Rockne: Town ordinance to protect public corporation lease terms
October 3, 2012
The Breckenridge Ski Resort (owned by Vail Associates) has a lease with the U.S. Forest Service that provides exclusive rights to offer ski lessons on certain national forest land abutting the town of Breckenridge. The town of Breckenridge is not party to, or part of this agreement.
Now, because it is difficult for the ski area to police this exclusivity themselves, the town is helping them out by proposing an ordinance making this term of their lease an illegal act in Breckenridge. With the lass of this ordinance, Breckenridge police officers will be empowered to take immediate enforcement action and the cases will be written into Breckenridge Municipal Court.
How insane is this? Involving our police and our courts with all the costs involved to protect the terms of a public corporation’s lease with another party. And what do we get in return? Nothing!
For years Vail Associates has fought paying any lift tickets sales tax here in Breckenridge to help with transportation and other costs directly related to them, even though they have paid a 4 percent lift ticket tax in Vail for 30 years or more.
For years Vail Associates has fought paying any town sales tax on their mountain restaurants even though all their food and supplies are delivered to the base of the ski mountain within town limits.
The stated justification for this new ordinance and assumption is that the person offering these underground ski lessons meet “at the base of the ski mountain, within town limits, to exchange payment.”
Maybe, if the ski area agrees to a town sales tax on their mountain restaurants, the town could consider the passage of this ordinance. At least extra costs to the town would be covered.
However, the act of teaching skiing without being approved by the ski area is already a federal law and the infraction always takes place outside the town limits, on the mountain which is in the county. The ski area can already prosecute, pull passes, ban future passes but if they still need law enforcement to assist them, it’s the county sheriff who has jurisdiction, not the town of Breckenridge.
Carol Rockne, Breckenridge