Profits from liquor sales on Fanny Hill spur debate in Snowmass
Snowmass Village correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
SNOWMASS VILLAGE – Liquor sales from concerts on Fanny Hill last summer netted the town about $30,000 in profit – a windfall that two members of the Snowmass Village Town Council believe is wrong.
Still, Arnie Mordkin and John Wilkinson failed to convince their colleagues that the Marketing, Group Sales and Special Events Board needs to redo its 2010 budget in order to ensure there’s no gain from liquor sales. This summer, profit from booze is budgeted at $35,000, according to Snowmass Tourism Manager Susan Hamley. Mordkin spoke of the “uproar” that resulted three years ago when the town decided to ban the practice of bringing one’s own liquor on the hill and categorized the earnings as “sleight of hand. We agreed that (profit from) liquor sales by themselves would be a zero.”
He went on to say, “There comes a time when you either stand up for what you said you were going to do or you don’t.”
Hamley responded that the profit came because Snowmass Tourism was able to secure a liquor sponsor, adding that these additional dollars are being used to fund more Thursday night concerts in 2010.
While Councilman Reed Lewis said he agreed in principle with Mordkin and Wilkinson – that liquor sales should not be a profit center, he said it’s more important to host additional free shows.
“I think we need to look at the big picture,” he said.
Lewis, who owns a liquor store, said, “I think the prices are very fair.” A beer on Fanny Hill is $2, he noted.
Wilkinson said he remembers “quite a community uproar” when the town decided to halt bring-your-own booze in 2007. It was also noted in the meeting that during the first summer that beer and wine was sold on Fanny Hill, proceeds were donated to various nonprofit organizations. In subsequent years, the proceeds have landed in the town coffers.
Councilwoman Markey Butler said that, while she understands the heated discussions of several years ago, times have changed. “I think we have bigger fish to fry,” she said.
The board majority agreed to keep the profits from liquor sales, at least this summer, plugging them back into the event.
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