Downtown Steamboat BID funding proposal fails for 3rd time
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Downtown Steamboat Springs stakeholders overwhelming defeated a plan to fund the downtown business improvement district.
The final vote total was 64 in favor and 108 against.
“I’m glad it was decisive, so there is no question,” said Lisa Popovich, executive director of Main Street Steamboat Springs, who helped coordinate the BID election.
BID funding advocate Kim Haggerty said she was not surprised by the results.
“It’s the third time we’ve tried to get the BID passed, and it’s the third time it’s failed,” Haggerty said.
Two previous BID proposals failed by narrower margins. In 2014, downtown stakeholders rejected the measure 120 to 135, and in 2007, the BID lost by only six votes.
Haggerty said the outcome of the most recent vote was understandable given the tough economics of operating a retail business and the unwillingness of business owners to spend more money.
The BID election process was also complicated.
Each building owner and business operating in the BID downtown received a vote. Businesses owned by companies or corporations selected a registered Colorado voter to represent them as an elector.
The BID funding would have been spent on improvements within the district, including snow removal, more frequent trash pick up, marketing, way-finding signage and other services.
Under the BID plan, downtown was split into two zones. Businesses on Yampa Street and Lincoln Avenue and the side streets between them were in the premium zone. If the BID funding were approved, these businesses would have paid a special frontage assessment of $10.29 per linear foot and a mill levy of 2.22 mills.
Nonprofits in the areas of Lincoln and Yampa would only have paid the special assessment and could have applied to waive or reduce what they paid on the special assessment. Nonprofits on Oak Street would not have paid any additional taxes.
All other businesses in the district would have been in the standard zone and would only have paid the 2.22 mill levy.
With the resounding failure of the BID funding measure, supporters will have to decide how to move forward.
One possibility is to ask Steamboat Springs City Council to dissolve the unfunded district and let each street set its own strategies.
“It was a good idea,” Popovich said of the district. “It just didn’t work. For whatever reason, it didn’t seem fair to people, and that’s OK. My feeling is it’s their money. They need to decide how to spend it.”
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