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Rob, as usual I find your regular column somewhat pointless and sharply skewed to the conservative right. First, is this topic news? That our entitlement programs are overpromised and underfunded like all private pension liability? Tiresome is a word that comes to mind. By your judgment, the US government is fraudulent in their fiscal plans because they use debt spending models? This has been the case for nearly a century. This is not news.
On the issue of debt and deficits, those measures ran far higher in the Reagan years when adjusting for the value of the US dollar and implied inflation (real dollars). I'm sure he was your lifelong champion and somehow, someway, the US of A managed to grow and prosper for decades after while deficit spending shrank. The pattern is no different today. After running very high deficits during a Great Recession, our current level is falling now - has been for nearly two years. Wait until the tax receipts at the new higher rates come piling in by the end of April and watch the current deficit drop dramatically. I'll bet you'll be surprised! I won't. Public sector employment is falling (read the employment report this am), our government is getting smaller, just as we all want, with private sector jobs replacing public sector jobs. This is the recovery phase just like all cycles in the past.
Back on the entitlement issue, if you were to look at the personal balance sheet of most Americans, perhaps even your own, you might find that you are nearly bankrupt by way of your assets and liabilities. Is carrying a mortgage wrong? If we can't pay it all off today are we bankrupt? Why do you hold the US gov to a different standard? Because its an easy target for a conservative rant.
Finally, waggling your finger at the actions of those who have gone before is cheap and easy. It seems you want a quick fix for all macro issues. Why don't you lead the charge and be the first to give up your social security benefits when they become available? Or perhaps you can see the changes already in place - raising the eligibility age, reducing benefits over time, etc. It's going to take a long time to correct the imbalances in place but of course this too is common knowledge.
I'll leave the floor to the tea party bloggers - I'm sure they'll have a field day with this.
over and out
Thanks for the comments Harvey and Scott.
Hopefully a lot of your questions and comments will be address tomorrow night at the council meeting. I have contracted to buy a relatively large piece of the community solar array for my home and feel very comfortable with the economics behind that investment. I own an investment company and have degrees in economics and finance. I believe this article provided a bit of a set up for objections by presenting only partial and selective info giving one reason to raise an eyebrow. Leadership by the city is important but probably the 5th most relevent reason why the city might consider an investment in the array.
For instance - Scott. Your 4% return isn't accurate - it's 5.7% and 5.7% is better than 0.0% being earning in cash and money markets where the city treasury lives. There are several other important motivators that should become known in the discussion tomorrow but I'll save the punch line for then.
Personally and very subjectively, I would rather the city spend money on the following: 1. Things that have a payback of any sort an 2. Things that will offer our city more control and stability in their variable expenses. This is an opportunity that provides both. It is not an Iron Horse or anything that carries additional residual costs or even the potential for investment loss.
Thanks again for the input and hope to see you tomorrow night
I understand and respect your rights to your opinions. They are clearly your own form of religion and none are likely to persuade you otherwise. However, you should know that when you post a letter to the editor that is full of misinformation, your credibility simply evaporates - whether or not "we" agree with your perspective.
Here are a few (more) corrections to your letter regarding comments on electricity:
CO electricity rates are 23% lower than the national average.
http://blogs.denverpost.com/thebalancesheet/2013/08/21/energy-10617/10617/ read all about it!
Rates in rural Colorado have not changed for many, many years *yes still .079 cents/watt from YVEA. And finally, locally produced (and used) renewable energy whether from hydro, solar or wind, helps diversify and smooth our cost of power, especially during peak load hours and provides a level of independence that even the most hardened conservatives can appreciate (wink). Currently, most rural electric coops are bound to buy power from the likes of XCEL with demand based pricing and very long term contracts. HB 252 is a great step in the right direction and I was very pleased to see Daine support this piece of legislation.
Joe, again, I don't expect you to accept any of this at is doesn't fit your personal doctrine. I just think its important that the more objectives readers in Steamboat get some unbiased info.
thanks for asking the questions. I'll give you the short answers for everyone's education and then invite you to call me if you want more.
1. Electricity prices are not static and likely to rise from their current levels (40 year lows).
2. Panel prices have dropped almost 60% in the last 4 years while efficiency yields per panel have gone up - 19% efficient now.
3. Community solar installations have the added cost benefit of economies of scale (1 permit fee for the whole array versus permit fees project by project for instance)
4. This community array will be sold out before you have too much chance to dwell on it :-)
Payout period? I assume you mean payback period? Between 10-15 years depending on your consumption and change in rates/ kwh from YVEA. Payback can come in the form of energy cost savings monthly or additionally through the return of invesment when you sell your house with no electricity bill (house fetches a higher price). ROI is 5.7% annually, better than bonds, cash and the vast majority of investor's portfolios :-)
Government subsidies? the 30% federal income tax credit for renewable energy installations is factored into the price/ panel offered by Clean Energy Collective (the installer).
Credit rate for solar production via the community solar garden offered by YVEA is .10/watt. You are being billed currently at a rate of .077/watt by YVEA. Yes, the credit for solar production is higher than the amount you are being charged.
Annual maintenance cost (to you)= zero. CEC maintains the solar array at their expense for the life of the panels (25 years)
Feel free to call
A funny and sad debate indeed with no possible resolution. Sounds a lot like the congressional madness earlier this month.
Just an FYI on a related subject - panels in the Craig community solar garden are now on sale. They are taking deposits at pre-construction pricing and they will sell out before breaking ground as they did in summit and Carbondale and all across the front range. Of course this won't appeal to everyone ( wink) but if you're interested in having your electric bill go away for the next 30 years with power from your own panels priced at a 30-40% discount! feel free to give me a call. I can steer you to the right people.
This program is for financially astute individuals who understand investing and place a value on hedging against the rising costs of power using the economies of scale found in community owned solar. Climate deniers and religious environmentalist are both welcome!
Financial advisor to YVSC
720 979 8695
Not kidding about the roller coaster in the Beav -
check it out - http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_24218274/beaver-creek-residents-riled-by-off-brand-amusement
I think the other important issue along these lines is the very remote connection between the objectives of Fortress and the town of Steamboat Springs. Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp is owned by Intrawest, subsidiary to Intrawest ULC which owns many many resorts. Intrawest is one of 28 private equity investments of Fortress, a Canadian owned asset management company. Their private equity division is within their alternative asset management division which is just one of three divisions including traditional and principle investments. Fortress has over $54B in assets. Get the idea?
SSRC is a small line item on the Fortress balance sheet and one that is most likely seeing red in cash flow. Whistler was sold in 2012 - not enough profit margin?
I have no doubt that Chris Diamond and the locals operating SSRC care very much about the welfare of our little town and I believe they have made sincere efforts to show community support, but the honest truth is that Fortress probably could care less.
Keep that in mind in the context of discussions about whether or not we should add fees and taxes to support marketing of the resort.
Thank you for your effort at marketing Steamboat owned recreational facilities. It's a good start. But your target market is still the same - a tourist. Think about marketing Steamboat Spring, the community, to people who want to live here permanently. The only businesses hiring new year round employees in Steamboat Springs are those with very few ties to the ski or resort industry. They are in technology, medical, and financial fields. Tourism is a dying and a negative growth industry, especially as more CO resorts beat each other up for a slice of a shrinking pie.
This is a defining moment for Steamboat Springs to differentiate itself from the tired drum beat of "resort Marketing". I am hopeful that the Chamber can get on board with this unique marketing approach as well but I'm a bit skeptical.
Thanks for all of your thoughtful work Winnie
This a critical discussion and one that has been coming for a long time. Is Steamboat SPRINGS an independent city that can stand tall regardless of the trends in Steamboat the resort? Are we a strong and healthy community with a recreation amenity nearby (Mt Werner) or a ski area with a town nearby?
Reading between the lines of "Marketing the Boat", I hear the groundwork for another ask. It seems likely that we, the community are being asked to market Steamboat the ski area under the threat that our community will suffer if we do nothing to grow the number of annual visitors. Tom Kern is doing his best with limited funds but reaching to the community for more isn't the answer.
Consider this http://www.hvs.com/Jump/?aid=6508&rt=2
Look at the growth rate in skier days since 1982 for the nation and for CO. Almost ZERO! This also does not capture the real data which is unique skier visits (not skier days). unique visitors have been falling since the year 2000 but those who do ski ( or ride), do so more often with the advent of things like the EPIC pass.
Of course, under this FLAT industry environment, we see strong efforts to increase visitors in the non-winter months - how else can we grow and prosper? With the new more relaxed CO State forest guidelines across many resorts, we see zip lines, adventure parks, bike parks galore and yes even the prospect of a mountain roller coaster. Perhaps those who bought million dollar homes near the mountain might not want to live in Disneyland - Law suit pending in Beaver Creek over the proposed roller coaster.
While I too would love for someone else to pay for the marketing of my business, this a moment for Steamboat Springs to send a message to the Steamboat, the resort. The message is this; We do not buy the argument that we are dependent on your success or failure, nor will we accept additional taxes and fees to subsidize your marketing efforts. The Air tax did not work in the least and now we have... a higher sales tax rate.
Personally, I would choose a temporary decline in city revenue if we could get on the sustainable path of growing our community outside of the tourism industry. Of course it's possible!
I will again propose that if Steamboat Springs is going to spend any money on marketing, we should be marketing to the growing army of individuals who can work remotely, live anywhere and have the means to do it. These are Location Neutral Business workers who bring their families, buy homes, buy cars, buy ski passes, eat at restaurants, and do everything that a weekend visitor will do 365 days/ year. We should market Steamboat as the home of the LNB looking for a great mountain community with strong schools and connection to the outdoors.
Sorry for the lengthy post
Great editorial and as one Location Neutral Business owner myself I can say that our family has spent 20 times, 50 times more than anyone could visiting Steamboat as a short term vacation. We buy homes, we buy cars, we buy clothes and food and ski passes and mountain bikes, eat out regularly, etc. etc. All of this spending come without a single dime generated from within Routt County. I realize our community can and should cater to both groups (LNBs and tourists) but I would LOVE to see more decisions among our leadership turn toward the benefit of locals who are bringing income to town, creating jobs, spending their money here daily weekly and annually. As I have said many times, our strongest and most sustainable perspective economically is to operate as a community that offers a number of year round outdoor activities. We have a long way to go toward that end as we peal away from our long standing profile as a ski resort (almost exclusively). Great work Tom Kern, EDC and everyone involved in this growing effort.
Dear editorial board,
I would tend to agree with your view regarding the return of autonomy to the EFB decision making process. It's an important check against a system that can find itself focused solely on the operational side of the fence especially when resources become scarce or threatened as they are today. However, your "view" may be fanning the flames more than anyone wants.
Like many parents in town, I find myself torn between what we would consider a "reasonable" student to teacher ratio of say 20-25 and the enhanced educational needs of a student expecting to compete in the 21st century ( described unfortunately as "extras" ). This is the real debate and its one that will be with us annually for a very long time. While a balanced approach is the answer, I fear what I foresee as an obvious outcome to this issue as I hear both sides drawing battle lines. Any hard decision by EFB that fails to deliver on the district 's inflated new request will be met with operational decisions that smacks of " then you'll get what you deserve ". There is room and time for cooperation on this issue for the benefit of our kids. I can make a case for both sides and both sides can make a case for what is right with all egos set aside. Lets find the middle ground!
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