Dave DeRose answers an audience question Wednesday night during the Craig lodging tax forum at Craig City Hall. Progress for Craig, a group designed to promote the 6.9-percent tax, hosted the forum, which focused on answering residents’ questions about how the levy would be used to market the area and what its benefits and consequences could be to the community.

Photo by Brian Smith

Dave DeRose answers an audience question Wednesday night during the Craig lodging tax forum at Craig City Hall. Progress for Craig, a group designed to promote the 6.9-percent tax, hosted the forum, which focused on answering residents’ questions about how the levy would be used to market the area and what its benefits and consequences could be to the community.

Progress for Craig promotes 2B

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Dave DeRose listens to a question Wednesday during a lodging tax forum at Craig City Hall organized by Progress for Craig. City voters will determine the fate of the tax, which proposes dividing collected revenues into four categories related to the improvement of tourism in the area, during Tuesday’s general election.

Joe Ence, a Moffat County resident who lives outside Craig city limits, came to a Craig lodging tax forum Wednesday with a few questions.

Ence said he was concerned about potential damage the proposed 6.9-percent lodging tax would have on the area’s image for visitors.

“Maybe the hunters that have been coming every year … go, ‘You know, this little town is expensive — milk, eggs, gas and now hotels,’” he said.

Ence said he believes the community could promote the area without the 6.9-percent levy, which will be up for vote in Tuesday’s general election.

“Things are working,” he said of current marketing efforts. “I don’t know if we need a 7-percent add on to do this. We just need more involvement, we need to keep people thinking, and I think we are on the right track.”

Craig resident Dave DeRose, who served on the committee that worked for several months to develop the lodging tax proposal, had a response for Ence.

“No, we’re not,” DeRose said.

“If we don’t position (ourselves) by proper marketing … we won’t recover. We will still have the same problem we have got today.”

Ence was one of about 20 residents who attended the forum at Craig City Hall hosted by Progress For Craig, a group seeking to promote the potential tax.

The forum focused on answering residents’ questions about how the 6.9-percent tax would be used to market the area, what capital improvements would be built with the tax money, and what its benefits and consequences could be to the community.

DeRose said Craig needs to start marketing itself to improve the local economy.

“I believe in my heart … that we have to do something or more people are going to fail than we can ever guess,” he said. “If we do nothing right now this is probably the best it is going to be. And if we do this, and it was the worst it ever was, won’t we be happy about that?”

Several members of the local lodging industry expressed concerns about potential impacts the tax would have on their businesses.

Diana Cook, co-owner of the Taylor Street Bed & Breakfast, said she was concerned about the percentage and nature of the tax.

“I think right now it is because of the economy,” she said of why tourism in the area isn’t thriving. “And we are 50 percent down due to the economy, but yet you are only going to target the lodging people for taxes instead of the whole (city).”

Craig resident Ken Wergin said the lodging industry would ultimately benefit from the tax.

“You are going to collect that money and that money, by God, if I am around … better go toward the people who are collecting it,” he said. “The best way to do that is by marketing the area in tourism to bring the people.”

Wergin also implored lodging representatives to “get off the tax (and) look at the benefits.”

Craig resident Chris Jones spoke to the potential benefits of the tax to the area’s economy. He contends businesses might be lured to the area if tourism increases.

“They are going to say, ‘Wow, they just passed this tourism tax, they are building this, building that, that is going to be a place where I want to build my business,” he said.

But, Jones asked the audience why a business would invest in Craig, “when we are not invested in Craig?”

Craig resident Scott Cook said “it is time we try to do something for ourselves” to bolster the economy.

Diana Cook responded by saying she agreed, but “the rate they are asking right now with the economy the way it sits is awful high.”

“Like with our business, because the economy is so bad, we have to get a bigger piece of the pie,” Scott Cook said in response. “But what this will do is it’ll make the pie bigger.”

George Rohrich, chief executive officer of The Memorial Hospital, said there would be long-term benefits to the city if the measure passes.

“I believe there is risk and there is benefit that are hard to determine,” he said. “But, I believe … that the benefit, especially moving out in time, has huge momentum and if you are not running at maximum today, it is going to help you get there.”

After the meeting, DeRose said he thought the forum helped convince a few people who were on the fence about the measure to vote in favor.

“Now, was that a good use of two hours to get two votes?” he said. “I suppose so.”

DeRose said he was unsure if the measure would pass. When asked if he thought Progress for Craig did enough to educate the community about the benefits of the tax, he said “probably not.”

“But, I don’t know if there ever is enough,” he said. “But, I think we did all we could do in the time we were allotted.”

Comments

craigcampnfamle 3 years, 5 months ago

How can we pass 2B? There is so much fraud going on in the current MCTA board that I don’t trust how the lodging tax is distributed. After Michelle Balleck, Christine Oxey (Yummy101) and Audrey Danner handpicked a new board of Craig Chamber of Commerce yes women, it has imploded. They are in constant violation of the Sunshine Law. None know the definition of conflict of interest. They are Chamber Ambassadors and don’t excuse themselves from voting for Chamber office improvements. It seems that it is Craig Chamber of Commerce MCTA and Christine wants to run it. There again conflict of interest of Tom Mathers county commissioner voting on MCTA decisions when his daughter is Director of CCC and is hand in hand with MCTA. How vested are they when they are just employed and not owners of tourism industry businesses? Dave DeRose was denied appointment to the MCTA board for reasoning that his business doesn’t fit the tourism parameters. How is Candy Dilldine’s business different in that respect to Dave’s? She is involved with GOWD, and if that is her tourism connection. Then Dave is involved with Whittle the Woods so why is that not his connection? Again hand picks them, never mind someone who will stand up for a cause. Where were all those many applicants for MCTA board that the commissioners were so happy about when they ran off Pat McCaffery, Diane Brannon and tried to run off Frank Moe? Bylaws indicate a number of the members must be in the lodging industry. With Frank Moe, Cindy Looper and Pat McCaffery off the board, where are these lodging business owners that are supposed to be on the board. Hand picking the new MCTA Director also. Odd, Terry Carwile brings up city lodging tax after his girlfriend is hired as MCTA Director. Again Chamber of Commerce and MCTA hand in hand. Commissioners have already taken the MCTA credit card from the director. When that was done to Shelly Flannery it hit the papers, so why not this time. Could it be because Brice Jacobson is on the MCTA board? Again conflict of interest, the MCTA spends lots of advertizing dollars with the press. Just food for thought, Check it out, before you vote for 2B, Audrey Danner or Tom Mathers for commissioner.

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ChrisJones 3 years, 5 months ago

Craigcampnfamie, Posting your opinion on the merits of 2B is a constructive manner to spur conversation and dialougue. However, I must caution that opinions cannot be passed as facts.

The fact is that the Craig Chamber of Commerce nor the MCTA will be controlling the funds generated by 2B. The marketing funds will be managed by a five member committee of citizens appointed by the Craig City Council. The capital improvements funds will be managed by a three member committee of citizens, also appointed by City Council.

It is imperative that this delineation is made clear and succinct.

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cougarchristine 3 years, 5 months ago

This article says it has 2 comments but I can't seem to view them. Any suggestions?

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unbelievable6060 3 years, 5 months ago

Dear craigcampnfamle,

You really need to get your facts straight! For someone who seems to be so connected to many different community groups and people, how can you have so many things wrong?

Fact #1 - You are referring to the MCTA board not the Craig Chamber of Commerce board. The Craig Chamber of Commerce board is chosen by the Chamber members by a ballot, not handpicked by anyone.

Fact #2 - Did you ever think the County Commissioners wanted to change over the MCTA board because of the ineffectiveness it has had for so many years? Do you believe the bad press MCTA has had over the years is only due to the current new board? It is my understanding this board has only been seated for not even a full year, so it is hard to blame everything wrong with MCTA on the current board.

Part of the logic behind the 2B/lodging tax is to promote Moffat County which hasn't been done in the past, which has become very apparent by the amount of money left over in the MCTA county fund. Wasn't the balance close to $300,000? Can anyone answer why the previous board which did consist of Ms. McCaffrey, Ms. Brannon, Mrs. Villard and Mr. Moe did not use the funds available to market Moffat County, isn't that what they were on the board to do? Even though MCTA seems to always struggle and have issues, I find it hard to believe the new board is the reason.

Fact #3 - did you ever consider when Mr. DeRose applied for the MCTA board there could have been other candidates which were better suited and did meet the qualifications?

Fact #4 - Whether or not Referendum 2B passes or does not - the concept is a great idea and is the best one I have heard in many years to promote and truly market the wonderful area we live in. If we continue down the current path, where do you see us in five years? By moving the tourism fund to the city, this opens new avenues due to state statues on how this fund can be spent. I only wish the lodging tax group could have been able to educate each and every individual.

I for one am voting YES on 2B as well as I am voting for Audrey Danner and Tom Mathers. It is the future of Moffat County.

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MoCo4life 3 years, 5 months ago

Well said Unbelievable. I'm certain mine will be the last comment on this thread. Actual facts send most of the cockroaches on this forum scurrying into the dark to hide. As is evident from campnfamile's skewed version, facts aren't required to post here, just a good imagination.

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