Steamboat Springs City Council delays vote on lodging tax ballot language


— The Steamboat Springs City Council will take another two weeks to think over the ballot question that will ask voters here to commit the city's lodging tax to the construction of trails and the Yampa River promenade for the next decade.

The delay came after leaders of the Steamboat Springs Trails Alliance expressed some concern that by splitting the revenue with the promenade in the first year as proposed, the city could miss out on an opportunity to provide matching funds for a potential multimillion-dollar state grant that could be used to extend the Yampa River Core Trail.

The council voted to table the ballot language until its Aug. 20 meeting so that it could consult with the city's grant coordinator and learn more about the potential grant opportunity.

Aug. 20 also is the date the council is slated to decide how to spend the estimated $150,000 that will be leftover from the tax this year after the debt on Haymaker Golf Course officially is retired.

City Manager Deb Hinsvark said the city will propose that the balance be used as matching funds for state grants toward the construction of trails near Howelsen Hill.

The discussion about the ballot language came amid some other significant actions made by the council.

It voted unanimously to approve the first reading of the rules that will regulate the sale and use of recreational marijuana in the city.

The most significant change to the ordinance came when several council members changed the votes they cast at a previous meeting and decided pot shops should not be allowed to use the word marijuana and its synonyms in their signage.

Council member Walter Magill, who proposed the council reverse its previous direction to city staff about the sign restriction, said he talked to constituents who had concerns about the use of the word marijuana, pot and other synonyms in the signage.

The city's current ordinance on medical marijuana facilities prohibits the words.

Kevin Kaminski, who voted with Sonja Macys and Cari Hermacinski to allow the words in the signage, said that if marijuana is to be regulated like alcohol as Amendment 64 prescribes, the word marijuana should be allowed in the advertising of the business.

“I think our community is ready to accept this,” he said.

In other action, the council voted, 5-2, to suspend for two years the city's rules that require developers to provide a certain number of affordable units or pay a fee toward their creation.

Council member Sonja Macys opposed the move. Council member Kenny Reisman preferred the suspension last only one year instead of two.

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

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 8 months ago

Why are they so intent on putting this on the ballot? As they are showing with the "leftover" $150,000, there is no need for a public vote for the city council to spend the accommodations tax.

The vote on the proposed ballot measure is not a clear vote for anything. Presumably, voters should vote yes only if they agree that for a few years that the money will be split 50/50 and then all go to trails for the rest of the decade. If it passes then supporters will claim that is the message of the vote and will argue against any future changes from that plan.

So if doesn't pass then what does that vote mean? No one will know because it could for numerous reasons. Trails people could be against funding Yampa St. Yampa St could be against it wanting a shot at money after the first three years. Other people could be against committing to a 10 year plan without requiring some evidence of beneficial results along the way.

And if it passes then what does that mean for potential other projects? In a few years there might be great plan for Oak St that shouldn't wait for funding until the 10 year period expires. Maybe there is a technology shift and having free wifi coverage becomes an obvious need for a resort town that should be funded and trails gets a smaller amount that year.

City Council should just thank the advisory committee for their work in developing strong proposals and vote to allocate the money as they see fit. And then let the next city council decide how to allocate the money during their term. The potential projects will not have changed much so the recommendations of the advisory committee will be as valid then as now.


John St Pierre 3 years, 8 months ago

The ballot language it would appear will be muddled.... if you want the trails you vote yes if want Yampa street you vote yes.... so the public really does not have a say in which......

It shoud be 2 ballots one for each and the voters decide


bill schurman 3 years, 8 months ago

Re: Marijuana (there I said it) shops: Let's call them "Mary Jane" shops, or "Get your Doobies here", you get the "drift", right? What on earth are some of the council members thinking? They make as much sense as calling liquor stores, "Yo, come in and get drunk" stores, etc. Get real, there's a big world out there. MARIJUANA is here to stay and say.


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