Snowmass biz on the upswing
Ryan Summerlin February 5, 2014
The town of Snowmass Village brought in 6.5 percent more revenue than expected in 2013 due to higher sales and real estate transactions, according to a report issued Friday.
The Snowmass Village annual report, produced for the first time since 2009, is a sort of “year in review” for the various departments of the town government, said Kelly Vaughn, director of communications. It includes some data and statistics but also a look at the people and issues that make the departments tick.
Sales tax revenue was up 12.04 percent over 2012, according to the report. Other revenue accounts that increased were the real estate transfer tax fund, Federal Transportation Administration grants, parking, special bus runs and the Aspen Skiing Co. mitigation contribution.
The town projects that lodging tax, rent, building and recreation revenue will increase in 2014.
In 2013, 34 percent of the town’s revenue came from sales taxes. Snowmass Village has a municipal sales tax of 3.5 percent.
Property tax accounted for 13 percent of the revenue, as did housing rents. The town’s affordable-housing program includes 247 rental apartment units and 177 deed-restricted units, from studios to multiple-bedroom homes.
Sixteen percent of the town’s expenditures went to marketing and special events. Snowmass Village spent 14 percent of its expenditures on public works and 13 percent on transportation. Ten percent of expenditures related to housing and administration.
Much of the report focuses on the status of Base Village development. In 2013, the owner of the project, a Related Cos. subsidiary, introduced a zoning-amendment application that garnered it approval for Building 13B, the second phase of the Viceroy. Since then, the review process for a proposed Skico-owned hotel also has begun, and Related has requested an extension of the vesting rights — set to expire in November — for the project.
“Much has changed since 2007,” the report says. “Developers and public officials alike are now grappling to define the ‘new normal’ for large-scale development.”
“While everyone is eager to see a new master plan for Base Village unveiled and implemented, we’re likely going to see smaller segments of the project brought forth and considered by council piece-by-piece,” said Town Manager Gary Suiter. “Developers are finding ways to reduce their risk by incrementally building their projects while the real estate, tourism and retail markets strengthen. What’s been brought to the table is consistent with what other communities are experiencing with new project timelines and phasing.”
The report also details the town’s goals for increasing recycling and partnering with Aspen and Pitkin County to develop a “world-class trail system,” something that would be key to boosting year-round tourism. The three entities invited public comment at a meeting Jan. 30, which will be considered in drafting a comprehensive plan for trails from Woody Creek to above Aspen.
Total households with a Snowmass Village Recreation Center membership or punch pass increased from 2,168 in 2012 to 3,022 in 2013.
With a new director at the helm in 2013, Snowmass Tourism — the town’s marketing, special-events and group-sales arm — implemented some new practices. The report focused on Snowmass Tourism’s new website, GoSnowmass.com. The website incorporates all the information pertinent to a visitor and is mobile-friendly, the report says.
Snowmass Tourism also launched Tourism Tuesdays, public forums for local businesspeople to share their thoughts and ideas with one another and with the department, the report says. Director Yan Baczkowski also led a team of staff members to some international trade shows in 2013.