Avon likely to ask for transit tax | VailDaily.com

Avon likely to ask for transit tax

AVON, Colorado – Town voters this fall will likely be asked to for a combination of sales and lodging tax increases to help fund the town’s transit system and provide seed money for special events.

Most Avon Town Council members Tuesday said they’d like to ask voters two questions, one for transit and one for events.

While there’s at least some support for the tax questions based on a recent survey of residents, town business owners will need to be convinced.

Ruggs Benedict owner Roger Benedict is a member of the Avon Business Association. He said members he’s heard from have a “real strong aversion” to any sales tax incrases.

“It’s almost a religious zeal,” Benedict said, based largely on the perception that higher sales taxes in Avon will make the town less competitive with businesses in Eagle-Vail and Edwards.

Resident Mike Bennett told the council that the proposed increases don’t cover the town’s entire problem with transit.

“But whatever you choose to do, it absolutely needs to be for transit,” Bennett said. “Maybe you need to institute a use tax and use that for transit, too.”

Council member Dave Dantas said he’s opposed to asking voters for any tax increases, saying if the town should use existing revenue if it believes public transit is important.

“I don’t think I can put this to the voters when I’m going to vote ‘no’ when I go into the booth,” Dantas said.

Mayor Rich Carroll said he’s willing to put the issue to voters, but also opposes the sales tax increase.

“I’m not saying ‘raise taxes,'” council member Chris Evans said. “But given the feedback we’ve gotten from the community, I don’t see the harm in allowing the public to decide the question.”

Council member Amy Phillips said she wants to put the question to voters, in hopes of helping people who, mostly, don’t vote in town – residents of the Buffalo Ridge apartments.

While the town has several steps to go through before the issue ends up on the ballot, Sept. 1 is the deadline for certifying a question for the fall ballot.

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