Estes Park Housing Authority
"I am passionately aware that we must expand our thinking to protect the economic foundation of Estes Park so it can thrive both now and in the future. We've spent phenomenal energy studying the needs of our community, and now we must take action. It is critical that employees and their families live, work and play right here in this beautiful Rocky Mountain Valley. Their energy, commitment and love of nature will give us the stability necessary to address the challenges this Valley faces over the next 20 years. We are bringing forth solutions, and I stand in support of making it possible for businesses, public institutions and the Park to be able to attract and retain the staff they need here in the Valley, by providing access to quality housing and childcare."
"Estes Park residents are being priced out of housing — but this tax extension can help
If passed, dollars from a new lodging tax extension for our town’s visitors will support the local workforce
Being on the Estes Park Housing Authority board of directors, it’s probably not surprising that affordable housing and childcare are important issues to me. And with tourism being a lifeline for the town, it’s critical that the industry’s employees can actually afford to live here.
But unfortunately, the numbers aren’t showing that. According to a Housing Needs Assessment done in 2016, there has been an increase in employees commuting into Estes Park, namely from down-valley communities like Loveland, Fort Collins and Boulder County. And with rising housing costs, we’re seeing that Estes Park is losing families and young and middle-aged households; they simply can’t afford it. Instead, the town is turning into a place for second homes. While we embrace all residents, the Housing Authority recognizes that we need to think about not just next year or the five after it, but where we’ll be 20 years from now.
Without these workforce demographics, we can’t survive.
Estes Park is also falling behind in creating new units. In 2016, the town estimated that we would need anywhere from 1,480 to 1,690 new units to keep up with the housing demand. But from 2016 to 2021, only 234 permits were issued for new housing. That’s a massive drop. For example, from 2000 to 2008 there were 861 permits issued for new builds. Meanwhile, residential vacation homes are on the rise; since 2010, the number has doubled within our town limits.
All residents, business owners, lodging owners and other businesses will benefit from a stable workforce to keep things up and running in an effective manner. Leadership across all sectors of Estes Park have been working on a solution: a lodging tax extension. What we’re proposing is an increase of 3.5% percentage points to the lodging tax, which would go toward supporting affordable housing and childcare. This tax is only applicable to overnight visitors of Estes Park; residents’ taxes will not be impacted. Thirteen other municipalities around Colorado have already increased their lodging taxes. And we want this to work, which is why we also want a working plan to ensure that the tax is being implemented and monitored properly.
We've spent phenomenal energy studying the needs of our community, and now we must take action. You can sign the pledge to vote on taxyoudontpay.com and also spread the word to your family, neighbors and friends about how this tax extension can better our community. And most importantly, don’t forget to go to the polls to vote — if you’re not registered, you can do that online or attend one of the upcoming registration events hosted by the League of Women Voters of Estes Park, a nonpartisan group.
Nov. 8 is your chance, a chance to tell our town and county leadership that you support using lodging taxes paid for by visitors to go toward better housing and childcare for our tourism workforce."
Pledge to vote in the November 2022 election to demonstrate your commitment to the workforce in Estes Park.