Council waives fees for downtown hotel

Grand Junction City Council members voted Monday night to waive $240,700 in fees for developers of a new Springhill Suites at Third and Main streets.

The city will pay the fees, which cover accommodating additional traffic coming in and out of a new development, by transferring $240,700 from city reserves. Council members decided Monday the transfer should not occur until the reserve fund has enough money in it that the fund would not dip below $20 million after the transfer. The city expects to have $20.8 million in reserve by the end of this year, according to Assistant City Financial Operations Manager Jay Valentine.

Councilman Gregg Palmer said he wanted to help Springhill Suites owners Steve and Kevin Reimer, but he wasn’t sure about footing the entire bill for their transportation capacity fees. Steve Reimer told the council lending is tight these days and any help is appreciated.

“Every dollar we spent for this project is a tight dollar,” Reimer said.

Having a third hotel neighboring Two Rivers Convention Center will help attract more large groups that don’t want to pay for transportation from hotels across town to conferences at Two Rivers, said Debbie Kovalik, executive director of the Grand Junction Visitor and Convention Bureau.

Groups instead can book a block of rooms nearby at Springhill Suites, Hampton Inn and Main Street Suites, Kovalik said.

The Reimer brothers own all three hotels.

An hour before Monday’s city council meeting during a council special meeting, council members discussed the possibility of exempting aviation companies from having to pay city sales tax on parts and materials used during refurbishment or repair of aircraft. Aviation companies are already exempt from Mesa County and Colorado sales tax on these items.

Utah aviation companies will be exempt from charging sales tax on parts for private aircraft beginning next month. Nebraska and Michigan have similar laws. Councilman Tom Kenyon said having Grand Junction catch up will help keep jobs here, such as those at West Star Aviation.

“If we don’t stay competitive, we’ll lose ground,” Kenyon said.

Deputy City Manager Rich Englehart said the exemption would mean a decrease in sales tax revenue, but he wasn’t sure how much the change would impact the city.

“We’ll see how that affects us as the year goes on,” he said.

Council members directed staff to draft an ordinance that would provide for the sales tax exemption. Council would vote on the ordinance at a future meeting and host a public hearing on the matter, Councilwoman Bonnie Beckstein said.


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