinach in which everything was so mixed up at the food processor that the contaminated product never was traced back to particular farms. And the Mad Cow episode in which cattle industry had limited records of what cattle had been where or where cattle sold was now. It was noted at the time that Fedex can instantly give the location of a $10 package while it took weeks to find the cattle that had been in contact with the sick cattle. And the contaminated peanut butter issue in which the owner initially argued that testing could show current product is okay and the FDA didn't have the power to shut down a manufacturer that clearly had sent out contaminated product unless they could show current contamination.

If you are small and only sell to local farmer's markets or such then you are basically exempt. Important concepts is to keep records of what you buy, know where it went and keep track of what you sell. In this world of computers, that should be trivial.

Change will probably be driven more by food processors that for their own protection should want documentation with whatever they buy from farmers or ranchers.

0

ybul 3 years, 7 months ago

Scott,

Yep and those large processors now get inspected once every five years instead of the previous 10 years and are still subject to self inspection, per the legislation. Glad they cracked down on where the problem exists, as opposed to simply putting more red tape out there for those large corporations surging competition. The increased competition because consumers want to know where their food comes from, because of the lack of real safety and foods that have become devoid of nutrients.

The unfortunate thing about the mad cow episode that you fail to represent, is that mad cow is not a communicable disease. In addition as has been said before on the pilots forum ( to your comments specifically), is that the USDA does not allow any independent testing for Mad Cow disease. This as the large companies operations are not able to do so as it would slow down their line. However the smaller (relative) independent companies that set up a laboratory to test for mad cow disease were told that they could not because the USDA did a good enough job, however, not good enough to open back the asian markets as quickly as simply testing for the disease.

Then, I am not small enough and to simply sell at farmers markets, as it is an extremely crowded marketplace.

Yep that change that the processors want to place liability on the farmers shoulders, is coming force fed to producers through legislation.

Maybe as opposed to thinking you know everything and simply read the cliff notes from those passing the legislation, you could actually take time to read the opposing sides view points.

Heck, I would guess that the tracking of an animal will come about because of government pressure. The problem with an animal as opposed to a package as it has legs, jumps the fence, sometimes breaks down the fence, or whatever. No matter what system you implement, that still will fail to stop disease, as deer, elk and the stray cow will never be noted and never solve the problem. Of course that stray cow needs to be reported within 24 hours as proposed or face a $5k/day fine, which on some pastures would be impossible.

Yep for the outsider we should be able to do everything you suggest, those producers in Australia who were in support of the system, come over here, to lobby against it for us as they know how bad there system is and that it is inoperable in any, way shape or form.

Glad the collectivists know all and can fix all of our problems for us. Why think for ourselves anymore.

0

Scott Wedel 3 years, 7 months ago

Ybul, I was responding to John's question of how the new law affected him. Since he appears to be a small operation then I think my answer to him is largely correct.

As for testing for Mad Cow, I would be surprised if I defended the argument that the USDA should prevent anyone from testing anything at any time. I think it is absolutely crazy to argue that testing of anything at any time should be limited by anything.

If you read my post carefully you might note that I made no claims that the new law is the reasonable solution to the problems of the past. I just noted that the new law is a response to previous food scare cases that were not resolved quickly and cleanly.

It does look like the law is yet another giveaway to large corporations.

0

ybul 3 years, 7 months ago

Unfortunately, John is not a producer and would not be exempt as only very small farms are exempted. In addition those who opposed the bill say there is still wiggle room for the FDA to inspect those small farms. It might also be the case that a farmers market is viewed as a store and not a farm and so the farm selling at the farmers market are viewed as being under the law. So while yes, the govt, appeared to put in provisions to help the little guy, it may not have helped.

You defend the reasoning for needing the law in stating that mad cow is an example of why the law is needed in the immediately above statement, as done before. The fact that the USDA restricts testing for mad cow based upon their testing is good enough is a testament that the government is not out to protect us but rather corporate interests.

0

Requires free registration

Posting comments requires a free account and verification.