Thursday, January 31, 2013
The other week, a Steamboat Today readers poll asked which of the eight final proposals should receive the revenue from the city’s 1 percent lodging tax. My answer: none of the above. The Haymaker Golf Course debt will be retired in 2014. The original purpose of the 1 percent lodging tax was to service that debt. The lodging tax raises between $600,000 and $800,000 annually. In today’s financial market, that amount of tax revenue would support approximately $6 million to $8 million of debt.
A recent Steamboat Today article stated the estimates for the federally required stormwater infrastructure upgrades for the city of Steamboat Springs to be between $20 million and $33 million. Council member Cari Hermacinski was quoted as saying: “If we had $10 million that we weren’t spending on a public safety center, we could spend it on this problem.” So can’t we apply the same logic to the lodging tax? If we had $600,000 to $800,000 that we weren’t doling out to “needy” causes, we could generate $6 million to $8 million in revenue to spend on this problem at no cost to the residents. Am I missing something?