VEP Moves Forward with Lodging Tax Task Force – Estes Park Trail-Gazette
The local marketing district known as Visit Estes Park met on Thursday afternoon April 28 for its monthly meeting and most of the meeting was in closed executive session for discussion with a legal counsel on accommodation tax expansion.
Signed into law by Gov. Jared Polis on March 31, SB22-1117 amends the authority of local marketing districts such as VEP to allow them to use proceeds from its marketing and promotion tax (lodging tax) for the housing and childcare for people related to tourism. workforce, including seasonal workers and other community workers. It also allows a local marketing district to make capital expenditures related to these purposes.
Starting with the November election, VEP will be able to propose to voters to increase the local accommodation tax by a certain percentage to create a significant fund that can be used to develop workforce housing and childcare capacity. of child labourers.
Estes Park’s current lodging tax rate is 2%, which is comparable to other mountain vacation towns like Aspen (2%), Dillon (2%), Vail (1.4% ) and Breckenridge (2.5%).
“In Colorado, the local marketing district tax rate varies by district,” says AirBnB. “The rate is usually 1.4-4% of the listing price.”
The lodging tax in Gunnison, another area with a national park next to it, is 4%, while that in the town of Golden is 6%.
The first step in this process to get a paper on the ballot is to form a task force that will compile recommendations to send to the Larimer County Board of Commissioners, the City of Estes Park Board of Directors and on the VEP Board of Directors.
The three organizations will work together to find the specific voting language, but VEP will take the lead.
“VEP will play the lead role in managing and facilitating this initiative in close collaboration with the County, City, Estes Park Housing Authority (EPHA), and Estes Park EDC,” it read. in the Lodging Tax Extension Task Force Plan and Timeline, a document that will serve as a roadmap for the three organizations to follow as they create ballot language. “VEP will hire a temporary project manager, create and appoint the working group with partner input, and lead the organization of VEP, county, and city legal counsel to develop voting language based on the recommendations of the work group.”
Bill Brown has been hired to be that project manager and will present his candidates for the task force to the VEP board at noon on May 9.
According to the VEP, the Lodging Tax Exploration Task Force will “provide an organizational framework to ensure effective communication and coordination between representatives of Larimer County, the City of Estes Park, Visit Estes Park, housing partners, workforce housing and child care advocates and other local neighborhood leaders.”
The 14 voting members of the task force will include two large hotel/motel owners, two small hotel/motel owners, two vacation home owner industry representatives, one RV/campground owner, two labor housing developers, two childcare developers, and three at-large community headquarters for those in need of childcare or housing.
Interested applicants must complete their application no later than 11:59 p.m. on May 1, 2022 to be considered. The working group will meet weekly, for a total of 6-8 meetings, starting in May. Meetings will be held virtually from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesdays.
Working group meetings will be public and anyone can attend.
After holding five meetings, the task force will present its findings to the city, county and VEP. If a decision is made to pursue a ballot initiative, the organizations will notify the county clerk on July 25. On August 25, VEP will consider certifying ballot content with a deadline to be finalized by September 9.
From there, VEP can incorporate any interim language into city and/or county operating plans by September 30 to ensure that, should the ballot measure pass, there is has accommodating language in the 2023 operating plan.
Election day is Tuesday, November 8.
February’s lodging tax collections this year ($112,396) were almost identical to those for the same month last year ($112,610). Both years rebounded nicely from February 2020, which saw only $80,015 in collections.
VEP’s total revenue for the month was $161,766, up significantly from 2021 ($127,830) and 2020 ($118,137). The organization’s total expenses for the month ($183,935) exceeded the month’s income by $22,169. This amount seems small considering that total expenses for February 2020 ($261,031) exceeded revenues for that month by $142,894.
Rocky Mountain National Park Public Information Officer Kyle Patterson was on hand to provide council with a brief update on the park. You can find this information in a separate article at https://www.eptrail.com/2022/04/29/patterson-gives-rmnp-updates-on-reservations-trail-ridge-road-and-more/