Potential lodging tax ballot question July 11 outcome: Golden City Council decided to continue discussing the idea of a lodging tax, but will be holding off for at least another year before putting …
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Potential lodging tax ballot question
July 11 outcome:
Golden City Council decided to continue discussing the idea of a lodging tax, but will be holding off for at least another year before putting it on a ballot. City councilmembers were not ready to make a decision on how a lodging tax would be spent and, in general, agreed that polling residents would be helpful.
The idea to ask residents to vote on a lodging tax first came about from the Golden Investment Forum Task Force — a group of people appointed by council who were to assist in investigating where additional capital investments should be made to best benefit the community. The task force formed near the end of 2017, but the group’s most recent agenda available on the city’s is from September 2018.
Two grassroots community groups have since submitted proposals for how a lodging tax could be used. One proposal would support cultural facilities, and the other would support open space and/or affordable housing.
City council members are also considering a Visitor Improvement and Impact Program (VIIP) for the revenues from a lodging tax. According to city documents, the VIIP would be a city administered program and would fund various projects and programs related to mitigating the impact of visitors to the community as well as enhancing the visitor experience. A VIIP Advisory Board would be responsible for the reviewing the various projects and programs.
Astor House update
July 11 outcome:
Golden City Council agreed that more discussions need to take place before any determination is made on if the Foster proposal for the Astor House should be accepted. If city council accepts the offer, it would include selling the Astor House, which would require a citywide public vote. Council felt there were still too many unknowns — impacts on parking and noise, and feasibility of the proposed business model, among others — as of the July 11 meeting to make an informed decision on including the sale question on the November ballot.
“We really do value the Astor House for its historical value,” said City Councilmember Paul Haseman. “If we go forward, I'd like to see staff work out, in their discussions, some way that the city has some control if the economics of it just doesn't work.”
The Astor House, 822 12th St., was built in 1867 and was owned by Seth Lake who operated it as a hotel. It was later rented to other proprietors for a period of time until Ida Goetz, a widowed German immigrant, bought it in 1892 and opened it as a boarding house, which served the public until the 20th century.
The house has been city-owned since the early 1970s, when, after a public vote, the city bought it and opened it as an historic house museum. It operated as such until it closed in 2015 to undergo a major rehabilitation and preservation project, which cost approximately $500,000. The Astor House has been empty since.
On Sept. 24, 2018, the city issued a public Request For Proposals, which is a formal solicitation for ideas, to help determine the future use of the Astor House. Five such proposals were received by the deadline of Nov. 12, 2018. The city formed a review committee consisting of three city council members, city staff and three community members.
The five proposals were presented to the review committee on Feb. 11, and the city later asked the authors of the five proposals to resubmit with additional details and revisions by May 20.
Two proposals were resubmitted, and on June 13, city council decided to move forward with one that's being called the Foster proposal, which partnered with the authors of the Astor Yard .
The Foster proposal is presented by Regan and Libby Foster, owners of The Dove Inn, 711 14th St., a mid-1800s home they renovated and turned into a modern bed and breakfast. Their proposal for the Astor House envisions a juice-and-snack bar and health facility on the first floor that would double as a community area at night. The second floor would host a micro hotel/modern hostel. For the park area behind the building, the Astor Yard proposal envisions constructing an additional building to provide a public space featuring indoor and outdoor elements that boast a commercial kitchen for food vending and a second-floor patio for dining, gathering and events/programs.
The Fosters prefer to purchase the Astor House, Regan Foster told city councilmembers on July 11, but would not be opposed to discussing a lease agreement.
At the June 13 meeting, city council requested that the Foster/Astor Yard proposal be reviewed by some of Golden's boards and commissions. It was presented to the Downtown Development Authority on June 17; the Parks, Recreation and Museums Advisory Board on June 18; the Citizens Budget Advisory Committee on June 19; and the Historic Preservation Board on July 8.
“Nothing has been negotiated at this point. It is still just an idea,” said City Councilmember Laura Weinberg. “It (currently) is city property because of a ballot measure. All of that is still up for discussion.”
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