Glenwood Springs council votes to continue accommodation tax discussion later this month

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Editor’s note: This story originally reported that the council had approved the measure to put the tax on the ballot. The story has been corrected to indicate that the vote was to continue the discussion.

Glenwood Springs City Council voted 6-1 on Thursday to continue discussions later this month on a possible 2.5% lodging tax to help fund affordable housing.

Council member Tony Hershey was the only one to vote against the motion.

Thursday night’s city council meeting featured a presentation on affordable housing options for the November ballot from the Glenwood Springs ad hoc committee led by the nonprofit group Community Builders.

“A vote against this is a vote against labour,” Council member Marco Dehm said before the vote.

Although the Sept. 9 deadline for the ballot is drawing closer, the nonprofit’s executive director, Clark Anderson of Community Builders, said a decision could be made at the next board meeting to that the voting deadline is always respected.

Anderson presented alternative funding options while saying the community he worked with voted overwhelmingly on the lodging tax. Anderson wanted to work to see if there were ways to combine the alternatives with a tax. Options presented include:

  • Real estate acquisitions
  • Public-private partnerships
  • Incentives and buyouts
  • Down payment assistance
  • Program capacity

Several local business owners from the hospitality industry attended the meeting and participated in an open discussion.

Richard Koziol, the son and representative of the owners of Cedar Lodge wanted a tax that extends to the whole community instead of exclusively targeting its customers.

“This is an unfair burden that targets one sector of the business community,” Koziol said.

Many other members of the accommodation community agreed and said they felt targeted and worried it would hurt tourism in Glenwood Springs.

“The citizens of Glenwood are going to approve of it because it doesn’t affect them, but they want to profit from it,” said Donna Robb, whose parents operate the Frontier Lodge.

After a public comment, each council member made a statement on their opinion on the matter, and then Hershey presented a motion for a 5% lodging tax. At that time, Anderson explained to the board that the ad hoc group’s research was unfinished and not ready for a vote.

“We’re not in a position to feel very comfortable with that,” Anderson said. “You do this on your own, which is not what it was designed to do.”

Council Member Shelly Kaup then offered to continue discussion of the proposed 2.5% lodging tax at the next Council meeting. The motion was passed.

“We have a very desirable city,” Dehm said in response to concerns about the accommodation tax hurting tourism. “People will come”

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