DeBerry explains benefits of RAD for Snowshoe and Pocahontas county
On August 19th, during the Pocahontas County Commission meeting, the commission will act on the petition to establish a Resort Area District [RAD] at Snowshoe Mountain Resort. Four months ago, the resort filed the petition to create the RAD, which would encompass Snowshoe Mountain and Silver Creek resorts. If approved, the RAD would give the resulting 7-member board the ability to charge a 2% “resort service fee” on goods and services to keep up the assets maintained by the existing Mountain Top Assessment (MTA). Resort management would hold a four-seat majority on the seven-member governing board.
One question on the minds of many is why Snowshoe is pushing so hard for the establishment of the RAD. In this second story, AMR reporter Megan Moriarty put that question directly to Snowshoe CEO Frank DeBerry.
Why does Snowshoe want this RAD and what projects do you foresee the RAD working on?
“There’s things that are just looking rough around the edges and are not resort quality, and if they continue along those lines, they’re going to impact whether or not a guest wants to come up here and spend money and support the resort,” said DeBerry. “In addition to that we have public safety issues; Snowshoe itself provides a private security force but we have no consistent presence of law enforcement personnel here up on the mountain and we think that being at times the 10th largest population in the state of West Virginia, particularly on winter weekends, we need more law enforcement presence and county resources have expressed that they’re unable to supply consistent coverage up here.”
DeBerry said the idea would be to use the RAD funds to either create a local ranger or police force, or to supplement and contract with state police or local law enforcement for a more consistent law enforcement presence on the mountain.
“We want to be able to more consistently pave roads,” he said. “We want to be able to go back to some of the beautification projects that we used to be able to do before we became stretched so thin. And aside from that I think we want to talk to homeowner representatives who are elected to the board and find out what they may want to do. But the primary objective is really to provide additional funding to services that already exist, not necessarily to expand those services.”
Megan asked how the RAD would benefit Pocahontas County and how it would change the way the county operates.
“Well it doesn’t change the way the county operates at all,” said DeBerry. “There’s no impact on county government, Snowshoe already takes care of the same kind of services we’re talking about through the Mountain Top Assessment program; so there’s quite literally zero impact on how the county goes about doing their business aside from providing some assistance if there were ever a special assessment. But we have no special assessments in mind and no need to do so.”
DeBerry said he sees the RAD as a benefit to Pocahontas because of how closely the resort is woven into the fabric of the county.
“The benefit to the county really is that, I do believe that when Snowshoe thrives that the county thrives,” he said. “And when I say Snowshoe, I mean the whole resort community because a healthy Snowshoe does support gas stations and stores and local inns and things like that, and we’re proud of that. And obviously our employees all live in the county and they’re all proud of that. We think that having a resort where the basic services are more adequately maintained will help us do that job.”
DeBerry also seeks to debunk a common misconception.
“I know there’s been rumors about the RAD trying to take away hotel-motel tax from the county – simply impossible by the statute,” he said. “The RAD is not a political subdivision, it is not a municipality; only municipalities and counties can take hotel-motel tax, and we just simply don’t fit that definition. There’s no negative financial impact to the county, there’s no operational impact to the county; all this does is help the Snowshoe community take better care of the Snowshoe community.”
Tune in for noon hour on Monday for the final part of Megan’s interview with Frank DeBerry in which he talks about proposed changes to the RAD by Snowshoe homeowners.