Gilliam: Only little guys pinched

I am so sick of the people of Aspen continuing to gripe about how the town has changed and only the billionaires can afford to come/live here, etc., etc., etc. Yet, the City Council is looking to further reduce the visiting population to only those with the highest socioeconomic backgrounds, making it more and more unaffordable for normal people!

Can’t you see that by doubling the current short-term-rental tax of 11.3% to 24.4%, Aspen will continue to weed out the less desirable guest or those not of super-wealthy stature?

Not only have the hotels priced many people out, so have the airlines, restuarants, retail stores, lift tickets, winter and summer activies (Cost me $100 to take a 4 minute ride on the Snowmass roller coaster last week).

At $800 to $2,500-plus for a hotel room, Aspen needs more affordable options. What many people don’t realize is: 

1) Most homes that rent do not rent weekly at all anymore (Although, you do see some at $10,000-$20,000 a night over Christmas). 

2) More and more people buying today don’t need to rent and they don’t, taking more STRs out of the inventory.

3) Many STR guests today also pay housekeeping and checkout cleaning cost, a 3% to 6.8% service fee, and thousands in security deposits, etc. 

4) Not only are owners taxed on the income they receive, they now must pay to have their property managed, per the city, pay the STR fees to the city, pay the HOA fees, pay the utilities, pay the commissions and pay all the wear-and-tear costs, etc.

If this tax is approved, it will be the families, weekend skiers and normal folks who help bring diversity to this small town who will pay the cost. This tax is not a tax on the billionaires nor will it affect them! 

(The Aspen Times and Aspen Daily News would much better serve the people if they educated the public on the pros and cons of the topics at hand. So tired of the one-sided journalism when it come to important issues like this!) 

It’s not always about how much money the city can make off its guests and residents! 

Kristi Gilliam