Avon, Eagle voters reject Gallagher issue — and it doesn’t matter | VailDaily.com

Avon, Eagle voters reject Gallagher issue — and it doesn’t matter

The passage of the state's Amendment B stops reductions in residential property tax assessment rates — for now

Voters in the Eagle River Fire Protection District, the town of Vail and Eagle County Tuesday approved ballot measures to remove the restrictions of the state's Gallagher Amendment.
How they voted
  • Eagle:
Ballot Issue 2B failed, with 53% “no” votes.
  • Avon:
Ballot Issue 2E failed, with 52% “no” votes.

Colorado voters on Tuesday approved Amendment B, a repeal of the state’s Gallagher Amendment, by a 57% to 43% margin. The story was different in Eagle and Avon.

In addition to the state measure, those towns, along with Vail, Eagle County and the Eagle River Fire Protection District, asked voters for relief from Gallagher’s recent, and steep, declines in the residential property tax assessment rate — that’s the percentage of assessed value subject to tax.

Those declines have hit particularly hard in rural areas, and a number of school, fire, ambulance and voters in other special districts have in previous years removed Gallagher’s assessment rate drops.

Local governments and Eagle River Fire floated their own Gallagher-repeal measures, primarily as a hedge against the possibility that the state measure might fail.

Now the reverse is true in Eagle and Avon. But residential property owners in those towns will still see a freeze in residential assessment rates.

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Eagle Town Manager Brandy Reitter in an email wrote that Gallagher’s requirements will no longer affect assessment rates in town. Avon Town Attorney Paul Wisor emailed the same basic message.

While Eagle County’s Gallagher repeal measure also passed, County Attorney Bryan Treu in an email wrote that the county’s ballot measure is a bit different from Amendment B.

“Amendment B removes the requirement of an automatic residential assessment rate reduction, but it would not preclude the legislature from taking similar action in the future on its own initiative,” Treu wrote. “The legislature passed a bill last session (Senate Bill 20-223) that will now take effect since Amendment B passed.

“Although (Amendment B) purports to be a moratorium on lowering residential assessment rates, that moratorium is only in effect until the legislature decides to do something different. Voter approval would not be required for such future legislative reduction of residential assessment rates. Our local question protects us from that scenario. It protects our existing revenues from residential assessment rate reductions whether caused by Gallagher had Amendment B failed or whether caused by the state legislature in a post-Gallagher world.”

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at smiller@vaildaily.com.

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