Steamboat lodging tax plan to move forward


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To apply to be on the city’s lodging tax committee, fill out an application.

— Steamboat Springs’ 1 percent lodging tax won’t stop supporting the Haymaker Golf Course until 2014, but the city already has initiated a process to decide what to spend it on next.

A five-member committee — which will include three members of the Steamboat Springs Lodging Association, City Council member Cari Hermacinski and a council-appointed public volunteer — is expected to form by May 1 and start a nine-month process to identify what to do with the tax that last year netted the golf course $634,359.

The city will accept applications through April 13 from members of the public who are interested in serving on the committee.

Lodging Association Chairman Larry Mashaw told the City Council on Tuesday night that the committee will be charged with identifying a potential use for the tax by the end of this year.

“We want this to be an open and public process knowing there will be lots of folks with good ideas as to how to best use this money going forward,” Mashaw said.

According to a timeline City Council approved Tuesday night, the committee will start accepting proposals for the use of the tax in June and finalize a list by September. Lodging Association officials hope to present to the City Council by December a final recommendation about how to spend the money.

A year ago, the City Council started to discuss the future use of the lodging tax revenue, but a formal process didn’t develop at the time. The council’s initial conversations in April 2011 attracted representatives of local entities, including Haymaker Golf Course, Old Town Hot Springs, the Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs and the Steamboat Springs Youth Soccer Association, members of which were interested in benefiting from the tax in the future.

Voters overwhelmingly approved the tax on public accommodations in 1986, and the revenue since has been used to fund the Strings Music Festival tent, the Haymaker Golf Course and the Tennis Center.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email


jerry carlton 5 years ago

Put it in the general fund and eliminate the tax on groceries.


mark hartless 5 years ago

"...lots of folks with good ideas as to how to best use this money..."

Except for those who actually earned it.


Scott Ford 5 years ago

Hi Jerry – Exchanging the value current Accommodation Tax for the value of City sales taxes collected on groceries would not be enough. The sales tax the City of Steamboat Springs collects on groceries is about $2 million annually. The local’s share of the sales tax collected on groceries is about $1.3 million. The balance is made up of our visitors and part-time residents shopping at the grocery stores. (Keep in mind that a lot more than groceries are purchased at grocery stores and sales tax would still be collected on those items.)

The current accommodation tax would need to be increased from 1% to 3%. At that level it would cover the sales tax currently collected on groceries. If there was a desire to continue to use the accommodation tax to fund stuff like the golf course at the current level of funding the accommodation tax would need to increase from 1% to 4%.

Essentially in exchanging tax sources we would be shifting about $125 annually per local household in Routt County to the folks that visit us. Are there enough of them to bear this cost before it becomes silly? Not sure. I think we can all agree that there is a point that it becomes silly.

We are not helpless. The City Charter allows its citizenry to place such things on the ballot via petition. Would this be easy – NO, but it is possible - YES. Would it be smart? Not sure.

A 4% Accommodation Tax on top of 8.65% Sales Tax (City, Air program, School District, County, State) and a Local Marketing District of 2% would result in a total tax on lodging approaching 15%. It all comes down to what the market will tolerate.


mark hartless 5 years ago

Since everybodys pain threshold is slightly different how do we know what the market will tolerate? There isn't really any point certain where everybody just stops is there? Isn't it more of a gradual drying up of revenue flows as tax rates increase? How do we know the current level of taxation is not causing slower growth, less economic activity, and less expansion? How do we know a lower tax rate would not actually lead to increased total revenue both locally and at state and federal levels?

Even if taxes go up and revenue increases couldn't it be argued that revenue would have increased even more had the tax rates remained lower because there would have been more of a economic boom?


jerry carlton 5 years ago

Scott I just booked a room in Arlington Texas near Six Flags and Texas Stadium. Their tax is 15% plus $1.90 per room per day. I was sure no one in government would even consider nmy suggestion. Once a tax goes on the books, even the ones that are supposedly going to sunset have a way of going on the ballot and being approved again. It is the greed of the beast (government at all levels).


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