Vote yes on 5A | AspenTimes.com

Vote yes on 5A

Dear Editor:

“You never want a serious crisis to go to waste, and what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things that you didn’t think you could do before.” – Rahm Emanuel speaking to the Wall Street Journal about the economy in November 2008.

In January, The Aspen Chamber Resort Association and the Aspen Lodging Association came together with business and civic leaders to consider opportunities to do things that they didn’t think they could do before. Anticipating the significant decrease in hotel occupancies and rates we’ve seen this past year, along with decreased tax revenues, they garnered support for an Aspen Local Marketing District, a mechanism to generate much-needed revenue in order to add to a small marketing budget to promote Aspen year-round. The Aspen Retail Association, Aspen City Council and Aspen Skiing Co. joined in their support for this 1 percent lodging tax, which will generate approximately $900,000 annually to augment the current marketing budget of .5 percent, which only generates about $450,000.

Current hotel rates and occupancies are 25 percent or more below what they used to be. The reality is that with a 1 percent lodging tax, visitors will continue to pay less for their stay, and we will have an opportunity to increase occupancies, stabilize jobs, keep restaurants and shops open and contribute to the economic vitality of our community.

If you live in the district, please don’t let your ballot go to waste. Vote YES on 5A and return your mail-in ballot no later than Nov. 3 and give everyone in Aspen an opportunity to continue to work and play here and do the things they didn’t think they could do before.

Bobbie Burkley

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