Vail delays vote on conference cash
VAIL, Colorado ” Vail voters will have to wait until at least 2009 to weigh in on how to spend the $9 million conference center fund.
Town Council members said last week they wanted to wait for the proposal to redevelop the Lionshead parking structure to progress before they asked voters how to use the $9 million. The fund could be used to complement a conference center that’s planned for the Lionshead garage complex.
The money ” a combination of sales tax and lodging tax ” was collected between 2002 and 2005 for a conference center. But voters nixed the conference center in 2005. Voters would have to approve a new use for the money.
A couple of members of the lodging community said they thought it was a good idea to hold off.
“We do support at least delaying this for a year,” said Keith Odza, general manager of the Montaneros condominiums in Lionshead.
Hoteliers have said they think the money should be used for its original, underlying purpose ” bringing more hotel guests to town, especially in the offseason. Other community members have suggested other uses, from affordable housing to environmental initiatives.
But some councilors said last week that Vail should decide now how to spend the $9 million.
“I feel like we’ve delayed it as long as we should,” said Kim Newbury, a Vail councilwoman.
Councilmen Kevin Foley and Dick Cleveland also voted against waiting any longer.
“Are we just going to keep putting this off or sit down and say, ‘This is what we’re going to do’?” Foley said.
The fund has collected about $2 million in interest since voters rejected the conference center in 2005.
Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 748-2929 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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