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The Chaffee Board of  County Commissioners (BoCC) met on Tuesday morning, December 17. Among the agenda items was a decision made with regard to a two year phase-in for short term rental fees in Chaffee County.

Short term, Long term Photo Courtesy of City of Gold Apartments

Discussion followed a review of the findings of the countywide fee assessment study conducted by RPI Consulting LLC. Initiated by the county, the study was to determine the true cost of permitting and regulating short term rentals. It examined the process and administrative work that goes into generating and maintaining those records.

During discussions following the findings review, the commissioners decided that phasing in changes to the county’s short term rental fees seemed appropriate. In short, it means that those who paid a $500 fee as the program kicked off in  2019, will be current through 2020. The Chaffee County Board of Commissioners announced their hope that after a two year phase-in (2019 and 2020), every short-term rental in the county will comply by registering and meeting safety requirements. The first fee renewal cycle will take place in 2021.

Chaffee County Director of Finance Dan Short recapped what compliance with short term rental registration has looked like so far.  “Since we started the program, we have had 51 people out of 272 short term rentals properties comply with the application in the fee departments,” said Short. “But also with [checking the safety features of each rental].”

One short term rental owner, Dan Jones, was in attendance at the BoCC meeting. He addressed the commissioners saying that the financial responsibility of fees and licensing for short term rentals is already difficult for those who look to them as a second income stream. He expressed the desire for more public input, requesting to see a spreadsheet breakdown of how the amount behind the fee was arrived at in the RPI Consulting LLC assessment.

Chaffee County Board of Commissioners Chair Greg Felt said, “There is no proposal, I don’t believe, at this time to say that the fees [proposed by RPI Consulting LLC] are to be implemented. Frankly, I question elements of this study, but I do want to clarify that there are two concepts here: There is a fee to enroll a property and to go through the initial analysis and then there is a different cost associated with the annual administration.”

“On behalf of the county, I do apologize that this was rolled out before we totally had our ducks in a row,”said Felt.  “However, we are pushing it back another year so that anyone who paid to enroll this year, is already set for next year. We will have a hearing next year and we will work through these details with the public and the VRBO owners to get back on track.”

The process is far from over. Chaffee residents will be provided time early next year to give feedback to county staff and the commissioners, before final decisions regarding any new short term rental fees are made.