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It is not an easy thing to do to hold the line on these expenses. These are your friends and coworkers. I remember not very long ago when a city staff and finance department, as this recession really kicked in, told the council that they were budgeting a 2% decrease in sales tax revenue. That council asked them to come back with a budget for a 20% decline. If I recall correctly the actual number came in at almost a 17% decline in sales tax revenue from the previous year.
The council members were not smarter or more insightful than the city staff. They simply saw the recession coming because they were individuals who were mostly working in the private sector who had a front row seat for the carnage. That is why representative government works… sometimes.
The City of Steamboat Springs, and its elected policy making citizens, has an obligation to take care of its employees. It also has an obligation to maintain an appropriate level of service for all of its citizens and visitors. It is your job to strike the balance.
Make sure that the balance that you find is sustainable.
Rob Douglas works hard every day to discredit himself and his conservative cause. Today he more than excelled at the task. Interesting, by the way, that Rob would criticize anyone for having a rage problem....
Kevin is absolutely correct Rob, your comments sound terribly racist. The idea that any man would endeavor to destroy our nation because of his African heritage and "rage" issues is insulting and well below even your standards. It seems that those who preach for the right are just happy to return to their comfort zone of fear-mongering and silly conspiracy theories.
How long is it going you all to realize that the answers to our political dysfunction are not going to come from the right wing or the left wing? Both the "left" and the "right" suffer from a severe case of rectal cranial inversion, and it is the job of the majority of level headed citizens to push politics back towards the middle again.
The Kyteler's owners left a lot of people hanging, no doubt. The new owners are locals and have no association with the former ownership. Neil is correct, it would be senseless to punish the current owners for the sins of the previous ownership group. We should all be excited to see see locals opening new businesses, and I would personally much rather spend my dollars to support locally owned establishments.
Good luck Kerry and Brent! I hope the new year brings lots of success!
Nancy is truly a dedicated public servant. She is also a genuinely warm and caring human being. Her leadership and passion will be greatly missed. Thank you Nancy.
It is simply time for our country to have an honest conversation about the effectiveness of Marijuana prohibition. On balance, has the war on drugs benefited our citizens more than harmed them? Is the ongoing cost worth the results? I answer "no" on both counts.
Our society makes light of Marijuana use. From late night talk show hosts, to movies and music, simply put, our culture has accepted that Marijuana is not a hard drug as the federal government still maintains. There appears to be evidence that Marijuana may cause some harm, and there appears to be evidence that Marijuana may have some benefits. Fine, let the debate rage on.
I personally am more concerned about precisely what Dr. Sharp referenced at the end of his diatribe. There are still ridiculous consequences in our country for the use of Marijuana. Bottom line is that if you are well off and just "experimenting" you will escape the legal system without too much trauma, but clearly some pay a heavy price for their daliances. What is the average cost per year to the taxpayer to incarcerate drug users? What is the cost to their families? And what extra burden is then passed back on our taxpayers as broken families become an extra burden on the system?
We cannot secure our borders. This country will never have the resources to quell the demand for Marijuana. Regulation and taxation are a much better way to handle the demand for this substance than prohibition and incarceration.
I will vote NO on the ban. Not because I believe the dispensary system is perfect, or that Marijuana use is all about medicine, but because this is how citizens push the conversation forward. Some have argued that those who voted for Amendment 20 did not vote for the current state of affairs, but I can assure you that everyone who voted for it, and that was a sizeable percentage in our neck of the woods, did say that the federal government is simply wrong in its current approach. A vote which upholds the basic premise that Marijuana may have some medicinal value (or at least little risk) simply contradicts standing US policy.
The vote you cast now is bigger than Steamboat. If you want to send a message that prohibition and criminalization are good policy, then vote yes. If you prefer a culture of freedom from unreasonable intrusion by government, vote no. The burden of prohibition is bourne by taxpayers who pay to fight a "war" which cannot be won, incarcerate neighbors who would benefit more from education and rehabilitation, and support the broken familes our misguided policy has created.
And with all due respect Dr. Sharp, I happen to believe that I live in one of the safest, most family friendly, genuine communities on the face of the planet. In my mind, this is evidence that I live amongst good people. I do not know if they smoke pot or drink martinis, and as long as they continue to be the good neighbors I know them all to be, I don't care. Anger is never the answer.
I think we really share the same opinion as to the moral obligations we are discussing, and I know that we both feel that it is important for the public sector of our community to share the burden for promoting our tourist economy on some level. I believe we are debating the mechanics... the realities.
So, I would respectfully submit to you that the Rotary Four-Way Test might actually suggest that the original deal was flawed. Could I as a councilman expect that a handshake deal struck between the current council and business community, with no public vote, no ordinance, and no public process, would be honored 30 years from now? Is that trurhful or fair? Of course not. If, some day, the city were faced with budget shortfalls that it must choose between snow plowing and marketing, do you believe that the city would still be bound by this promise from a generation ago?
I'll offer one more analogy... you get the business community to donate the frequent flyer miles they earn towards a program which flies students around the world for study abroad programs... good effort. Does this contribution from the business community obligate Visa card to continue the frequent flyer rewards program?
I personally believe that the city SHOULD continue to fund summer marketing efforts. I also know that planning a marketing strategy is a whole lot easier with a defined budget. And finally I am convinced that every citizen will get the most value if the business community, city, and county continue to work together towards these common goals.
Scott, you know well that no council may bind the hands of future councils with an ordinance directing the expenditure of funds. I am not trying to de-value the vendor fee sacrifice, but simply to point out that there are no restrictions on how councils may spend sales tax dollars. If you all feel, as I do, that it is important for the city to participate in these marketing efforts then I would encourage you to ask each candidate where they stand on the issue. I am certain that some share "captnse" sentiments that marketing dollars should never come from the city. This is precisely why for the last few years I have been encouraging all involved to focus on finding a dedicated funding source that gets all of the stakeholders involved once again.
Perhaps there is just a new balance to be struck. The real question is "What does it take to effecively market Steamboat?" The answer is both a dollar number and a winning strategy. Bottom line is that you have no chance of winning if none of your chips are committed to the pot.
Scott F. - Guess I am busted!
Well I think this is fairly straight forward. The City of Steamboat collects a sales tax, 100% of which is for use by the city's General Fund. There are no legal restrictions which obligate the City to set aside 3.3% of its sales tax collections to use for marketing purposes; however, there are many reasons to support this expenditure including that handshake many years ago.
Here is a link from the state which summarizes all sales tax rates and associated service fee rates: http://www.colorado.gov/cms/forms/dor-tax/dr1002.pdf
There seems to be some consistency around the 3.3% number where the service fee is in place. The State just reinstated its own service fee and set it at 2.2%. Amongst
municipalities which collect their own sales taxes there is almost a 50/50 split between those who have no service fee and those who have one. Steamboat has no service fee.
Back to the handshake... There is little question in my mind that there was a partnership struck between business and government those many years ago, and its purpose was to promote Steamboat. Businesses willingly gave up these service fees and the City agreed to use the dollars for marketing. It is refreshing to see the public and private sectors work towards common goals, particularly in today's world. The reality still remains, however, that the City of Steamboat is no more obligated to spend money on marketing than it is to issue a service fee to sales tax remitters. That is the will of the sitting council.
I still believe in the spirit of that handshake. The public and private sectors should continue to work creatively together to nourish the tourism engine we all benefit from. No matter how you look at it, about half of our city's amenities are paid for and maintained by visitors and part-time residents. Fostering visitorship benefits our citizens, businesses, and our city.
3canines, I happen to agree with you on our resort pricing at the moment. In my humble opinion we have priced ourselves out of the "family friendly" market that we strive so hard to be. Lift ticket prices are comparable to Aspen, and I personally do not think that is very Steamboat. But the market is going to have to send that message... and the resort is going to have to listen.
But as for the air program, I do think this program is vital to our success as a resort community, and we are not the only community struggling with this very dilemna. Our guests indicate over and over in surveys that having direct air service to Hayden is VERY important to their decision to vacation here or buy property here. Our business and location neutrals tell us that the Hayden airport is also crucial to their decisions to locate in our community.
To Scott's point about subsidizing empty seats, because of the nature of the market we serve, you will never see load factors like you do on a DC-NY commuter. Weekend flights may be at capacity where midweek are not, and that has more to do with how people vacation then a failure to fill the seats. The airlines are looking at committing their inventory to a specific route for the season, not just the weekends. If we could fill every seat every day of the week for the entire season, we would not be having this discussion at all.
Air service to Hayden benefits us all, not just the resort, or the lodging community. I hope we have seen the bottom of this economic downturn, but who can be sure? I think it makes sense to put our community in the best position possible to insure we can continue to see our tourism economy rebound, and to make sure that we can continue to attract the location neutrals who can choose our community for our quality of life.
Last login: Saturday, August 9, 2014
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