Steamboat Springs City Council gave hesitant support Tuesday for the city’s purchase of 586 acres owned by Lyman Orton on the north side of Emerald Mountain. But the 6-1 vote essentially was cast to keep the conversation alive, and a purchase depends on a significant reduction of the contract on the table.
Council President Cari Hermacinski cast the ‘no’ vote.
“Even if the city were in good financial shape right now, I would not support this contract,” she said. “I think this is just fraught with problems on the part of the city.”
If council approves the purchase on a second reading later this month, and if a Great Outdoors Colorado grant moves forward in a Dec. 8 hearing, the city would spend $700,000 from its capital projects fund for the land.
That fund is facing significant revenue shortfalls in coming years.
City Council’s vote authorized the spending of $5,000 for an environmental impact study required by GOCo, but only if Orton agrees to revise the contract and remove the city’s obligation to contribute as much as $150,000 annually for the next five years to help implement recreational and community-oriented visions for the land.
Councilman Jon Quinn said that “wonderful and beautiful vision” could be unattainable for the city amid a brutally tight budget.
“We saw some pretty grim numbers this morning,” Quinn said. “We’ll be subsidizing street repairs out of our general fund within two years.”