Lodging tax committee to hold public hearings Wednesday, Thursday on final proposals

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Schedule for tax proposal presentations

Wednesday

Noon — Old Town Hot Springs

12:30 p.m. — Haymaker Golf Committee

1 p.m. — Open Space (city of Steamboat Springs)

1:30 p.m. — Friends of the Yampa

Thursday

Noon — Steamboat Springs Trails Alliance

12:30 p.m. — Howelsen Hill Sports Complex Partners

1 p.m. — Friends of the Chief

1:30 p.m. — Yampa River Park (Downtown Revitalization Committee)

*All the presentations are open to the public and will be held in Centennial Hall, 124 10th St.

Original 1986 tax question

"Shall the City Council of Steamboat Springs, in order to provide revenues to fund development of improvements and amenities in Steamboat Springs which will promote tourism and enhance the vitality of Steamboat Springs as a premier destination resort, and enhance the community identity, environmental desirability and economic health of Steamboat Springs, enact an ordinance levying a lodging tax of 1 percent on public accommodations of less than 30 days?"

— From the nearly 40 suitors who initially pitched an idea for what to do with Steamboat Springs’ lodging tax funds, eight finalists now remain for the $650,000 to $800,000 generated annually by the 1 percent tax on nightly rentals in the city.

The lodging tax committee will host public hearings on the finalists at noon Wednesday and Thursday in Centennial Hall.

“It’s kind of a culmination of the presentation process,” said Kenny Reisman, a member of the committee and the Steamboat Springs City Council.

After the two days of hearings, the committee will make a recommendation to the City Council, which then will make a decision about what to do with the funds.

However, the ultimate decision about the lodging tax might fall to voters, as nearly all of the remaining eight proposals request multi-year commitments or bond financing.

City Attorney Tony Lettunich said last week that either of those scenarios would require an election.

Reisman said all of the committee’s meetings have been open to the public and that he and other members have fielded calls and feedback throughout the process. While there will not be a portion of the hearings Wednesday and Thursday set aside for public comment, there will be an opportunity for comment when the matter goes before the City Council.

This week’s hearings represent the final chance for the applicants to make a compelling case for how their project matches the five requirements of the original 1986 ballot language dedicating the tax, Reisman said.

Four proposals will be heard each day, with 10 minutes dedicated to presentations and 20 minutes to inquiries from the committee.

Reisman said the committee has generated specific questions fine-tuned for the final eight applicants after a request for proposal process that has grow in detail during each successive step.

On Wednesday, the committee will hear presentations from Old Town Hot Springs, the Haymaker Golf Committee, the city of Steamboat Springs’ request for public open space and Friends of the Yampa. Thursday will cover the Steamboat Springs Trails Alliance, Howelsen Hill Sports Complex Partners, Friends of the Chief and the Downtown Revitalization Committee’s request to build a river park along the Yampa.

To reach Michael Schrantz, call 970-871-4206 or email mschrantz@SteamboatToday.com

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