Glenwood Springs council votes to continue lodging tax discussion later this month
Editor’s note: This story originally reported that council approved the measure to put the tax on the ballot. The story has been corrected to reflect that the final vote was to continue discussion and to also correct which council member made which motion.
The Glenwood Springs City Council voted 6-1 Thursday to continue discussion later this month on a possible 3.5% lodging tax to help fund affordable housing.
Council member Tony Hershey was the lone 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 nonprofit group Community Builders.
“A vote against this is a vote against the workforce,” said council member Marco Dehm before the vote.
Although the Sept. 9 deadline to make the ballot was getting close, Community Builders’ Executive Director Clark Anderson said that a decision could be made at the next council meeting to still make the deadline for the ballot.
Anderson presented alternative options for funding while stating that the community he had worked with voted heavily on the lodging tax. Anderson wanted to work to see if there were ways to combine the alternative solutions with a tax. Options presented include:
- Property acquisitions
- Public-Private partnerships
- Incentives and buy downs
- Down Payment Assistance
- Program Capacity
Several local hospitality industry business owners attended the meeting and participated in open discussion.
Richard Koziol, the son and representative of the owners of Cedar Lodge, wanted a tax that was spread to the whole community instead of targeting his customers exclusively.
“This is an unfair burden that targets one sector of the business community,” Koziol said.
Many other members of the lodging community agreed and said that they felt targeted and feared it would hurt tourism in Glenwood Springs.
“Citizens of Glenwood are going to approve it because it’s not affecting them, but they want the benefit from it,” said Donna Robb, whose parents operate the Frontier Lodge.
After public comment, each council member made a statement about their opinion on the matter, and then Hershey made a motion for a 3.5% lodging tax. At that point, Anderson explained to council 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 guys are doing this on your own, which is not what this was designed to be.”
Council member Ingrid Wussow then made a motion to continue discussion on the proposed 3.5% lodging tax to council’s next meeting. The motion passed.
“We have a very desirable town,” Dehm said in response to concerns about the lodging tax hurting tourism. “People will come.”
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