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Town engages in pillow talk

by Heather McGregorGSPI Managing Editor

With just one motel, a proposed lodging tax in the town of New Castle is expected to raise just $18,000 to $20,000 in its first few years, said town manager Steve Rippy.But the New Castle Town Council wants to establish the tax now to boost the towns marketing and beautification efforts, and to have the tax in place as more lodges are built over the next few years.The lodging tax question will be on the April 6 ballot for the town election, which will be done entirely by mail. Ballots are expected to be mailed by March 22.Voters will also choose among four candidates for three open seats on the New Castle Town Council.Incumbent council members Duane Guettler and Frank Melody are seeking re-election, and David Schroeder and Sharon Owens are running as well. The top three vote-getters will win election to the council.Rippy said the 2.5 percent lodging tax the same rate applied in Glenwood Springs would be collected starting July 1 if it is approved by voters.Revenues would be spent on three efforts: marketing New Castle, economic development and community enhancement projects.Marketing would be done through the New Castle Chamber of Commerce, and projects could include improving the towns Web site (www.newcastlecolorado.org) or focusing an advertising campaign on the Front Range to lure more visitors to town.Economic development work would focus on enhancing existing businesses and drawing new businesses to town. This work would be done closely with the chamber and the local economic development group, Envision New Castle.We want to pull their ideas and thoughts in, Rippy said.Community enhancement projects would include beautifying the four-way stop at Highway 6 & 24 and Castle Valley Boulevard, and dealing with noise impacts to downtown New Castle from passing trains.Rippy said if the tax is approved, the town would take a closer look at reconfiguring the four-way intersection, which may lead to installing a signal or rebuilding the intersection as a roundabout. More landscaping and sculpture are also in the plan to give the entrance to New Castle more eye appeal.These things should work hand in hand with each other. The community enhancements will create a better atmosphere to live in, and a better place to do business. I see all three as interrelated, he said.Contact Heather McGregor:945-8515, ext. 517hmcgregor@postindependent.com


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