Steve Lewis

Steve Lewis 1 week, 1 day ago on Building a friendlier downtown: Steamboat Springs City Council weighs urban renewal plan

The corner of my block on Oak St is a central argument for needed infrastructure downtown. That 50 feet of mud where a sidewalk should be is shown in the March 3 Council packet from several angles. The owner of this property should contribute to the remedy, but I support city investment in creating sidewalks. Is the URA the way to do it? Previous councils planned CIP spending to cure it. It seems we have "cautious" CIP approach on one hand and a large commitment to "vision" on the other.

I support leaving the county and school $ out of the equation.

The sheer size of the $$ outlays on the table beg better information than we have today. Reading Scott Franz's "Read more" links beside this article, its good to see some of the "cons". Shouldn't the public be reading these along with the many "pros" in the printed article. Next time?

I have questions:

1) We discuss and have a committee for building an $8 million police station. What will the fire station solution cost?

2) In the March 3 council packet, page 2.45, what is with the $1.4 million line item for the promenade listed as Additional Projects and described as "Underground electrical/cable". This would be added to the earlier promenade line item of $ .63 million for streetscape. So total promenade cost is $2 million, right? Why is that separated, and how can buried electrical/cable cost 2x more than the surface concrete and streetscape?

3) Next year the airline tax sunsets, and we will again worry and vote about the economics of airline service. Do the city budget projections assume the airline tax will be approved?


Steve Lewis 2 weeks, 4 days ago on Our view: More bang for URA’s bucks

There will be another day to address the forgetting of local tax campaign claims.

Be careful in estimating the worth of a blog. Letters to the editor reach 100x more people. Your face or voice in Centennial Hall can offset the other interests there.


Steve Lewis 2 weeks, 5 days ago on Our view: More bang for URA’s bucks

Thanks Scott Ford. I'm surprised with city staff saying a council motion is only binding when dealing with ordinances. Seems the public can be easily confused, even misled, when they never see the redirecting motions. Glad you saw the need and addressed the URA situation.

There is a lot of commitment possible in the various projects on the table. Please help the city get the right documents onto the website. I've asked for projections of how the TIF and other projects affect city budgets through coming years, particularly when taken together. Also asked for the Ricker reports.


Steve Lewis 2 weeks, 5 days ago on Our view: More bang for URA’s bucks

I only write above to take exception with the city attorney's advice given within the March 3 hearing.

Someday I will take the time to watch the referenced Connell motion. More important in my view: council's allowing this adopted motion to play a prominent role in the campaign swaying the community toward new taxes. The BID website and handouts used this admonition in bold font: "City Council has been clear, No BID, No infrastructure."

You can't allow that language to run unchallenged for weeks before a vote and after the vote say that is not what you meant.

The precedent and the ethic need correcting, but the rest is moot. Council has reversed itself and the URA is on the table. Let's move on. Staff agrees the city website should publish the URA supporting material. The next URA hearing is around April 24.


Steve Lewis 2 weeks, 5 days ago on Our view: More bang for URA’s bucks

As I write above, this is a lot of spending. The consulting, data, and projections behind it should be fully publicized. As it stands today much of "the list" was or is related to the CIP. So I would like to see these city documents before supporting the URA. A fair request.

Meanwhile, I am concerned about precedent: an approved council motion remains in effect until revised by a newer motion. The city attorney advised council in the recent hearing that Scott Ford's correcting URA motion was not necessary. Paraphrasing, because the attorney "had observed in council's subsequent behavior an implication that a new direction was being taken." Speaking today with city staff I got this interpretation: a council motion is only binding when dealing with ordinances. A motion directing staff to do A or B is not binding.

A motion does not have to involve an ordinance to induce a powerful and permanent effect on a community. For instance a motion says "we will not build that infrastructure unless you agree to pay BID taxes". Ads subsequently run informing BID voters of the motion, "you will not get needed infrastructure unless you first agree to tax yourselves." The motion adds pressure against voicing an opposing opinion. John's quote in the newspaper opposing the BID tells the public John stands in the way of needed infrastructure.

If a motion can be used like this to coerce votes or other public response, it is important enough to stand and be honored until rescinded by another motion. I disagree with the ethic and precedent argued by the city.


Steve Lewis 2 weeks, 6 days ago on Our view: More bang for URA’s bucks

"sidewalks, curbs, storm water gutters and pedestrian lighting." In 2008 City leadership held these as imminent uses of CIP funds. The 2008 Brittina Streetscapes of Oak, Yampa and the side streets were commissioned with that intent.

Thus, current proposals are a significant departure from previous City plans, and taken together are very expensive: URA, $10 million. Police station removal from Yampa Street, $8 million. The fire station removal from Yampa Street, $ unknown.

Early in the police move discussions, budget projections showed the impact on future City budgets. Certainly similar projections of the current proposals' impacts, the fire station's impacts, over the next 25 years would be prudent. The city paid URA consultant Anne Ricker for a URA projection. Thought her report would be part of this last packet.

Before joining the editorial board and Tracy in "thinking bigger", I would like to know the extent to which the currently planned projects affect future budgets. What do they look like, with and without these proposed expenditures?


Steve Lewis 3 weeks, 1 day ago on Yampa Valley Housing Authority close to applying for permit to build 48 affordable apartments

Scott, discipline is simply about maintaining a standard and self restraint. When conjecture and assumption are sufficient ground for calling people fools and stupid, you are no better than the people you judge. Discipline is a good thing, for everyone.

West side? Very different parcel, very different attributes. A 2012 price reflects on 2007 investment acumen? The west side parcel went through bankruptcy between 2007 and 2012. None of this matters.

Every YVHA article brings up your interest 2007-8. Is there some positive expected?


Steve Lewis 3 weeks, 2 days ago on Yampa Valley Housing Authority close to applying for permit to build 48 affordable apartments

"risky investments like millions of individuals..." And like thousands of boards of directors investing in real estate. YVHA behaved no worse than those other boards. Your standard of caution precludes buying real estate altogether - your central complaint rests on an impossible standard.

"there should be other government programs..." Speculation or certainty? Either way your Hillside complaint amounts to trading one government assistance for a different government assistance. Your criticism is founded on presumption, and again you are revising YVHA goals into Scott Wedel's goals. Neither are sufficient basis for your condescending criticism.

YVHA buying existing housing in today's market is bad advice Scott. Simple and obvious.

You think they could be effective if they operate in a disciplined manner. And for your part... a similar standard?