Duluth Council Approves $235 Thousand to Spirit Mountain
Councilors voice disappointment that resort is in this state.
DULUTH, Minn.- The fate of Spirit Mountain rested in the hands of the Duluth City Council, who voted to grant $235,000 to the resort, to make up for losses after a Thanksgiving blizzard cancelled this past Amsoil Snocross.
While the council approved the resolution 8-1 with Jay Fosle opposed, it was not without a tone of disappointment that the resort came to them so soon, and with so little time to decide whether to keep their doors open or closed.
“I’m sweatin’. I gotta pay the bills, just like everybody else does,” said Tim Miller, Trail Maintenance Lead at Spirit Mountain. “This is effecting me, it’s effecting 95 of my employees that I work with on the daily, plus many more.”
“So it’s a trickle down effect it doesn’t just effect one person.”
Spirit Mountain and many of their public supporters came before council to ask for a $235,000 subsidy from the city, from the $500,000 tourism tax reserve.
Also known as the Hotel, Motel, Food and Beverage Tax, that tax is generated by anyone who spends money at any restaurant, bar, hotel or motel in the city.
Without the extra boost, Spirit Mountain Management told council that they would only be able to make payout next Friday.
After that, they would shut their doors indefinitely before the holidays.
“The ask in kind of the 11th hour, and it’s either continue with the doors open or not–and that is I think inappropriate without having a little bit of a heads up,” said Council President Noah Hobbs.
Councilors said they support the resolution, but even this cornerstone of the community can do better.
“Cornerstones must sit upon a solid foundation,” Councilor-at-Large Arik Forsman said. “And this is a short term fix. It’s operating from cash flow crisis to cash flow crisis.”
Councilors said that Spirit Mountain contributes so much to the local economy indirectly by bringing tourism, and increasing business to hotels, restaurants, and through customers paying sales tax–so they wish to sit down with Management to try to map out a more stable plan going forward.
“It shows how difficult it is under the current model to operate this really important public facility,” said Second District Councilor Joel Sipress.