Scott Ford

Born in Denver

Scott Ford 15 hours, 55 minutes ago on Parking consultant says Steamboat Springs doesn't have a 'big' downtown parking problem, but challenges remain

As I told Scott Franz last night, I did not come away with any sense of urgency to do something major right now. We do not have a parking crisis. To put things in perspective the consultants took their measurements on the busiest weekend (most downtown parking intense) of the summer of 2014. To put that date into perspective 2014 is on track to exceed the go-go days of the summer of 2007 and 2008. This was a good weekend to do this study because it helped quantify the question of what does “packed parking downtown” look like.

How accurate is the data collected by the consultant? Likely as accurate as it needs to be at this stage of the discussion. I hope to learn more about the methodology used to count the available public/private spaces in the consultant’s report. This will allow us to reasonably replicate the methodology using local resources such as the Boy/Girl Scouts equipped with a map of downtown and armed with clip-boards. The utilization of specific spaces at any given point in time is a wee-bit more complex but again doable with local resources. Perhaps this is a CMC student project?

The survey the consultant conducted is essentially a “poll”. Although there may be some value to the responses, I do not feel too much credibility should be assigned to the percentages cited; at least not more credibility than is attributed to the readers’ polls done by the newspaper.

There are a number of options that can be employed before we start building parking structures and lining Lincoln/Yampa avenues with parking meters – no matter how smart those meters may or may not be or who owns them.

It is hard for me to understand why we have parking regulations – yet do not seem to enforce those regulations with a level of consistency necessary to change behavior of long term parking “users” parking in short term spaces. The geography of the downtown parking problem is relatively focused and the area where the long term vs. short term behavior problem exist is even more narrowly focused. Focusing our collective enforcement energy will likely yield the desired results. However, it must be done consistently over time.

I like what Chuck Anderson, Public Works Director is doing. He is experimenting with low impact / low cost alternatives to increasing parking. Changes in “striping”, orientation and leasing spaces in existing private parking lots is a smart low cost approach. I think we encourage Chuck to continue to experiment with the goal of squeezing every available parking space out of existing resources.

Although I am a member of City Council my opinions are my own and may not reflect those of my fellow council members.)


Scott Ford 3 weeks ago on Marijuana sales tax data hard to come by in Steamboat Springs

The Colorado Department of Revenue publicly discloses the state sales tax collected on medical and retail marijuana sales at the county level. It is the Colo. Dept. Revenue practice to release aggregated data only when there are at least three taxpayers in a given category and none of them represents more than 80% of the total.

In State fiscal year 7/1/12 to 6/30/13 there was $3,332,131 in Medical Marijuana sales in Routt County. For the period 7/1/13 to 4/30/14 (10 months) there has been $2,705,305 in Medical Marijuana sales in Routt County.

All this means is that medical MJ sales in Routt County are known because there are more than 3 taxpayers however, retail is not. Currently there are only two. If a third retail establishment is opened somewhere in the county AND of the three establishments no single establishment accounts for 80% total sales – publically disclosed data will be available.


Scott Ford 4 weeks ago on Steamboat City Council won't entertain police station ballot question

Hi Fred – The blunt answer to your question is NO! I do not think folks understand how big of a NO this is.

The City Charter does not allow the citizenry the opportunity via the petition process to overturn a decision of the City Council on budgeted capital expenditures. Simply put, this community is on the trajectory to build a new police station out of the downtown area. Exactly where this new police station will be, its size and features are TBD.

With the 2014 budget, $10.7 million in reserve funds were transferred to the capital improvement budget. Of this $10.7 million about $8.4 million is for a new police station. In the current budget year $300K has been budgeted to be spent on planning. At the present time $8.7 million is earmarked in the capital improvement budget to construct a police station in 2015. (This $8.7 million consist of $8.1 million of local citizenry money and $600K of OPM.)

I do not want to say that the construction of a new police station in 2015 is a forgone conclusion but it is headed that way. The last “line” of opposition will occur during the 2015 budgeting process. There is nothing that prevents City Council from “defunding” the scheduled 2015 budget police station expenditures.

I think there is little hope of this happening. In addition, I think some council members will be faced with voting NO on the entire 2015 budget because $8.7 million for police station construction will be in the 2015 capital expenditure budget.

Is it St. Jude that is the patron saint of lost causes?

(Although I am a member of City Council my opinions are my own and may not reflect the opinions of my fellow council members.)


Scott Ford 4 weeks ago on Steamboat City Council takes step toward adding riverside park on Yampa Street

Good Morning Scott W. –

A point of clarification. At this point in time the City does not know IF the Workman family is willing to sell their property and more importantly IF so at what price. Obviously these are two very “BIG” Ifs that are highly intertwined with each other. The $610K is only the appraised value. Properties often sell for more or less than their appraised value. It will be interesting to see how this moves forward.

(Although I am a member of City Council my opinions are my own and may not reflect those of my fellow council members.)


Scott Ford 1 month, 1 week ago on Chuck McConnell: Focus is on citizens

Hi Scott W –

Although I enjoy our exchanges – we might be getting deep into a subject interesting to us but maybe not true for others who read the forum. If I get the chance later this weekend – I will email you an analysis by industry sector.


Scott Ford 1 month, 1 week ago on Chuck McConnell: Focus is on citizens

Hi Scott W –

Having worked with these data sets for almost 15 years now – they are a lot more user friendly than they used to be. I like to use Colorado Labor Market Information. It is a good portal to BLS data but it takes some time to learn how to navigate the website.

Great question about construction establishments/jobs.

ROUTT COUNTY 2008 Establishments = 460
Jobs = 2,625 Average Weekly Wage =$1,106 Annual payroll = $151 Million

ROUTT COUNTY 2013 Establishments = 335 Jobs = 1,578 Average Weekly Wage =$1,125 Annual payroll = $92 Million

EAGLE COUNTY 2008 Establishments = 886 Jobs = 4,953 Average Weekly Wage =$959 Annual payroll = $247 Million

EAGLE COUNTY 2013 Establishments = 608 Jobs = 2,521 Average Weekly Wage =$935 Annual payroll $123 Million

In this context “construction” jobs includes residential, commercial and industrial types. The magnitude of the decline in construction jobs in Eagle County was greater than in Routt County. Likely some of this is due to a decline in industrial construction associated with oil & gas in Eagle County.

2005/07 was a goofy “boom – time” for construction in both Routt and Eagle counties. It was not normal – it was boom that had a bust. I think it is highly unlikely we will return to the construction boom days any time soon – if ever.


Scott Ford 1 month, 1 week ago on Chuck McConnell: Focus is on citizens

Hi Bob –

I agree with some of the viewpoints you express in this editorial and others maybe not or to the same degree of passion. I would, however, encourage both you and Steve to use Eagle/Routt counties data whenever possible. For example, when you speak about “jobs” it is helpful put some numbers to them.

Employment and establishment data is readily available. Please use it. Otherwise it is difficult to put some of the statements you make into context. If you need help getting data call me – I will get it for you.

ROUTT COUNTY 2008 (Peak Economic period) Establishments = 1,873 Jobs = 15,242 Average Weekly Wage = $776 Total Annual Payroll = $615 Million

2013 (Well into Recovery) Establishments =1,677 Jobs = 13,921 Average Weekly Wage =$818 Total Annual Payroll = $591 Million

EAGLE COUNTY 2008 (Peak Economic period) Establishments = 3,611 Jobs = 32,256 Average Weekly Wage = $786 Total Annual Payroll = $1.3 Billion

2013 (Well into Recovery) Establishments =3,187 Jobs = 28,782 Average Weekly Wage = $778 Total Annual Payroll = $1.2 Billion

The source of this data is the Bureau of Labor Statistics and includes only W2 wage income. Data from this source does not distinguish between full or part-time jobs. It also does not include income from self-employment. I can get that level of data – but you may have to buy me a cup of coffee.

Without question we have not recovered to 2008 levels at the end of 2013 – but most likely in 2014 we will match if not exceed the levels seen in 2008.

The number of W2 jobs bottomed out in both Eagle and Routt in 2010.


Scott Ford 1 month, 2 weeks ago on All-day forum in Steamboat Springs seeks housing solutions for locals

I was one of those that groaned (likely the loudest) when it was suggested that yet another study was needed to assess the “affordability gap”. We do not need yet another study that will confirm what we already know. Let’s simply say:

1 -The “affordability gap” is big.

2 - Home prices were lower in 2011/12 and the "affordability gap" was smaller.

3 - Increase demand for desirable housing is resulting in higher prices.

4 – Home prices are increasing at a faster rate than wages.

5 - This is a trend that will likely continue for a while.

(Although I am a member of City Council my views are my own and may or may not be shared by my fellow council members.)


Scott Ford 1 month, 2 weeks ago on Steamboat's Parks and Rec Commission wants to start from scratch on Rita Valentine Park planning

One of the key issues that became apparent during last night’s meeting is that there is not a shared understanding of what “Open Space” means. Going forward we need to have a clear definition or we will run the risk of using the same words but talking past each other.

The 2009 Rita Valentine Park conceptual plan had a limited development option that would provide for (disk golf, a variety of bike and hiking trails, Dog Park, picnic area and an access road.) From the commissions perspective these would be compatible uses of “open space” and would not degrade the intended uses of the property.

However, it was loud and clear that some folks present last night do not want any improvements to the area that would include the list previously mentioned. Perhaps a better word in this context would be “Nature Preserve” vs. open space or park land.

(Although I am a member of City Council my views are my own and may or may not be shared by my fellow City Council members.)


Scott Ford 1 month, 3 weeks ago on Steamboat City Council to vote on whether to remove parking spots from Yampa Street

(Continued) Change the parking signs to read Noon to Midnight. Change the current 2 hour to 3 hours. Unless it is long-term parking Howelsen and specially designated lots and slots all parking downtown is 3 hour. Do not make exceptions for Sunday and Holidays parking. These exceptions are goofy in a town like ours. These relatively low cost changes will change employee behavior provided we are willing to enforce parking regulations.
For the retail store situation – most folks stroll up and down Lincoln Ave. It is more of the exception than the rule that visitors have a final destination that is only one retail establishment. The way-finding signs that are being installed and the new long-term after business hours & weekends (holidays) contracted parking lots at Wells Fargo and Yampa Valley Electric will be a great addition. This is a low cost alternative worth a try. Locals and visitors will likely quickly learn where to park if they want to park for longer than 3 hours.
Issue #1 – Is it the City’s responsibility to encourage more commerce in a specific geographic location? Just because it can does not necessarily mean it should. Alarm bells go off in my head when I hear terms such as “leader and courageous” to describe actions the city should take. I do not think you want us to be defined by these terms. I think you want us to do our best to be defined as prudent, diligent and boring.

(Although I am a member of City Council my views are my own and may or may not be shared by my fellow council members.)