Forming an election strategy |

Forming an election strategy

3-2-1 tax advocates have goal of 1,000 early votes

— The committee advocating the passage of a new city sales tax to fund airline and ground transportation, would like to be well on its way to a win before the polls open on Nov. 6.

“We’d like to have upwards of a thousand votes in the bank by election day,” Mary Brown told a gathering of about 35 Chamber Resort Association members Wednesday. She was referring to an ongoing effort to motivate 3-2-1 supporters to take part in early voting.

Brown, a former Steamboat Springs City Council president, currently works with a lobbying company, Intermountain Corporate Affairs. She is consulting with the 3-2-1 Alliance, a group seeking passage of the tax.

Should the 3-2-1 Alliance succeed in its goal, the group would seemingly be in good shape on election day. Off-year elections typically draw low voter turnout. A review of voting patterns from the last City Council election in 1999 shows that 1,000 votes would have represented nearly half the total in some of those 1999 races.

The 3-2-1 tax is projected to generate $2.8 million. It taxes spending categories primarily involving tourism. The money would go into a dedicated transportation fund, 20 percent of which (a minimum of $500,000), would go to fund local transit.

The balance of the money is anticipated to go toward the ski season direct airline program, but a citizens board would have to agree with City Council before any funds could be allocated.

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Brown urged the members of her audience to conduct the campaign to pass the 3-2-1 tax on a personal level by convincing acquaintances to vote. The alliance is mailing out voter registration cards and applications for early voting ballots. Brown counseled chamber members against being heavy-handed in urging friends, acquaintances and employees to vote for the tax.

“Approach people you believe share your views and want a community controlled, stable transportation program,” Brown said.

Chamber Executive Vice President Sandy Evans Hall told the group another education process that needs to take place is explaining the role construction has played in masking declining winter tourism, which is down 25 percent over the last 10 years. Evans Hall said many community members are not aware of the trend, in part because the construction boom of the last four years pumped so much money into the local economy.