The Town Council of the Village of Snowmass will be considering a resolution today to send a ballot question on changing the use of taxes to voters.
The question would ask voters to approve an extension of the existing 2.5% marketing sales tax and the existing 2.4% lodging tax to add labor housing to permitted uses. According to a memorandum from city staff, the city council has been discussing for several months the possibility of asking voters to expand tax uses to include expenses related to construction, maintenance and workforce housing. ‘work.
“The relationship and correlation between tourism and the need for workforce housing is such that expanding the potential uses of these tax funds seemed obvious,” staff wrote in the memo. “Increased tourism is a factor in the need for workforce housing, and increased workforce housing can help meet the needs of tourism-related businesses.”
The state of Colorado requires all tax changes to be voted on by the electorate. If the change in tax usage is approved by voters in November, it would allow both taxes to be used for workforce housing in addition to existing tourism-related uses and would also retain both taxes in one fund.
City Council last discussed ballot wording on August 15, after which the city’s Marketing, Group Sales and Special Events Committee recommended a number of changes, including the addition of several clauses. The council also recommended that the proposed question state that the city will allocate no less than 80% of expected revenue to tourism and that the remaining funds may be directed to workforce housing.
Staff will ask the board today if they would like to add any or all of the changes recommended by the board. Staff will also recommend that the Board adopt the resolution.
During the council’s discussion on August 15, concerns were raised about whether a strong year for housing ahead would lead to less money for marketing and tourism. Councilman Bob Sirkus said the city’s budget process involves many different stages of review and he doesn’t expect to see the marketing department’s funding sources change much.
“We have a process that works pretty well,” he said. “We have a lot of steps in between – so if for some reason it looks like something isn’t working properly, we have a lot of steps in between. My feeling is that we have to trust the process, and it has always worked, it has worked in the past. I think we have to trust him to keep working.
Mayor Bill Madsen agreed that the city’s process should be trusted and added that the city is committed to tourism and that is unlikely to change. Before wrapping up the meeting, Madsen said he was eager to see the final language.
The language of the ballot must be adopted by Friday to appear on the November ballot. If council passes the resolution tonight, the matter will not come back to the council table until after the election.