Saturday, December 3, 2011
- Tuesday, December 6, 2011, 5 p.m.
- Centennial Hall, 124 10th St., Steamboat Springs
When the Steamboat Springs City Council discusses its goals for the upcoming year, President Bart Kounovsky suspects its primary objective from this year will remain unchanged.
The City Council’s annual meeting to review and set goals will take place at 5 p.m. Tuesday. As part of a goal that included increasing economic development opportunities in Steamboat, the City Council created a policy to outline strategies to do so.
They include preserving and protecting city assets, leveraging those assets, and increasing diversity and average wages.
Kounovsky said he thinks economic development again will be on the City Council’s radar next year.
“I look at that economic policy as a long-term policy and not what you would call a short-term infusion into the local economy,” he said.
Before the City Council discusses goals for 2012, City Manager Jon Roberts and city attorney Tony Lettunich will review this year’s goals, especially economic development.
Roberts said he would focus on examples of the city using “real dollars” to provide incentives that encouraged economic development.
He cited the SmartWool lease agreement and expansion in which the city will pay the upfront cost of nearly $1 million, which will be paid back, to renovate the terminal building at Steamboat Springs Airport and relocate the fixed-base operator. Roberts also will update council members on the city’s micro-grant program, which has awarded three grants of $2,000 to $3,000 to local business startups.
Roberts and other members of the city’s administration said Thursday that other examples of the city’s economic development activities include a $40,000 pledge to ACZ Laboratories in 2010, which the city expects to pay next year, for the company’s expansion on Steamboat’s west side; investments for improvements at the base of Steamboat Ski Area; issuances of bonds for water and sewer infrastructure projects; and an improved credit rating.
“Focusing on economic development has been a huge success,” Roberts said. “The city has made huge strides, especially in a tough economic time. Given those challenges, the city has done a great job.”
City Council member Cari Hermacinski said the goal of increasing Steamboat’s participation in biking events paid off in 2011. She cited the success of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge and other events.
And City Council member Kenny Reisman praised another goal from this year: He said the city has become a better place to do business by simplifying different processes and being more transparent.
“When we embarked on this last November, it was, ‘How can we be accessible?’” Reisman said. “I think that’s where we’re continuing to do things. … We won’t get another SmartWool to come here, but what we can do is support companies to become the next SmartWool, the next BAP, companies like that. I think we’re on track to do that.”
Kounovsky said he envisions the goal discussion for 2012 including council members providing ideas in a “whiteboard-type” discussion that could be dissected, with assistance from city staff, to come up with three to five specific objectives for next year.
For any suggestion, including economic development, Kounovsky said there must be dollars in the budget to implement those goals.
Deputy City Manager Deb Hinsvark, who also serves as the city’s finance director, said Steamboat allocated $125,000 next year for economic development. She said that includes $25,000 for micro-grants of as much as $5,000 each and $100,000 for larger projects like ACZ, but that wasn’t set in stone.
Hinsvark said it’s important for Steamboat to continue promoting economic development, which it has done in the past.
“Cities can’t close their eyes to their responsibility of leadership in the role of economic development of the community,” she said. “If you look back over time, programs have occurred, but nothing’s been formalized to this extent.”
To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203 or email jweinstein@SteamboatToday.com