Chair Deborah Gibson
Vice Chair Sean Jurgens
Treasurer & Town Trustee Scott Webermeier
Secretary McShan Walker
Director Pat Murphy
Director Rich Chiappe
Director Jerusha Rice
"Living expenses are rising — and it’s impacting our tourism industry
Thanks to our proximity to the Rocky Mountains, nearly 4.5 million visitors come through Estes Park every year. It’s no wonder that tourism is our top industry, with business owners and workers in lodging, restaurants, breweries and distilleries, boutiques and other sites making our town the destination that it is.
But for too long, the tourism workforce has been impacted by unaffordable housing and a lack of childcare. That’s why the Visit Estes Park Board of Directors has been advocating for a 3.5% lodging tax extension to make sure our workforce has these vital necessities.
What is the lodging tax extension?
A lodging tax is on the bill for overnight guests in Estes Park. With the extension, we’ll be able to utilize those monies for housing and childcare for the tourism workforce. Voters in Eagle County will have a similar decision ahead of them on the ballot, and should the increase pass, we would be more closely aligned with the percentage in 13 other Colorado communities.
The most important thing that residents need to know: you will not be paying this tax. The lodging tax is only for visitors to Estes Park and is included on their bill while staying in our hotels, motels, vacation rentals and other overnight accommodations.
How does this benefit Estes Park residents?
In a 2016 Housing Needs Assessment conducted in the town, almost all respondents felt that the inability of employees in the town to find affording housing was “serious” or “critical,” and thousands of respondents said affordable housing was not available to them or that they were living in housing that was beyond their means. A study was also done on childcare needs in 2018; more than half of respondents said they use non-parent childcare. However, for those who utilize parent-only care, top reasons were they couldn’t afford daycare or they couldn’t get into quality care.
Visit Estes Park put together a Lodging Tax Exploration Task Force to look into the benefits of a lodging tax extension. After six meetings filled with lively debate, the task force recommended the 3.5% increase. Based on their own experience as well as a slough of studies and feedback from the community, they recognized how great a need for housing and childcare is.
Voting on Nov. 8
We hope you’ll come out on Nov. 8 to show your support for our tourism workforce and vote in favor of the tax extension. If you’re not yet registered to vote, the Estes Park League of Women Voters has organized a number of voter registration drives around town in the coming weeks. A nonpartisan group, they'll be able to help you get registered and let your voice be heard this November.
Tourism is a huge boon to Estes Park and we must support the workforce that keeps us afloat — tell our town and county leadership that you support the lodging tax extension."
Pledge to vote in the November 2022 election to demonstrate your commitment to the workforce in Estes Park.