Bob Yates – 2015 Boulder City Council Candidate Questionnaire

How would you support and insure the continued funding of the CVB’s success.

The CVB has been instrumental in bringing tourism and conference visitors to the Boulder community.  Because every dollar invested in the CVB generates many more in return, we must not be stingy in our support of its efforts.  Whether through city general funds, dedicated tax support, or direct support from the businesses that benefit from increased visitors, we must give the CVB the tools it needs to be successful on behalf of the entire community.

With the increase in accommodation tax the City is benefiting from the additional revenues. How do you propose to use these funds to maintain this flow of income?

We should track the increase in city revenues resulting from the accommodation tax and dedicate a significant portion of it back into the organizations that help the city’s tourism and conference traffic grow.  This will create a virtuous cycle of growth-revenue-growth that will have wide-ranging benefits to the community far outside the hospitality industry.

Would you support the use of CVB funds to purchase, on the city’s behalf, a permanent location for the CVB and a visitors’ center on north bound 28th Street?

Yes.  I would defer to the experts where such a center should be located. But other than the Chamber office and the part-time kiosk on Pearl Street, Boulder lacks a place where visitors can stop in to learn about all that our city has to offer.  With this assistance, visitors will better plan their stays and are more likely to return to Boulder.

What would you do to enhance cooperation and facilitation between the city and the BCVB to facilitate and attract events during the off-season?

As I travel the country, I frequently hear the mis-perception that Boulder is a place that is cold and snowy in the wintertime. This comes from people in places like Minneapolis, Boston, and Buffalo!  If they only knew.  I would like to see the city and the CVB launch a substantial and sustained media campaign to educate people, especially in cold climates, about how warm and sunny Boulder is in the winter, celebrating our many (non-snow) winter activities and amenities, like film festivals and the Conference on World Affairs.  I would add to these offerings by creating a “Boulder Winter Sunshine Festival” that celebrates Boulder’s winter sun.

How do you propose to address the deterioration of the existing City facilities, recreational, athletic, social and meeting space needs – so that they are sufficient to both encourage visitors and ensure the quality of life for our residents? 

We have arrived at a point that we need to re-prioritize some of the dollars that we spend on things like Open Space to maintain and improve the built environment, including our social and indoor recreational facilities.  Boulder needs a conference center, whether built by CU or by the city.  We need a medium-sized performing arts center to supplement Dairy Center and Macky.  And we need to support the launch and success of the Museum of Boulder, of which I am a proud leader.   I believe in the old adage: Get them to stay three hours and they’ll buy a meal; get them to stay six hours and they’ll spend the night.  By diversifying our offerings, more visitors will come, and they will stay longer.

 

Lisa Morzel – 2015 Boulder City Council Candidate Questionnaire

How would you support and insure the continued funding of the CVB’s success.

Half of the funding from the increase in due to the 2010 Accommodation Tax increase approved by the voters (from 5.5% to 7.5%) was recommended for dedicated to the CVB.  This amount to increased in CVB allocation from $732,000 to $1,237,000.  As a council member, I voted for and strongly supported this action.

The hospitality and restaurant industry currently does a great job at attracting visitors to Boulder and bringing an important source of revenues. I would continue the programs currently in place and meet with people in the motels and hotels of Boulder to learn of their concerns, issues, and suggestions.  Initiatives such as the Boulder Creek Quality Inn and Suites’ installation of 112 solar panels and local hotel commitments to aggressive recycling programs (Quality Inn, St. Julien, and Boulder Outlook) are important national models that make these hotels a destination point, putting Boulder on the map. Events such as the Open House Art Gallery walk on the Pearl Street Mall every first Friday of the month, our Open Studios for 2 weekends in October, the Boulder Creek Festival, the Farmers’ Market, the Bolder Boulder, Cinco de Mayo festivities, Chautauqua, the Dushanbe Teahouse, the Pearl Street Mall, the Boulder International Film Festival, and the University of Colorado are only a few of the many events and special places Boulder offers to the local to international visitor.  Our Open Space and Mountain Parks lands attract more than 50% of its visitors from outside Boulder County.  We should continue to find ways to support local events and the arts to generate significant revenue for Boulder. It is also important to make sure venues such as the Boulder, Fox, Macky Theaters and the Shakespeare Festival remain viable.  Completing the Valmont Bicycle Park has certainly drawn regional interest. The return of the Morgul Bismark bike race and Boulder’s participation in hosting the The USA Pro Cycling Challenge and Iron Man have been successful attractions.  All of these activities make Boulder unique and are synergistic with restaurants, lodging, and retail generating significant revenue for Boulder.

With the increase in accommodation tax the City is benefiting from the additional revenues. How do you propose to use these funds to maintain this flow of income?

Continue to reinvest in CVB activities.

Would you support the use of CVB funds to purchase, on the city’s behalf, a permanent location for the CVB and a visitors’ center on north bound 28th Street?

Yes, but it needs to have easy access and visible signage for visitors entering the city.

What would you do to enhance cooperation and facilitation between the city and the BCVB to facilitate and attract events during the off-season?

I first would want to identify what are the needs and what is working and not.  The innovative and very successful events in Boulder such as the Boulder International Film Festival, the International Fringe Festival, the Bike Summit (Boulder used to have the very successful Pedestrian Summit), the Eco-Arts Fair, Open Studios in the fall are all events that draw interested people and participants globally.  I would continue to support these types of events and encourage others to be innovative.  Identifying and eliminating unnecessary obstacles in obtaining permits is also an important factor.  I will continue to support adequate funding for the CVB, as I did when addressing the amount of increase to the Accommodation Tax in 2010.

How do you propose to address the deterioration of the existing City facilities, recreational, athletic, social and meeting space needs – so that they are sufficient to both encourage visitors and ensure the quality of life for our residents? 

The City recognized a significant gap existed in its ability to fund and repair its existing infrastructure, and thus in 2011, placed on the ballot, initiative 2A, which successfully increased the city’s bonding capacity to $49M to specifically fund critical infrastructure problems.  This is only a first step.

The City has focused on improving its parks in the last few years. The Valmont Bicycle Park now sees dozens to hundreds (depending on the day) of enthusiastic daily users.  Pleasant View Fields is another destination for many locally and regionally to use and compete on class A soccer fields.  In late August 2011, the City re-opened its newly renovated East Boulder Community Park where 2 multi-sport fields with synthetic turf were added to our existing field; this project also improved existing tennis and handball courts, playing fields, dog park, and paths.  It should be noted the Boulder’s Parks and Recreation Department won the 2011 Barb King Environmental Stewardship award from the National Recreation and Park Association.

The City has recently entered into contracts with the Boulder Community Hospital to buy and redevelop that site for multiple community services.  The planning of the new BCH site will have robust public input, and given the real need, for additional meeting spaces, I would assume the new BCH plan will include that type of space.  Additionally, the City and CU are in discussion about the possibility of aspects of a 20,000 sq ft conference center at Grandview Terrace.  This size facility would allow for events that could serve up to 1000 people for events such as fundraisers for non-profits and other groups; currently Boulder does not have such a facility which results in most events of this size being held outside of Boulder.

 

Leonard May – 2015 Boulder City Council Candidate Questionnaire

How would you support and insure the continued funding of the CVB’s success.

The purpose of this tax is to increase the revenue base for the city to provide municipal improvements and services to the residents and visitors to the city.  Currently, the city has a policy to spend up to 20 percent of the revenues generated by this tax for purposes of promoting programs and services that bring increased tourism to the city.  But, there is no legal obligation of the city to spend 20%.

I support spending the full 20%  for purposes of promoting programs and services that bring increased tourism to the city. That could be done by contracting with BVCB to spend the full 20% in promoting programs and services that bring increased tourism to the city.  But here  has to be a methodology that establishes cause and effect – on that establishes that how the 20% expenditure is spent, and on what,  has caused increased tourism in the most effective fashion.  In other words, we all want efficacy and don’t assume the cause and effect from correlations because there may be more effective ways to spend that money that will result in more tourism.

With the increase in accommodation tax the City is benefiting from the additional revenues. How do you propose to use these funds to maintain this flow of income?

Establish and maintain a high standard of facilities and services – they should be 1st class for residents  visitors and businesses alike  – this is a situation where the interest of CVB’s and residents are almost perfectly aligned.

Show some City pride.  Use the funds wisely – the city doesn’t necessarily suffer from insufficient  funds to do things like getting medians planted with flowers, irrigated and weeded.  Particularly on 28th St, a main corridor into and thru the city for people heading to a from Estes Park.  Enhance other gateways such as the downtown transit center (which CVB is currently beautifying) and surround them with landscaping and maintain it.

The city doesn’t currently seem to have any consistent plan to maintain things –  they sporadically send crews out to do some things.  With maintenance tasks like graffiti cleaning – they don’t even match the paint so end result looks sloppy and creates a generally poor impression.  This must be improved.

Would you support the use of CVB funds to purchase, on the city’s behalf, a permanent location for the CVB and a visitors’ center on north bound 28th Street?

Using current CVB funds would be appropriate.  Currently about $120,000 goes to rent for CVB space in the Chamber’s building and the location isn’t ideal.  100k people travel down 28th to Estes park and we could be intercepting them.

What would you do to enhance cooperation and facilitation between the city and the BCVB to facilitate and attract events during the off-season?

Off season is November to April.

The city needs to have a better understanding of CU’s and the federal labs’ needs and set up complementary facilities and events for space resource sharing arrangements where feasible.  CU currently has a program to do this for all their space in order to derive operational efficiencies (better space utilization lowers their ownership costs).

The city could also be sponsoring conferences, say on resilient cities, or climate change initiatives,  during off season.  We have the location and cache to draw these events year around.

Have top rated athletic and other facilities and services – they should be 1st class for residents  visitors and businesses alike  – this is a situation where the interests of CVB’s and residents are almost perfectly aligned.

How do you propose to address the deterioration of the existing City facilities, recreational, athletic, social and meeting space needs – so that they are sufficient to both encourage visitors and ensure the quality of life for our residents? 

Ballot measure 301.  Growth has placed addition strain and impact on facilities and services and those must be mitigated. By asking the question you are acknowledging that a burden has been created and it isn’t being lifted.  Referring back to question 2 and the fact that CVB is beautifying areas like the downtown transit center, this is precisely the reason for 301, that those burdens are not borne unfairly on those who did not create the burden.

 

Jyotsna Raj – 2015 Boulder City Council Candidate Questionnaire

How would you support and insure the continued funding of the CVB’s success.

Make sure that City Council, thru the budget process, does not decrease the funding that currently goes to CVB. You have earned these funds for the city. Also, I would like to discuss having funds from short term rentals (STR), if that passes, go to the CVB after the city determines how much they need to enforce STR’s.

With the increase in accommodation tax the City is benefiting from the additional revenues. How do you propose to use these funds to maintain this flow of income?

First I would support the goals of the Tourism and Sustainability Plan. Focusing on the off season of November-April makes sense and would fit nicely with Boulder seriously developing facilities and funding for our Arts and Culture – including conference and arts facilities – that can attract visitors year round.

Would you support the use of CVB funds to purchase, on the city’s behalf, a permanent location for the CVB and a visitors’ center on north bound 28th Street?

Yes. A visitors center, in a prominent location on 28th, would be an asset to visitors. I am sure it would be an attractive building with nice landscaping – since that is what hotels/motels do on their own grounds – and have done at the 14th and Walnut bus station. A CVB building could also help transform a ’strip mall’ on 28th into something that is attractive for the whole city.

What would you do to enhance cooperation and facilitation between the city and the BCVB to facilitate and attract events during the off-season?

I think that all city departments should be make aware of the actual off season when they are involved in planning events. Even the Jaipur Literature Festival might be enticed to change the time of year for their event. The city should discuss dedicating some of their share of the accommodation tax to creating an incentive for groups to locate in Boulder during the off-season or use new funds from the STR’s (see answer #1) to create an incentive. I would also work with the city’s economic vitality coordinator to reach out to the business community, as well as the Federal Labs and NCAR, to encourage them to schedule their meetings in the off-season.

How do you propose to address the deterioration of the existing City facilities, recreational, athletic, social and meeting space needs – so that they are sufficient to both encourage visitors and ensure the quality of life for our residents?

The City’s capital improvement plan should addresses these needs but funding is constrained so renovations to many of the city facilities takes too long to catch up. Lack of good facilities is a drawback for attracting events as you know. The city should look at taking a portion of the $6 million that Hotels contribute to the general fund and target facilities that support bringing visitors to Boulder. A review of our fees for new development is starting (consultants are being hired) and the new council will be involved in determining the level of the fees to support some departments including Parks and Recreation. Accurate fees for impacts could help expand and renovate facilities.

Developing meeting space, as well as Cultural facilities, are a discussion that needs to take place. The city is now developing a new Arts and Culture plan and CVB should be involved. There is a lot of energy in this community surrounding the arts and culture and I think this is the time to develop significant funding to make Boulder a real cultural center. Much like the community focused on Open Space by developing funding in 1967 I think we can do this for Arts and Culture now.