This is written in response to the possibility of a proposed school tax increase for Eagle County.
Being a property owner in Eagle County is one of the most rewarding and enjoyable things in my life. However, an additional increase in property tax to fund an already well-funded school system is ridiculous.
What is even more ridiculous is that I, along with many of my neighbors, do not have children or wish to have children. How is it fair that those of us with no children are paying for other people's children's education?
Wait, wait, I know it's so we can have an educated population to provide me with goods and services, and I agree we all want that and we all should pay toward that goal - but enough is enough.
On the chairlift recently with a like-minded neighbor who is a successful economist and film producer, she jokingly stated, "If we are paying for their kids, they should pay for our bar tab."
All joking aside, it is not fair for people in my position or parents who send their children to private schools to have to pay for other people's children.
A truly fair system would be to charge only the parents of children who attend public schools, but as we all know, life is not fair.
A voucher system would also be more fair, as would an income tax credit for those paying high property taxes who have no children.
As a recent letter to the editor stated, the Vail Valley population growth is negative .06 percent. Therefore, shouldn't taxes be reduced by this same percentage? Negative population growth is not a good sign - maybe ever-increasing taxes are a factor in the decline.
It is remarkable that the school district is sitting on a $16 million reserve that they're refusing to tap into. Yet, they may have the nerve to ask the property owners for more money. The school district either must be very greedy, think we are ignorant or both. This is poor public policy no matter how you slice it. It also speaks to ineffective management by those in charge of the purse at the school district.
In November, we were told that we had to increase property taxes to keep Eagle River Fire Protection District stations open or they would be forced to shut down, and would not be able to provide essential services.
I have witnessed, on more than one occasion, Vail Fire Department personnel taking the fire engine from the west Vail fire station to the Subway/Qdoba restaurants, two parking lots over from the fire house.
Perhaps, these are the "essential services" they were discussing. It seems to be a pattern of raising taxes for unnecessary wasteful purposes and it has got to stop.
We all have to live within our budgets. So should educators and all other government entities.
As an aside, I am not against children or firefig ters, as I have donated several thousand dollars at the Black Diamond Ball to assist underprivileged children in the Vail Valley with obtaining an education. I just feel as a property owner that we are being taken advantage of.
Editor's note: The Eagle River Fire Protection District is an entirely different entity than the town of Vail's fire department. Eagle River's voters passed a property tax increase. The town of Vail was not part of it.