Mt. Crested Butte Briefs

Homestead affordable housing still empty
The affordable housing units owned by the town of Mt. Crested Butte in the Homestead development are still sitting empty.

 

 

During a Town Council meeting on December 2, town manager Joe Fitzpatrick said there were still no leads on a buyer or renter for either of the town’s new affordable housing units. The town completed its first duplex in Homestead this summer. Fitzpatrick said the town was working with several real estate agents to get the units listed. “We’ve had a couple of calls but nothing really solid in terms of a buyer, or someone to rent the unit. The rental market here is very saturated. There’s a lot of housing available. It’s a tough time. There are things for rent in Crested Butte South and all the way up, and not having public transportation up there is definitely a negative,” he said.
The town’s rental is being offered for $1,500 per month, and the other unit is listed for sale for $264,735.
Councilman Gary Keiser asked if the town had coordinated advertising efforts with Crested Butte Mountain Resort. CBMR has completed two triplexes, and has had success selling a mix of the units.
Fitzpatrick said the town wasn’t coordinating directly with CBMR, but they were both on the same page. Fitzpatrick said the town was giving tours, and on December 15 the town had an open house event at the duplex. During a council meeting the day after the open house, councilman Mike Kube said the units looked great, and complimented Fitzpatrick and community development coordinator Hunter Dale on their oversight of the project.
Kube asked if there were further ways to modify the deed restrictions governing the development. Fitzpatrick said at CBMR’s request the town had already eliminated a one-year residency requirement. The town has previously made other small changes to the document in an effort to get the units occupied. Fitzpatrick said if the council wanted to make further changes the town would have to get CBMR’s approval and make an agreement. There was no further discussion on the subject.

New fees for town records
Back in July the Colorado legislature amended the public records law and set up a new fee schedule that agencies are allowed to charge for copies of public information. The Mt. Crested Butte Town Council has approved two new resolutions to come into compliance. The new maximum that can be charged is 25 cents per page, unless actual costs against the town exceed that amount. Previously the town of Mt. Crested Butte has charged $1 per page.
Some of the town’s existing fees for records did not have to change. The town has typically charged extra for “search and retrieval,” a fee of $10 for records on CDs or tape, and $25 per hour for manipulation of data in a way the town wouldn’t normally use (making pie charts or tables).
The police department also charges $5 per records search, and $1 for redaction of information. Councilman Gary Keiser asked if “redaction” was a typo, or a technical term. Attorney Rod Landwehr said it was a term for censoring information on sensitive or active criminal files.

Admission tax fund, reports and grants
The town of Mt. Crested Butte granted its last two requests for admissions tax funds this year in December, and also heard a report from Crested Butte Mountain Resort on the success of a previous grant contribution.
On December 2 councilman Dave Clayton introduced an admissions tax fund request from Crested Butte Lodging for a last-minute marketing program to reel in more holiday travelers. Crested Butte Lodging was asking for a contribution of $17,308 for a holiday marketing program primarily targeted in Atlanta, one of the cities with a new direct airline service to Gunnison this year.
Crested Butte Lodging group sales manager Matt MacDonald gave a detailed explanation of the proposed marketing program, its expected impact on the Atlanta market and on connecting flights from other cities, and also how Crested Butte lodging planned to track the success and financial return from the town’s contribution.
After the sales pitch, councilman Mike Kube said he was less keen to support marketing programs that seemed to rely entirely on admissions tax funds and said he would rather see programs that are joint efforts.
Clayton said the request for funds would make up a small part of the company’s marketing budget, and Crested Butte Lodging general manager Wanda Bearth described some of the company’s simultaneous marketing efforts. Councilman Andrew Gitin and manager Joe Fitzpatrick voiced their support for the admissions tax fund request, which was ultimately granted unanimously by the council.
At the same meeting, members from the Adaptive Sports Center presented a request for admissions tax funds to boost marketing efforts for winter outreach and the Crested Butte Open in the summer. Gitin said $2,500 of the $6,500 request would be used to provide the marketing materials that the ASC’s development staff uses when they travel in person to make marketing pitches to health clinics and hospitals around the country. In this case the outreach was being targeted at Texas and Chicago. Clayton said he believed the ASC’s in-person marketing approach was important for the type of programs they run.
The rest of the funding would be used to create a package marketing deal for the 2009 Crested Butte Open to encourage attendees to make a longer stay in the area.
Then on December 16, representatives from Crested Butte Mountain Resort came to give a progress report on their use of a $100,000 admissions tax fund grant, which was given back in September and used to supplement CBMR’s buy two/get one free airline program. The “Friends and Family Fly Free” promotion was a special deal CBMR offered for early bookings. Chief operating officer Ken Stone, director of sales and marketing Daren Cole, and central reservations and revenue management director Jeff Moffett were all on hand to give their explanation of the data.
The CBMR representatives said a total of 829 passengers had been tracked through the program, with an average length of stay of five days. The travelers have booked vacations throughout the ski season, with the most vacations during the holidays. The number of passengers was higher than CBMR expected, but their length of stay was shorter. By factoring in projected spending patterns for each guest, CBMR calculated that the town earned $60,000 in sales tax through the program, and there was a total tax contribution across the county of $160,350.
Clayton said in light of the recent economic struggles and lower vacation bookings nationwide, CBMR’s program was a good thing to have. “I’d hate to see what the numbers would be if we hadn’t done something,” Clayton said. He also complimented CBMR on the positive efforts Guest Services was making to improve peoples’ ski vacations.
Stone said they would be back in January with a new admissions tax fund request.

Chamber services agreement
For a second year the town of Mt. Crested Butte has approved an agreement with the Crested Butte/Mt. Crested Butte Chamber of Commerce for the operation of the two local visitor’s centers. Chamber executive director Christi Matthews explained that the agreement was necessary since the chamber has taken on some new goals in terms of business representation in the political arena. Matthews said the agreement was to separate the financing of the chamber’s operation of the visitor’s centers from their other new duties. “We want to be careful what we do with tax money and public funds and how we account for those,” Matthews said.
Matthews said the chamber was also working with the Mt. Crested Butte Town Center Community Association to create a Mt. Crested Butte-specific event around the Fourth of July holiday, which is typically dominated by events in the town of Crested Butte.
The agreement asks the town for two payments of $22,500 from the Business Occupation and Licensing Tax (BOLT) in January and April (contingent upon actual collections), and asks that any remaining funds accumulated through the BOLT be given to the chamber in October.
The agreement also includes reporting requirements, so the town knows how many people are making inquiries into starting up a business and how much traffic the two visitor’s centers get on special event days.

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