Letter: Don’t give in to greed, reject the recall petition | SteamboatToday.com

Letter: Don’t give in to greed, reject the recall petition

In 2019, I was introduced to the forces behind the short-term rental industry in Steamboat as an at-large member of the Vacation Rental Ad Hoc Advisory Committee. There I realized how difficult it was going to be to compromise on anything about STRs with our realtor and property manager leaders. Their unifying goal was the unimpeded growth of their businesses.

Do you remember Save Our Season (SOS), which begged locals to hermit themselves during the pandemic so that the state wouldn’t close our ski mountains?

And what about Steamboat Springs Community Preservation Alliance (SSCPA), a group that claims to “care about the wellbeing of Steamboat?”

Both sound pretty altruistic. But after closer examination, you’ll find their organizers are the same people that don’t want STRs to be limited or taxed. SOS didn’t want you to enjoy Steamboat so that their customers could. And SSCPA says they want to preserve the community, but only if it doesn’t limit or tax their businesses.

If you doubt their motivation, actions speak louder than words. The city committed years to research, surveys, community outreach and public hearings in order to make an informed decision on regulating STRs. And an election clearly stated the progress the community would like to see.

The STR industry leaders want you to recall City Council members and stop you from voting on an STR tax. They have even filed a lawsuit against the city for denying a referendum on a vote that hasn’t happened yet. Why would they do this? Are they election deniers? Are they fiscal conservatives? Are they against voting rights? Nope, it’s just plain old greed.

It’s quite ironic that they are using scare tactics on the “devastating impacts” the regulation and STR tax will have on our economy, while the resort is going “Full Steam Ahead” investing $200 million into the mountain. It is yet another false narrative to protect the business interests of the few, not the quality of life and the health of the community. If the SSCPA was serious about the wellbeing of the community, they would support the new tax on STRs because it goes toward affordable and attainable housing. And the last I checked, finding a job in Steamboat isn’t a problem, but finding a place to live is.

Please join me in saying, “Community first!” as you refuse to sign the recall.

Rob Rusher

Steamboat Springs

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