Snowshoe ethics ruling...
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WP_Employee
December 5, 2003
Member since 03/7/2004
83 posts
Little tidbit from WV:

Ethics panel ruling may shelve Snowshoe expansion plans
December 05, 2003 4:43 AM
Charleston
Two of the three Pocahontas County commissioners can't vote on Snowshoe Mountain Resort's plans to use a state tax break to fund expansion because of potential conflicts of interest.

That's what the state Ethics Commission ruled yesterday.

Among other improvements, Snowshoe wants to build a new convention center. It wants to pay for the project with a tax increment financing plan.

The so-called TIF plan would use property taxes from the new development to pay off bonds that would fund construction. The county commission must approve the arrangement.

But the Ethics Commission says a county commission vote would violate state law.

Commissioner Reta Griffith's husband is employed at Snowshoe. Also Commission President Joel Callison is part-owner of a condominium and other property near the ski resort.

The panel says state criminal law bars county officials from having any private interest in public contracts.

(Anonymous)
January 1, 2004
I am one Pocahontas resident that thinks that Snowshoe should not use public funds to pay for private enterprise.
(Anonymous)
January 2, 2004
Well resident you have too look at a variety of scenarios. Its true that a ski area is unlike other businesses in the fact that it cant just get up and leave. Factories can and many other service businesses can and thats why you give them tax incentives to stay.

Having said that, the potential expansion could have a great positive impact on the community. It could mean more tourists who are going to spend more money both on and just outside the resort. This means more jobs for residents and higher property value. Its a tough line to draw

dmh
January 2, 2004
Member since 12/11/2003
127 posts
Snowshoe and every other resort should be able to operate without a handout from the tax payers. Taxes serve a purpose--they pave roads, build schools, maintain parks, buy land for preservation. There is no reason why they should expect special treatment. Either they can operate a business at a profit or they can't and go out of business. That is capitalism and Snowshoe should either learn to live with it or find a managed economy willing to subsidize its business on the back of taxpayers who pay their full freight.
The Colonel - DCSki Supporter
January 2, 2004
Member since 03/5/2004
3,062 posts
I think all are missing the point. Don't think Snowshoe trying to get a deal not available to other businesses in WV. Problem here is that to get such a tax deal the local county boards must approve the deal when in their county. Snowshoe is the largest employer in Pocahontas County and apparently several of the county commissioners' relatives either work for Snowshoe or own property at Snowshoe, creating a potential conflict of interest. Since the WV Ethics Committee has ruled that this conflict precludes two out of the three commissioners from voting on the issue, a quorum can not be found for a vote.
I suspect that a workaround will be found.
The Colonel
Scott - DCSki Editor
January 3, 2004
Member since 10/10/1999
1,095 posts
It's very common for localities (states, counties, cities) to offer incentives to large businesses to locate their business in that locality. This happens all the time. Nissan recently built a large manufacturing facility in the state of Mississippi, and the state provided many, many incentives to attract the business.

Why would localities do this? Because long-term, it usually pays off for them in the form of tax revenues and residual benefits for the community.

In the case of a large resort like Snowshoe, it's a safe bet that Snowshoe pays more taxes than any other company in Pocahontas County. They're the largest employer there. (And that also adds up to a lot of taxes on the employee wages.) The success of Snowshoe has driven up property values for many residents of the county.

But elected officials make these decisions, and they work at the pleasure of the residents they serve. It's really a community issue. JonS is right that ski areas have "roots" in the sense that they can't easily get up and move. But the companies that own them can. (And what resorts today are still independently owned?) Snowshoe has undergone a renaissance since it was purchased by Intrawest -- Intrawest has pumped in tens of millions of dollars into the resort. They're not doing it out of a sense of goodwill -- Intrawest has a ticker symbol on the stock market, after all. But in deciding whether they can make a go with a resort like Snowshoe -- and put the necessary investments into it -- they have to examine situations like taxes in the county, the quality of county roads, etc. I think most would argue that Pocahontas County has benefitted from the Intrawest purchase, but again, that's a community issue and up to the residents and their elected officials to decide the cost/benefit ratio of offering incentives.

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