down town estes park 2022

Colleen DePasquale

Executive Director, Estes Park Chamber of Commerce

Colleen DePasquale

 

"I proudly joined the Estes Chamber of Commerce as its executive director back in May, and it hasn’t taken me long to fall in love with Estes Park. Some of my favorite experiences have been the outdoors activities and trying out beers at the many breweries in town. But it’s also been having the chance to meet the countless small businesses that make our town what it is. The chamber currently has more than 350 active members, many of whom are an integral part of the workforce.

For a decade, I was the president and CEO of the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce in Southwest Florida. My focus was helping members grow their businesses and advance their careers through educational and event programming. I hope to do the same right here, and the first step has been working with the Chamber board to advocate for a lodging tax extension in Estes Park. This is a 3.5 percentage point increase for visitors to our town — people who stay overnight in our hotels, motels, timeshares and other accommodations. This would not be a tax that residents have to pay.

Why the tax extension? Our motto at the chamber is “connecting business and community to cultivate a great place to live, work and play.” But unfortunately, that goal has been more difficult to attain for many residents in Estes Park. Housing prices are rising, inventory is low and childcare is difficult to find. For working families, Estes Park just might not feel like it’s the place for them. We want to change that, and with the lodging tax extension, we would generate funds to go towards workforce housing and childcare.

This is something that has been in the works for a while now. Agencies and business leaders throughout Estes Park have been brainstorming how to tackle these issues, and with the passage of House Bill 22-1117 earlier this year, Colorado municipalities can now use these taxes for housing and childcare programs. Other cities and towns in the Centennial State are jumping on board and others are also working to extend their lodging tax like we are. In fact, with our 3.5 percentage point increase, we would actually be aligned more closely with the tax rate of many communities in Colorado.

The lodging tax extension can only become a reality if the residents of Estes Park vote for it on Nov. 8. If you go on the calendar of events page on the Estes Chamber of Commerce website, you’ll notice that the League of Women Voters of Estes Park has upcoming voter registration drives planned for Aug. 25, Sept. 20, and Oct. 10. The group is nonpartisan and will be a great help to those who want to get registered, or update their registration information.  A lot of work has been put into this initiative, and you can learn more about the lodging tax extension by visiting taxyoudontpay.com

Voting is your tool to let our town and county leadership know that you support our local workforce and want to see the lodging tax extension passed."

Pledge to vote in the November 2022 election to demonstrate your commitment to the workforce in Estes Park.