Should the Steamboat Springs City Council spend its excess lodging tax money? Apply for your chance to help decide | SteamboatToday.com

Should the Steamboat Springs City Council spend its excess lodging tax money? Apply for your chance to help decide

Scott Franz

The fate of the lodging tax attracted a large crowd to Centennial Hall in 2013.

— The city of Steamboat Springs is looking for three volunteers to help the City Council decide what to do with a large pot of unspent lodging tax money that has been accruing for several years.

How can the money be spent?

If the council decides to spend the excess lodging tax revenue, it can only be used to “fund development of improvements and amenities in Steamboat Springs, which will promote tourism and enhance the vitality of Steamboat Springs as a premiere destination resort and enhance the community identity, environmental desirability and economic health of Steamboat Springs."

Finance Director Kim Weber estimates the city will have about $1 million in its excess lodging tax fund by the end of next year.

The City Council can spend the money on something that aims to draw visitors to town and enhance the community. Or the council could decide to let the money keep accruing for several years until the right project comes along.

To help it decide what to do, the council has endorsed the creation of another steering committee to come up with a recommendation.

The committee will include two Parks and Recreation Commission members, two members of the city's lodging committee, three residents and one non-voting council member.

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Of the three residents on the committee, one must have a background in the arts.

Committee members will be expected to meet twice a month for as many as five to six months.

"This committee will have some issues it needs to wade through," said Winnie DelliQuadri, assistant to City Manager Gary Suiter. "Do you spend the money, or not? If you do spend the money, do you want to do a bigger project that you would want to go back to voters on? Do you save the money for a future project?"

These are just a few questions DelliQuadri will pose to the group once it is seated.

The group will also have to decide whether to allow community members to submit their ideas for the money or focus only on projects the city already has included in its adopted master plans.

The city is now accepting applications for the steering committee.

Applications are due by Nov. 23, and finalists will be interviewed in December.

The lodging tax revenue comes from a 1 percent tax that visitors pay on their nightly lodging in the city.

The money the steering group will focus on is the excess lodging tax money that the city has been collecting on top of the $660,000 that voters approved spending each year on trails, Yampa Street and Haymaker Golf Course.

Voters also approved allowing the City Council to spend the excess lodging tax money at its discretion, as long as the project met the requirements of the ballot language that created the lodging tax in 1986.

The tax revenue, which is projected to total $950,000 this year, will largely be dedicated to the trail projects for six more years.

And it will not sunset after that.

It will then be up to City Council to again decide how to spend it.

Download and print the application below:

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10

How can the money be spent?

If the council decides to spend the excess lodging tax revenue, it can only be used to “fund development of improvements and amenities in Steamboat Springs, which will promote tourism and enhance the vitality of Steamboat Springs as a premiere destination resort and enhance the community identity, environmental desirability and economic health of Steamboat Springs.”