Steamboat Springs City Council will not back Routt County Riders loan | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat Springs City Council will not back Routt County Riders loan

— Routt County Riders will have to come up with another way to fund the purchase of a specialized $100,000 bulldozer that would be used to build new hiking and biking trails.

During Tuesday’s Steamboat Springs City Council meeting, a majority of council members said they did not support backing a loan so the nonprofit could purchase the machine.

“I’m fully supportive of what Routt County Riders does for trails, but this is not the way we get this done,” City Council President Bart Kounovsky said.

The council did not take a formal vote. It merely was providing direction to City Manager Deb Hinsvark.

All but two of the council members expressed concerns about the funding request.

Council member Tony Connell said he was concerned that backing the loan would be giving Routt County Riders an unfair advantage when it came time to bid out the millions of dollars in trail work that will take place in coming years. With the voter approval of 2A during the November election, a majority of lodging tax dollars collected throughout the next decade will be used to build trails.

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When approaching the council, Routt County Riders said it would commit $15,000 of its own money to purchase the singletrack-building machine. Alpine Bank would front the rest of the money, but the bank wanted Routt County Riders to find someone to back the loan.

According to the Routt County Riders request to the city, the purchase of a dozer could save millions of dollars, as well as man hours, and could help speed up construction of two trails on Emerald Mountain this summer.

Council members Scott Myller and Walter Magill supported backing the loan.

“Bring it on,” Myller said. “I think it is a great idea. It’s going to save up to $3 million. You get $3 million more trails out of this deal.”

Routt County Riders Vice President Eric Meyer said getting the loan backed by the city was one option they were exploring for purchasing the machine, but they have other ideas for making the purchase. He said they are facing a tight timeline for buying the dozer because it is not built often, and someone else might step in to buy the most recent one off the assembly line.

“This isn’t the only shot, but I like to have my things in order,” Meyer said.

Council narrows trails committee applicants

The council narrowed its list of people to sit on the committee that will oversee the trail building projects, which will be funded by millions of dollars in lodging tax revenues throughout the next decade.

After reviewing nearly 30 applications, council members individually chose their 11 favorites. The 13 people with the most votes made the first cut. Seven people will be chosen for the committee.

The 13 applicants still in the running to sit on the committee are Scott Marr, Robin Craigen, Jon Wade, Harry Martin, David High, Wayne Ranieri, John Spezia, Pete Wither, Dan Bonner, Rick Garth, Christopher Sias, Gavin Maliam and David Epstein.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland

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