Election 2017: Q & A with Kathi Meyer, Steamboat Springs City Council candidate District 2
October 14, 2017
Do you think the city's codes regulating downtown development need to be changed in the wake of the lawsuit that stopped the 1125 Lincoln Avenue project?
No. I think there is a reason for the rules. We need to maintain the character of Main Street and that includes the mass and scale of the existing building. If we change the rules, we should go through a community engagement process. The people that reached out to me after the initial Council vote were not in favor of bigger and boxier looking buildings.
Airbnb, VRBO, and other vacation rental companies are seeing increased usage in resort communities. Do you thing that the city should do anything to curb the potential growth of this type of short-term housing? Why or why not?
First, we should make sure that we are collecting all of the appropriate sales taxes, including the accommodation tax, since the nightly rentals cause an increase in city services. Next we should update and revise the current rules. Many of the local management companies are using Airbnb as a platform to market units through non-traditional channels. It's time to revisit these rules.
How are you feeling about Brynn Grey's proposal? What are the next steps in your opinion for the city and the developer?
After 16 meetings with Brynn Grey, we still do not have a solid plan of the overall costs that the developer is willing to participate in, as well as what they are asking the city for. The developer has changed their position numerous times including committing taking the annexation question to a vote of the people. Now, they feel that it's not necessary. Originally, there was talk of Brynn Grey donating land to the Yampa Valley Housing Authority so the YVHA could build the "affordable housing component." Now that's off the table. We will continue to explore whether this transaction is a good fit for Steamboat at this time.
Do you think the city and council are as transparent as they can be? If not, what ideas do you have to make the government more open and accessible?
This council gets high marks in accessibility with monthly Coffee with Council, the summer-time booth at the Farmers Market, the video taping of the council meetings, etc. We could do things like have our bios on the city's web page. We could start a new column with the paper by alternating authors/city council members and talking about topics of current interest.
Is child care/preschool programming a service the city government should be providing?
Childcare is a community-wide challenge that the city can partner on. Perhaps our dollars are better spent increasing our donation to First Impression. I do not think a million-dollar facility for a handful of children makes sense.
The city has been grappling with how to come up with a vision for Howelsen Hill and how to make the hill more fiscally sustainable. Do you think this can be accomplished? What should the city's' commitment to Howelsen Hill be?
Not only is Howelsen Hill an internationally known venue, but the City Council is the keeper of that legacy. We should operate Howelsen as a city park.
What are the top three challenges facing the city in 2018?
a). We need to have a frank discussion with our community about our financial future. Our revenue is lagging behind our expenses, but the request for services continues upward. We need a diverse revenue source that includes second homeowner paying their fair share of the cost to provide core services.
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b) We need to make sure that we go from ground breaking to ribbon cutting on the combined law enforcement facility.
c) The long-term fiscal viability of Howelsen Hill is a challenge at the same time we are seeking community input on a long-term vision and a strategic plan for the area.
Why are you running for re-election to the City Council?
I've had the pleasure of representing Steamboat Springs as a member of City Council for the last two years. And now I'm looking forward to the next four years. When I was first elected, there was a lot of transition and change, which created a lot of drama in city government. We now have a very professional council that does its homework and conducts its meetings with civility. I'm proud to be part of this group and hope that my financial and planning skills can help solve the challenges listed above.