Thoughts Regarding The Local Marketing District
To The Editor:
As citizens we watch with mixed emotions as the American economy has become a political football and are increasingly frustrated by our limited voice in the process. It is comforting to know that as residents of the Estes Valley we can act locally to insure our community’s economic future through our votes this fall.
As voters of the Estes Valley we have the opportunity to vote for the Local Marketing District. The LMD would be funded by a pillow tax of 2% to be applied to room rates at the local (both in and out of Town) lodging establishments. The monies generated would be used by an independent local board appointed by the County Commissioners and Town Board to market, promote and advertise our community to the front range, the rest of the country and beyond. By taking the funding of marketing, promotion and advertising for our community out of the political arena where it regularly competes for funding with the other worthy works of local government, our future revenues will be insured (to the extent they can be from outside influences and an unsure world).
Many communities and counties around the state assess pillow/lodging taxes to their visitors as a means of generating revenue for a variety of needs in their communities: economic development, transit, infrastructure etc. Lodging tax rates in Colorado that I was able to research are generally between 1 and 6.5% with the average being approximately 2%. This includes major metropolitan areas (Broomfield 1.6%, Pueblo 4.3%,Glendale 6.5%) and mountain destinations similar to Estes (Frisco 2.35%, Durango 2%, Breckenridge 2.4%). Those who travel at home and abroad are familiar with, and generally accepting of, reasonable lodging tax rates.
Over the years I have seen the advertising and marketing budget compete with other general fund expenditures often to their detriment. It is high time we, as so many other communities around the state and country have done, secure their tourism economies with revenue streams that not only keep pace with the ever-rising costs of marketing and advertising but also be insulated from the whims of future elected officials.
Having collected signatures to allow this initiative to come to a vote of the citizens, I believe this is not only the right thing to do, but the smart thing to do. I encourage you to support this measure – it is a tax that we as residents will not pay that will keep our hometown economy strong and our services high.
Estes Park, Colorado