Letters to the Editor, July 2-3, 2014
July 1, 2014
Do what it takes to keep PCMR open
Dear Mr. Cumming,
Despite POWDR’s effort to retain leasehold rights in the upper mountain terrain after its untimely mistake, now that the Court has ruled against POWDR, the community needs you to step up and do the right thing. If Vail is unwavering in its refusal to lease the upper terrain, work out a deal to either sell or lease the base area to Vail, so that the continued operation of Park City Mountain as a ski resort can be assured. Please have your legacy be one of saving Park City in the face of a devastating mistake, rather than a legacy of town destruction.
The quality of life for ALL residents of the area will be negatively impacted if you cause a disruption of the ski season, either temporarily or indefinitely. Fifty percent of the City’s revenue comes from sales tax and real property taxes. Even those residents who do not directly receive income from properties or businesses tied to the ski industry will suffer the consequences of such a large employer and sales tax revenue generator being out of business.
According to its website, Park City collected over $14,000,000 in sales tax last year. Imagine how many of those millions of dollars will disappear from the budget if the resort is not operating and paying those taxes. The City loses even more taxes as the number of destination skiers dramatically falls and fail to consume food and beverages, ski equipment, lodging stays, and other services. As those dollars disappear from the City budget, so will funds for services such as transportation, library, parks, the City golf course, programs for residents, public improvement projects and more. Increases in other taxes on residents will have to follow. Similarly, as real property values fall, property taxes collected (more than $18,000,000 last year) will likewise plummet and schools will need to look to residents for additional levies and/or cut school programs. All Park City residents will pay the price.
The lead up to the season is upon us. The time has come for the announcement that a deal has been forged which will allow the resort to continue to operate. A proven operator, even if a competitor, is better than no operator. Every day that passes without resolution threatens the town’s economic stability as tourists lose confidence and make their plans elsewhere.
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Time for ski area owners to set egos aside
As a Parkite who is not privy to the inside details of the Talisker/Vail Powder Corp. dispute over PCMR, it appears to be an issue of two huge egos throwing temper tantrums. We have Talisker/Vail with the "I must control everything at all costs" approach versus the Powder Corp.’s "if you don’t want to play by my rules, I will take my marbles and go home" approach. As a business owner and CEO, I have often seen ego get in the way of sound business decision making. This seems to be the case here. I would offer that there is a fairly simple solution to the current situation that benefits both corporations, as well as Park City.
The two corporations should form an independently run joint venture corporation to run PCMR. The joint venture would be responsible for paying to lease both the lower and the upper portions of PCMR at agreed upon rates. At the end of the joint venture’s fiscal year, the profits from operations would be distributed at an agreed upon percentage to Talisker/Vail and Powder Corp. The joint venture would also have the charter to develop a skier connection between the two resorts, and possibly to Deer Valley as well, with proceeds distributed in an agreed-upon percentage. Using this approach, both corporations will make money, the current litigation can cease, local businesses can be assured of some continuity, and Park City can promote the area as a wonderful place to visit, where skiers have access to a wide variety of terrain in three world class ski resorts.
If the issue is about skiing and making money doing it, this could be a great solution. If the dispute is really about egos, power and control, regardless of the consequences, then I expect that Vail/Talisker and Powder Corp. will reject this approach, and thus show that neither is a good corporate citizen of Park City.
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