3 to vote in Minturn election | VailDaily.com

3 to vote in Minturn election

Dawn Witlin
Vail, CO Colorado

MINTURN, Colorado – The Minturn town council Wednesday night approved ballot questions for a special election, which will depend upon the votes of three people within a newly formed voting district.

Three property owners representing Ginn Resorts, a developer planning to build a private ski area on Battle Mountain in Minturn, will decide the outcome of the election.

The election may allow the town to collect millions from Ginn on the 4,300 acres of property, said Interim Town Manager Gary Suiter.

The ballot questions ask for nearly $171 million to cover the cost of jointly financing public improvements, facilities or special projects on Ginn’s land.

“These particular amounts, they are ball park numbers, so the district has the authority, should they need any of these services or improvements,” said Suiter. “If it comes to an eventuality where they want us to take care of the roads for example.”

The ballot also asks for as much as $15 million annually in property taxes.

Mary Jo Dougherty, an attorney for the Denver firm McGready Sisneros who drafted the ballot, said the property taxes may wax and wane.

“We are obviously not going to ask for $15 million each year,” she said to the council.

The proposed amount of the property taxes is set high as a precaution, Suiter said.

“For that particular question, $15 million is a not-to-exceed number,” said Suiter. “By setting the ceiling so high … they don’t have to go back to the electorate and ask for a tax increase.”

The election will be a first in the town because a special voting district called the General Improvement District, or GID, was formed by the council In February to accommodate the Ginn property, said Suiter.

Ryan Julison, a spokesman for Ginn, said the ballot questions are expected to be approved by the voters.

“It an administrative procedure to comply with the annexation agreement,” said Julison. “It’s for compliance so there’s nothing really unique about it.”

The council raised no questions or objections before approving the ballot questions. Suiter and Town Attorney Allen Christensen said they both reviewed the ballot questions and had no objections to them.

Mayor Gordon “Hawkeye” Flaherty brushed over the issue casually before the vote was taken.

“Are you happy?” Flaherty said to Dougherty at the meeting. “Is the town protected? OK!”

The election is expected to be held Nov. 4.

Staff Writer Dawn Witlin can be reached at 970-748-2931 or dwitlin@vaildaily.com

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