Kathy and Terry Stokes: Don’t cut funds | SteamboatToday.com

Kathy and Terry Stokes: Don’t cut funds

— Dear City Council members:

My name is Kathy Stokes, and my husband, Terry, and I own the PostNet store here in Steamboat Springs. We opened it 12 years ago, grew it from the first customer and now employ nine full-time, year-round workers. Our store provides ourselves, as well as our staff, an income so we can live in this wonderful valley and raise our children here.

Through the success of our store, we also have been able to support countless nonprofits in our community in the form of donations, printing services and shipping services. We have donated printed materials for Molly Look, Tyler Johnson and Adele Dombrowski when their families needed our support. We have supported LIFT-UP of Routt County, Advocates Against Battering and Abuse, new playground equipment, Strings Music Festival, churches and many other great organizations too numerous to mention. We also have paid more than $15,000 in city sales tax so far this year. We are one small business among many in this city who provide this kind of support to our community.

I am writing to you today to respectfully request that you seriously consider the decision you are going to make concerning reducing the Chamber’s summer marketing budget. I understand that we are in the midst of an economic crisis that is likely to continue for some time. I am feeling it in our own business, too. I do not envy your task of balancing the budget, although I admire you for making the commitment to doing so.

All of those who own their own business know that when the going gets tough, the last thing you should do is cut marketing, especially in a sales tax-based economy. If you cut marketing dollars now, you could start a domino effect that could be far harder to deal with than the budget crisis you are dealing with today. Reduced marketing means fewer people choose Steamboat to visit, which means fewer dollars coming into our town, which leads to lower sales in our businesses, lower sales tax to pay for city staff and services, and businesses that are no longer able to provide stable employment or support our nonprofits or community members in need.

On the other hand, if you choose to maintain the current level of marketing, I think you are making a wise investment in our community. If we keep Steamboat Springs top of mind for traveling families, they will come and spend money in our town, which will stimulate our economy and keep our businesses healthy so we can provide stable employment for our staff and their families and continue to support our valuable nonprofits and our community. In these hard economic times, we need to lean on each other to help get us through. If you will commit to maintaining the current marketing dollars, the business community can help you through this crisis. We are all in this together.

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Thank you for your time and your consideration in this very important matter.

Kathy and Terry Stokes

Steamboat Springs