Suzie Shepard

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June 27, 2012
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Cost sharing questions

Because the former Eagle Town Board, the current town board (except for Mayor Yuri Kostick and trustee Brandi Resa), and the town manager have not thought it necessary to negotiate a permanent revenue sharing agreement with the town of Gypsum, there will be a significant deficit in the Eagle annual budget. Basically what Gypsum said was, "Congratulations on your approval of ERS. We will be ending our profit sharing agreement with you."

Gypsum's generosity was a gift, not a requirement. The dollar figure was in the neighborhood of $450,000 a year and growing. It is currently in the Eagle town budget at $485,000 income for 2012. That amount over five years (until ERS opens) would be over $2,425,000.

If part of the ERS sales tax revenue for Eagle was to be shared with Gypsum after ERS opens, then that should have been plugged into the ERS calculations and it should have been acknowledged by the former town board. Eagle is only going to get 1.45 percent (more or less) of the 9 to 10 percent sales tax revenue that will be generated when ERS is complete. Would some of that go to Gypsum in a mutual revenue sharing agreement?

Eagle River Station and the town's development agreement clearly states, "Neither the Developer nor the District (ERS improvement District) has to develop or improve the property." After the election, RED development concurred with what the "no" voters maintained all along: That there wouldn't be any revenue or permanent jobs for five more years for the town. It could be a long dry spell for Eagle.

In a letter to the editor, the ex-board members and a RED consultant, Paul Witt - a cozy unusual little group - say that they were planning on revenue sharing with Gypsum, yet no permanent agreement was put in place. When asked about that more than once at public hearings, there was never an answer. Was this going on behind closed doors and something that couldn't be acknowledged to the public? Nowhere that I could find in the development agreement or reimbursement agreement is revenue sharing with Gypsum mentioned, so why is it a concern for Paul Witt?

Eagle County Commissioner Stavney pointed out recently how important profit sharing can be. If it is not too late, the new board should reconsider and approach Gypsum about a mutual agreement so that Eagle taxpayers won't be left holding the bag and increased taxes to cover the deficit.

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The VailDaily Updated Jun 27, 2012 01:09PM Published Jun 27, 2012 01:08PM Copyright 2012 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.