A new report analyzing the socioeconomic impacts of proposed expansions to the ski terrain and base area of Grand Targhee Resort released earlier this month found that new revenue would not outweigh the costs to Teton County, Idaho.
Grand Targhee is located in Wyoming but is only accessible through Teton Valley, Idaho. Cindy Riegel is chair of the Teton County, Idaho, Board of Commissioners, which commissioned the socioeconomic impact study with support from Teton County, Wyoming, and the Alta Solid Waste District.
“Without any revenue sharing, we will be subsidizing that resort development,” Riegel said, “since it’s in Wyoming and we have no revenue from the growth of a resort development on the other side of the state line.”
The report details how the proposed Targhee expansion would stress Idaho roads, emergency response and solid waste services, and further worsen the local shortage of affordable housing. It also explains how Teton County, Idaho, is constrained by state laws limiting or downright banning its ability to levy additional sales or other taxes, which otherwise could help the county reap some of the benefits from increased economic activity.
“It’s important for the rest of the community on both sides of the Tetons to understand how limited we are in our ability to tax both our residents and visitors in order to pay for the services required,” Riegel said.
That’s one part of the report that resort owner Geordie Gillett told the Teton Valley News he appreciated, though he also said he thought the report “demonized” Grand Targhee.
The proposed expansion of the ski terrain is currently under review by the Caribou-Targhee National Forest, and a draft environmental impact statement is expected to be released in late summer or early fall.