Economic development tops list of Steamboat City Council’s 2012 goals |

Economic development tops list of Steamboat City Council’s 2012 goals

Jack Weinstein

— After a more than hourlong discussion Tuesday night, the Steamboat Springs City Council whittled a list of potential 2012 goals to five.

City Council members identified the priorities for next year during their annual meeting to review and set goals.

They are: continuing to use the economic development policy council members adopted earlier this year; revising the community support process; prioritizing capital improvements; developing strategic initiatives for effective, efficient and customer-friendly government; and examining issues related to the city's fire services, including its relationship with the rural Steamboat Springs Area Fire Protection District.

"I would like to applaud the City Council for reaching consensus on a set of goals that will certainly keep your management team active for the next 12 months," City Manager Jon Roberts said. "And all of those were conceived with enhancing the quality of life in Steamboat Springs."

The 2012 goals came from a list of eight. Ideas that didn't make the final cut included extending the Yampa River Core Trail west of city limits, expanding the city's existing sustainability policy and working to reduce the annual subsidy the city's general fund provides to supplement Howelsen Hill Ski Area.

Council members were allowed to vote five times for their preferred goals. The only goal that received unanimous support was continuing the economic development policy, which focuses on preserving and protecting city assets, leveraging existing assets and increasing business diversity and average wages.

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In addition to focusing on economic development policy, council members questioned the community support process, including that it provides funds to the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association, and sought to prioritize capital projects, including access to recreation fields at Emerald Park. Members also sought to develop strategic initiatives that will help aid the budget process while making city government easier to work with and to address ongoing Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue issues, which will be presented to council members Jan. 3 by a consultant hired to review them.

No members of the public provided any suggestions during the goal-setting discussion.

Before the discussion, Roberts updated City Council members about goals set for 2011. He praised economic development initiatives, including support for SmartWool, ACZ Laboratories and the city's micro-grant program that has awarded three grants of $2,000 to $3,000 to local business startups. Roberts said that support would help create 50 jobs.

Roberts also praised the City Council's budget work in recent years, which has led to significant expenditure reductions and savings that helped the city get a credit rating increase from Moody's.

"This City Council has taken a very responsible approach to the budget, a prudent long-term approach to make sure we're economically sustainable," he said.

Also Tuesday, City Council President Bart Kounovsky recognized City Council member Cari Hermacinski for her two years as council president by presenting her with a plaque that had a gavel affixed to it. He also recognized council members' birthdays, including Kenny Reisman (Nov. 29) and Walter Magill (Tuesday).

— To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203 or email

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