Avon eyes ballot question | VailDaily.com

Avon eyes ballot question

Sarah Mausolf
Avon, CO Colorado
NWS Green Bus DT 12-27-07

AVON, Colorado – Avon officials say their transportation plan would make it easier to get around town without a car.

But are voters willing to pay for transportation upgrades?

On Tuesday, the Town Council expects to decide whether to ask residents for a tax increase for transportation improvements. If approved, voters would see the question on the ballot during the Nov. 2 election.

More bus stops, a new downtown parking garage and 15 miles of bicycle and walking trails are among the proposed upgrades, according to Jenny Strehler, the town’s director of public works and transportation. The plan would add bus service to the Buffalo Ridge housing complex, the Wal-Mart shopping center and the covered bridge in Beaver Creek, Strehler said. The projects would create at least 800 jobs, she said.

If council decides to go ahead with the ballot question, it will ask residents to approve a tax increase to fund the projects. The town would ask for a 0.85 percent sales tax increase and a 4.5-mill property tax boost, Strehler said. The new taxes would bring in $3.5 million each year in tax revenue to build and maintain the upgrades.

Avon resident Bridget Lara said she hopes Avon puts the question on the ballot. She supports the idea of bus service to Buffalo Ridge, where she works as a community manager.

“I think it would be very beneficial,” she said. “A lot of people ask if we have bus service up here. Being affordable housing and being up on the hillside – it’s something people expect.”

Walking up and down the hill to the market is a daunting prospect, especially while carrying grocery bags in the winter, with kids in tow, she said. Some families don’t have cars or share a single car, she said.

Part-time Avon resident Dusty Boyd, 45, also thinks the town should put the matter on the ballot. However, he’s not in favor of some parts of the transportation plan. More bike trails appeal to him, but he doesn’t think the town needs more bus service.

“The bus service, to me, sounds like a veiled attempt to provide transportation for people who don’t have cars, on my tax bill,” he said.

In general, he thinks Avon is just about maxed out on amenities.

“Look at the amazing facilities we already have here,” he said. “Look at the paths and the recreation opportunities.”

Avon renter Vince Germana, 42, said he’s all about more bike trails.

“I love biking,” he said. “It seems like the only place to go right now is up Beaver Creek or along the river.”

When it comes to raising taxes to build the paths, though, he’s less enthused.

“I’m never for a tax increase,” he said, noting the income and sales taxes are already high enough. “I’m at my wits end.”

Staff Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 970-748-2928 or smausolf@vaildaily.com.

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