Steamboat Springs City Council finalizes 2020 goals
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Steamboat Springs City Council finalized their five priority goals for the 2020 adopted budget during their Tuesday, Jan. 14 meeting. They worked to identify and narrow down their legislative priorities during their December retreat.
The goals are intended to provide policy guidance. Each goal will have a fiscal impact with various sources of revenue, which will be further discussed as they make progress on each individual goal.
The first goal deals with transportation and mobility and covers things like improving safety and infrastructure for bicycles and pedestrians and bringing the Bustang to Steamboat. The inter-regional express bus service may expand into the Yampa Valley by January 2021.
As the city moves forward with their Multi-Modal Transportation Plan, council will be working on considering everything from traffic congestion and downtown parking to improving sidewalks, the gondola transit center and other pedestrian infrastructure.
“Pursuit of a multi-modal approach to providing transportation mobility in the area is and will be a vital directive of community leaders and the city to preserve quality of life, alleviate congestion issues and avoid costly, if not prohibitive, infrastructure projects,” according to the city’s website.
The transportation-related goal also includes partnering with private and public entities, such as the creation of a regional transportation district in partnership with the county.
The second involves building a new fire station. Council plans to select a site downtown, which at an October meeting they narrowed down to two options: the current location of city offices, plus a parking lot at 10th Street and Lincoln Avenue, or the station at 840 Yampa St.
The plan right now is to renovate and enlarge the Mountain Fire Station, at 2600 Pine Grove Road on the east end of Steamboat. That would require the construction of a smaller satellite station in one of the proposed locations. City Council also plans to work out the financials and break ground in 2021.
Voters approved a 2-mill property tax last November to fund fire and emergency services, marking the first property tax the city has levied in 40 years. It is expected to generate $1.4 to $1.5 million in annual revenue.
The third goal relates to bears and trash and seeks to minimize the number of bears euthanized. The council opted to replace the goal of “zero” bear killings with the word “minimize” after hearing a presentation in which a wildlife expert suggested it was an unrealistic goal, in that there will always be some bears requiring removal — which did not mean relocation. Council kept their goal to maintain, “zero human/bear conflicts that result in harm” and are already working on an ordinance requiring bear-resistant trash containers for residents and businesses.
Sustainable funding is the fourth goal, which includes exploring a new agreement with the Steamboat Springs Chamber regarding a new source of funding for destination marketing, which may involve the creation of a tourism improvement district.
They will also be exploring a “lift tax,” and the possibility of enlisting Steamboat Resort to take over operations of Howelsen Hill Ski Area while the city would maintain ownership. Other goals for ensuring funding for Community Support, through which the city provides funding for various community nonprofits and programs.
The council set affordable housing as their final priority goal, focusing on pursuing public/private partnerships, such as with the West Steamboat Neighborhoods annexation. They also plan to “consider innovative funding models.”
In July 2019, the council repealed inclusionary zoning, the long-dormant city code that required developers to create affordable housing within a project or pay a fee to the city. Revenue from the fee was used to build affordable housing.
They also plan to use their measurements set in Oct. 2019 to create an index to indicate its success in meeting those goals and “finish policy discussion on city’s role in providing housing opportunities.”
City Council will vote at a meeting in coming weeks to approve their goals through a resolution.
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