Steamboat City Council to discuss water, cycling tonight | SteamboatToday.com
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Steamboat City Council to discuss water, cycling tonight

Steamboat could apply for state tax dollars for infrastructure

Agenda highlights

■ 5:10 p.m. Report by Grand Futures Prevention Coalition on results of Healthy Kids Colorado Survey; Steamboat Springs Teen Council update; Routt County Search and Rescue update; water issues/development update with water attorney Fritz Holleman; discussion of Regional Tourism Act and potential application for state sales tax funds for as much as $11 million of cycling infrastructure improvements

■ 7 p.m. Public comment; second and potentially final readings of ordinances to appropriate funds for Emerald Mountain land purchase and city’s hosting of Quiznos Pro Challenge bicycle race stages; development plan for moving of Howelsen Place real estate unit over one unit, to make room for incoming Quiksilver retail store; economic development update.

Agenda highlights

■ 5:10 p.m. Report by Grand Futures Prevention Coalition on results of Healthy Kids Colorado Survey; Steamboat Springs Teen Council update; Routt County Search and Rescue update; water issues/development update with water attorney Fritz Holleman; discussion of Regional Tourism Act and potential application for state sales tax funds for as much as $11 million of cycling infrastructure improvements

■ 7 p.m. Public comment; second and potentially final readings of ordinances to appropriate funds for Emerald Mountain land purchase and city’s hosting of Quiznos Pro Challenge bicycle race stages; development plan for moving of Howelsen Place real estate unit over one unit, to make room for incoming Quiksilver retail store; economic development update.

— City officials will spend a winter evening talking about two important summertime draws: water sports and cycling.



Water attorney Fritz Holleman will provide a broad update to the Steamboat Springs City Council tonight about statewide water issues and discuss recommendations to improve city water rights and resources. Also on tonight’s agenda is a resolution that would allow the city to apply for state sales tax funding that could fund $11 million in cycling-related infrastructure improvements in coming years, through the state’s Regional Tourism Act and the city’s Bike Town USA initiative.

Winnie DelliQuadri, the city’s government programs manager, said that if City Council approves the resolution, the city will apply to the Regional Tourism Act program by the May 5 deadline. The application would request a percentage of statewide sales tax revenues that exceed an established baseline. If the Colorado Economic Development Commission selects Steamboat in December as one of two Colorado entities that will receive Regional Tourism Act funding, the city could bond for projects such as Yampa River Core Trail extensions, bike lanes on Yampa Street, new mountain bike trails and more.



The state funds would depend on an upturn in the national economy to generate tax revenues that exceed the baseline, however.

“The downside is that if state tax dollars don’t come in, we (would) still have those bonds,” DelliQuadri said. “While there is some risk, we feel like we’re being extraordinarily conservative and the risk is minimal.”

DelliQuadri and several city directors have presented City Council with an assessment of potential fiscal impacts and revenues that details the proposal.

Tonight’s discussion with Holleman precedes the cycling discussion and originally was scheduled for December. City officials decided to postpone Holleman’s update until after the state Legislature convened this year.

Water sports are a significant moneymaker for local recreation, retail and lodging industries. Holleman told City Council in a Nov. 29 memo that according to a 2005 report by Stratus Consulting, aquatic amenities such as the Charlie’s Hole kayak feature on the Yampa River at Bud Werner Memorial Library can bring $7.2 million to the local economy annually.

Events including the annual Paddling Life Pro Invitational kayaking competition provide an example of the boost that water-related attractions can give the local economy.

But there’s a need for increased development and management, Holleman wrote, to ensure that those benefits continue.

The city pays about $19,000 annually for the release of 552 acre-feet of water from Stagecoach Reservoir, for example, but “does not have an effective way” to maximize use of that water, Holleman wrote.

He added that the city has a total of about 100 water rights from flows on creeks, small hot springs, Yampa River tributaries and more.

Securing and managing those rights will be crucial in coming years as Colorado sees increasing population and growth of industries, such as oil shale development, that will increase water demands.

Holleman’s discussion tonight is informational in nature and intended to float water-related ideas and plans before City Council, for feedback and direction.

— To reach Mike Lawrence, call 970-871-4233 or e-mail mlawrence@SteamboatToday.com


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