BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. (CBS4) – A dispute over a proposed tax on admission to the Breckenridge Ski Resort could get ugly.
The Town of Breckenridge wants the resort owned by Vail Resorts to impose a tax on all lift tickets. Some of the money would fund a parking garage.
The town council says if the resort does not agree to the user tax increase then they will put it to the voters. The resort has vowed to fight any type of tax increase even though both sides agree there are major parking problems in town and things are only getting worse.
Inside Fatty’s Pizza Shop a group of Breckenridge business owners gathered on Tuesday to talk about the problem. Traffic backs up along Main Street, parking lots fill, and there are not enough buses running to keep up with the thousands of visitors to the small mountain town. The council’s solution is a new parking structure.
“Our hope is that they would come on board with us voluntarily and agree to us as a long-term sustainable revenue source. But it doesn’t look, frankly, like it’s going to end up that way,” town councilmember Mark Burke said.
Burke also owns a local restaurant. He’s worried the resort refusing to agree to the council’s idea of a 4 percent user tax added to guest tickets at the mountain could lead to a nasty fight that could tear the tight-knit community apart in the coming months.
“I will tell you honestly, if they decide to fight us, I do think it is taking advantage of our town,” Burke said.
Other resort towns in Colorado like Vail and Keystone have similar user taxes in place already.
Breckenridge Ski Resort Chief Operating Officer John Buhler sent CBS4 a statement that reads: “We strongly oppose the idea that the town impose an unnecessary and inappropriate tax on our season pass holders and lift ticket buyers, particularly as our guests are skiing on federal public land.”
If the resort’s position doesn’t change by Friday’s deadline, the council will take action.
“Then we are 100 percent committed as a council unanimously to bring this to our citizens,” Burke said.
In a place where both the resort and the town need each other to be successful, this type of fight could leave a lasting impact.
If the tax goes through, look for lift ticket prices to go up. At the same time expect to find more parking and bus service.