Disband the SVRA
September 4, 2003
Once again the Snowmass Village Resort Association board of directors has not delivered on its stated goal and plans as promised to its members in the deed-restricted West Village and surrounding properties.
At last January’s SVRA board meeting, Board Chairman Hiram Champlin indicated that it was SVRA’s intention to eliminate Common Assessments (a form of tax levied on property owners in the deed-restricted area of Snowmass Village, whether or not they receive any benefits from the operation of the Snowmass Conference Center or its Group Sales service) for its next fiscal year, which begins in October 2003. Chairman Champlin reiterated this position in an interview with Brent Gardner-Smith in the Jan. 21 edition of The Aspen Times.
At its April board meeting, the SVRA backtracked on its stated intention in January, and indicated that they needed a more gradual reduction in Common Assessments and a longer period to implement a commission-based revenue structure to replace the Common Assessments.
The most preferred option at that meeting was stated to be a 50 percent reduction in the upcoming fiscal year and the balance to be reduced to zero within the next one to two years.
Flash forward to last Friday’s August SVRA board meeting at which time the budget for the upcoming fiscal year was presented for board discussion and approval.
To the shock and dismay of many of us who had relied on the stated intentions of the board, the proposed budget which was approved by a 6-5 vote included only a 15 percent reduction in the Common Assessment and no firm plan spelled out for further reduction.
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It has become clear to this writer and many others in the village that the SVRA is not capable of achieving self-sustainability nor any of the other goals that it has set forth and that what is required is an entire re-thinking of the Resort Association structure and the ownership and operation of the Conference Center and its Group Sales function.
Due to many years of previous mismanagement, all of the historic functions performed by SVRA have been eliminated and taken over by other organizations and departments, with the exception of the ownership/operation of the Conference Center and Group Sales.
I firmly believe that the Conference Center and Group Sales is essential to the continued economic viability of Snowmass Village; however, the SVRA organization is and will continue to be incapable of achieving its goals and the economic goals of the community and therefore will continue to hold back our economic growth and sustainability.
It is clearly time for the community to take action in order to come up with a better plan, and it is imperative to sunset the SVRA as quickly as possible.
I would appreciate hearing the thoughts of all full- and part-time residents concerning these issues and whether there is a united desire to take action. You can communicate your thoughts, ideas and suggestions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mel D. Blumenthal