Western resorts like Breckenridge, Keystone riding high after strong holidays | SummitDaily.com

Western resorts like Breckenridge, Keystone riding high after strong holidays

Summit Daily staff report
news@summitdaily.com

If the holidays are any indication, 2015 is shaping up to be a very happy new year indeed for Western mountain resorts.

A resort lodging market report released in mid-January revealed that lodging activity at 19 resorts in six states continued to increase through December. All resorts posted steady increases in both occupancy and revenues through the remainder of the 2014-15 ski and snowboard season.

Aggregated occupancy "on-the-books" is up 9 percent compared with the same time last year, according to Denver-based DestiMetrics, which tracks data submitted by participating lodging properties in those resort towns. The increase is accompanied by a 14.5 percent gain in revenue for the full season from November through April.

The report also noted that there were gains in both categories for all six months, with double-digit growth in both February and April.

Starting this spring, Summit County will host twice-a-year collection events at a central location for free disposal of household hazardous waste like paints, stains and liquid fuels, in addition to pharmaceuticals and electronics.

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The report also included an overview of major economic indicators that have the potential to impact travel spending. While the Dow Jones Industrial Average fluctuated considerably in December, it remained essentially flat and ended the calendar year 7.5 percent higher than last year. The Consumer Confidence Index finished the month at 92.6 points, making it the fifth time in the last six months that the CCI has surpassed the crucial 90-point benchmark. The unemployment rate dropped two basis points to 5.6 percent.

With the addition of another 251,000 new jobs in December, 2014 became the strongest year for job creation since 1994.

DILLON LOOKS AT SIMPLER STORAGE LAWS FOR PRIVATE VEHICLES

The Dillon Town Council is hearing a second reading of a new ordinance that could change requirements for boats, trailers and off-road vehicles stored at properties inside town limits.

On Tuesday, Feb. 3, the council will weigh revisions to the ordinance. For the past decade, the town has had a "screening" requirement that mandates coverings, such as tarps, for all large vehicles. The ordinance is rarely enforced, and town staff believes it's time for Dillon to align its laws with those of neighbors like Breckenridge and Frisco. Those towns don't require screening for all vehicles.

Before voting on the revised ordinance, the council will hear public comments and concerns. The public is invited to attend the meeting. Community members can also send written comments to the town clerk (P.O. Box 8, Dillon, CO 80435) by 1 p.m. on Feb. 3.

To view a copy of the entire ordinance, including revisions, stop by Dillon Town Hall between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. during the week. The ordinance is also on display on the notice board at the Dillon post office.

SUMMIT HOSTS ELECTRONICS AND DRUG RECYCLING DAY

Summit County will hold its inaugural free electronics recycling and pharmaceuticals collection event on Saturday, Jan. 31, made possible by the county's voter-approved Safety First Fund.

The event will take place from 8 a.m. to noon at the Summit Stage Bus Barn, located at 0222 County Shops Road in Frisco.

Accepted electronics items include computers, monitors, printers, phones, audio equipment, TVs, tablets and electronics accessories.

Accepted pharmaceutical items include prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, medication samples, vitamins, prescribed narcotics, medicated lotions and ointments, inhalers, liquid medications in leak-proof containers, and unopened transdermal skin patches.

Items not accepted include needles, lancets, thermometers, infectious waste, personal care products, medical marijuana, business waste and aerosol cans.

The electronics collection will be facilitated by Electronic Recyclers International Inc., which will disassemble or shred all materials and recycle 100 percent of the constituent materials. The company will physically destroy all hard drives and data storage devices to protect against theft of sensitive personal data.

The Summit County Sheriff's Office will document and destroy all the pharmaceuticals it collects through the Jan. 31 event.

The Safety First Fund, approved by voters in November 2014, provides about $630,000 for water quality protections annually. Of that, $300,000 is allocated to cleanup of local waterways impaired by historical mining activities. Summit County is using the remaining funds to address modern-day water quality threats, including electronics waste, household hazardous waste and pharmaceuticals.

Starting this spring, Summit County will host twice-a-year collection events at a central location for free disposal of household hazardous waste like paints, stains and liquid fuels, in addition to pharmaceuticals and electronics. The first of these will take place in May, in concert with the annual countywide cleanup events; the second will be held in autumn.

BRECK REPORT HIGHLIGHTS 196 ACRES OF NEW LAND

The Breckenridge Town Council reviewed and approved the 2015 "State of the Open Space" report at the Jan. 13 council meeting. The report, released annually for the past three years, outlines the acreage of public lands acquired and the miles of trails managed by the town through its Open Space and Trails program.

Last year's program highlights include the joint acquisition of 196 acres of new open space lands and the construction of more than 3.5 miles of new trail.

In total, the town owns or jointly owns (with Summit County) 4,544 acres of public open space and manages 47 miles of single-track trail.

The town's open space program is funded primarily via a 1996 voter-approved 0.5 percent sales tax dedicated to open space acquisition and management. Since then, more than $19.3 million has been spent on public open space land purchases.

The 2015 report indicates that most land acquisitions and trail projects rely on community partnerships.

For example, Summit County government, which has its own property-tax-funded open space program, has contributed more than $11 million to Breckenridge-area open space land purchases and the two programs manage those lands jointly.

Last year, the upper portion of the popular Turk's Trail was completed with assistance from a Colorado Parks and Wildlife grant and volunteer labor from Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado.

COFFEE TALK: BRECK OFFICIALS INVITE PUBLIC TO MORNING CHAT

Breckenridge invites everyone, residents and nonresidents alike, to meet the mayor and town staff for a laid-back coffee date.

On Feb. 6, from 8 to 9 a.m., town manager Tim Gagen and Mayor John Warner will gather at Salt Creek Steakhouse (110 Lincoln Ave.) to discuss town issues, offer input on happenings in the community and clarify information from recent town decisions, including items currently on the council agenda.

The remaining council members have been invited to attend this meeting. There may be three or more council members in attendance at the event. The event is free, but bring a few bucks for coffee — the titular drink isn't provided.

SUMMIT FOUNDATION HOSTS FREE FINANCIAL WORKSHOP

For nonprofits of any size, funding and financing can be convoluted at best and downright frustrating at worst. The Summit Foundation is here to help.

Join the foundation and several nonprofit advisors for a discussion of financial controls for nonprofit organizations. The free workshop will be held at the North Branch Library in Silverthorne from 1 to 3 p.m., Thursday, Feb 12. The time and date were recently changed.

The workshop is intended for nonprofit executive directors, bookkeepers, administrative support personnel, treasurers and board members, but anyone involved in the nonprofit realm is welcome.

Wally Ducayet, a retired partner with Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLC, will moderate the panel and following workshop. His input will be paired with that from a panel of experts in auditing and accounting. The panel will provide best practices for nonprofit employees and board members, including topics such as internal financial controls, the role of the nonprofit treasurer, audit and 990 tax return musts and financial governance advice.

To reserve a spot for the panel, RSVP through the foundation by calling (970) 453-5970 or sending an email to tsfevents@summitfoundation.org. Reservations must be received by Feb. 9.