The county commissioners, seated as the county liquor board, approved a liquor license transfer of ownership to Wild Spirit Mountain Lodge, LLC in Guffey May 3.

Former owner of the license was Bull Moose Lodge LLC.

Wilbur and Beth Hall, owners of the Wild Spirit, lived in the metro area where he was a general contractor and she was a teacher.

“We were ready to make a shift,” Wilber said. They purchased the Bull Moose in July 2021.

Beth Hall said she had completed TIPS training.  TIPS stands for Training for Intervention Procedures, a three-year certification program for those serving alcohol.

TIPS teaches alcohol sellers and servers skills designed to prevent serving those who may be intoxicated, to prevent underage drinking and prevent someone leaving the establishment from driving while under the influence of alcohol.

“It won’t be a place for someone to get sloshed, but more like a gathering place for the locals,” Beth Hall said.

She said they will continue renting out the three rooms upstairs and convert one room on the first floor to a rental. Each room will have its own bathroom.

She said future plans include building six to eight cabins behind the lodge that will add more space for lodging.

Commissioner Ray Douglas asked how they will keep alcohol from being accessed when the bar isn’t open.

Most of the alcohol will be stored in a locked room in the basement.  Alcohol in the bar area will be in refrigerators and a cabinet that will be locked when the bar is closed.

The Halls didn’t say when the lodge will reopen as the Wild Spirit Mountain Lodge.

Items postponed

Two items were postponed. One was canceling possessory interest taxes determined to be uncollectible.  It was not set to a date certain.

  Awarding the bid to remove asbestos from the ranch house at the Cline Ranch Wildlife Area was postponed until May 17.

  Work session items

   During the work session before the meeting, the commissioners discussed establishing fee rates to rent various buildings and areas at the county fairgrounds.

  The facilities and fleet department developed a first stab at rental fees and a damage deposit for six different areas.

Commissioner Dick Elsner said he did not want commercial operations making money off renting the fairgrounds without covering all county costs of the event.

He said fees needed to be tiered based on the approximate number of attendees.

Short Term Rentals

County Manager Tom Eisenman said identifying all short term rentals in the county and getting them licensed is taking a considerable amount of time for development services employees.

The county has identified about 420 short term rentals either by owners applying for a license or by checking online sites that advertise short term rentals.

Currently, the county is receiving five to seven applications a week and has licensed about 155 as of May 3.   

Eisenman said the state estimates about 900 short term rentals exist in Park County. Work will continue to identify all rentals and get them licensed.

Elsner said he expected the county to net about $350,000 in license fees the first year and then about $180,000 in annual renewal fees.

If a lodging tax is approved this November, the county will start collecting the tax on each short term rental including, but not limited to hotel rooms, camping spaces and residential housing.  

If a lodging tax on short-term rentals is approved by county voters this November, Elsner expects to generate $400,000 to $500,000 per year from the lodging tax.

The new state law requires 10 percent of the lodging tax to go to tourism marketing. The rest can be used in any way that enhances the visitor experience.

Elsner said some can be used for repairing impacted roads and for sheriff deputies and emergency services responding to incidents at short term rentals.

Commissioner Amy Mitchell said she supports outsourcing the permitting work instead of using county staff when the development services are understaffed.

She said she had found one company that charges $7 per rental structure to process permits and monitor compliance with short term rental regulations. They will also process online permit renewals.

More work will be done before making a decision on rental fees for the fairgrounds or putting a lodging tax on all lodging units in the county.

Vouchers

Vouchers were approved for payment in the amount of $191,750. Numbers have been rounded by The Flume.

The grant fund spent the most at $76,590 and the general fund was next with $63,040.

Fleet services spent $24,865 and public works spent $17,235.

Human services spent $6,090 and self-insured health insurance spent $2,111.

Lastly, the conservation trust fund spent $1,815.

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