Stewards of air service program planning public outreach campaign |

Stewards of air service program planning public outreach campaign

Scott Franz

A United plane arrives at Yampa Valley Regional Airport during the holiday season in 2013.

— Wondering what could happen if the quarter-cent sales tax dedicated to winter air service at Yampa Valley Regional Airport isn’t renewed in 2016?

Confused by the complex waterfall diagram that shows who pays how many hundreds of thousands of dollars to support the program?

The board that oversees the funding of the local air service program wants to make these things clear for members of the public before voters here potentially decide whether to renew the sales tax in November 2016.

The Local Marketing District board is asking the Steamboat Springs City Council to approve a 2015-16 operating budget that would spend nearly $50,000 on the public education and outreach effort.

The effort would include such things as a printed annual report, interviews with local business owners about the impact of the tax and the air service program and a series of public meetings.

The LMD board voted Friday to announce its intention to contract with the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association to head up the campaign.

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“The citizens need to understand the program to decide if this is something they want to continue or not,” Chamber CEO Jim Clark said.

The quarter-cent sales tax for winter air service is due to expire at the end of next year.

Clark on Friday provided the LMD Board with the proposed scope of an education campaign.

The campaign would seek to answer a range of questions such as how the air program funding process works and who contributes to the program privately.

LMD board members suggested there are misconceptions in the community about the program.

The educational campaign would be funded by some of the 2 percent lodging tax that is dedicated to funding winter airline service.

Clark said because the campaign would be funded by public dollars, it must be separate from a campaign effort to renew the air service tax.

The City Council will consider approving the LMD operating plan and budget on Sept. 15.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10

2015/2016 air program highlights

• The program will include about 122,300 round-trip available seats this upcoming winter season. This is an increase of 13 percent of seats flown last winter season. The increase is available on peak dates and days of the week.

• Non-stop flight frequency with United Airlines will increase as follows:

-Washington, D.C., expands from 13 Saturdays to 27 Saturdays and Sundays

-Newark goes from 15 Saturdays to 27 Saturdays and Sundays

-Los Angeles expands from four per week to daily, a 71 percent increase

• Delta service from Minneapolis/St. Paul expands with an extra Saturday flight from Feb. 13 to March 26

• Nonstop jet service from Seattle via Alaska Airlines will fly four times a week, an increase from three times a week last season

• An additional Dallas flight is in place over the holidays for the second year

• United expanded weekend flights from Chicago to daily most of the season.

-Source: Local Marketing District