Avon mulls tax hike for transportation projects | VailDaily.com

Avon mulls tax hike for transportation projects

Sarah Mausolf
Avon, CO Colorado

AVON – Avon officials are seeking public feedback on proposed transportation projects.

The town has been eying $66 million worth of improvements over 20 years, said Jenny Strehler, the town’s director of public works and transportation.

A 500-space parking garage in downtown Avon, bus service to the Wal-Mart shopping center and 15 miles worth of sidewalks and bike trails are among the projects under consideration.

Strehler said the town is collecting feedback to find out if residents want to pursue the projects. Town officials are considering putting a question on the ballot for a tax increase to pay for the projects.

No money has been earmarked in the town’s budget to pay for the improvements, Strehler said.

“We’re looking at a variety of options to create new revenue to pay for this,” she said.

One option could include a combination of sales and property tax increases, she said. The sales tax would rise 0.85 percent, or 85 cents on $100. Property taxes would increase 4.5 mills. The property tax increase could happen in two phases, with half the increase going into effect in 2011 and the rest in 2017.

She said the property tax could be “pretty painless” if it goes into effect when two existing property taxes are set to expire. Those taxes funded roundabouts and the recreation center. They amount to nearly 4.8 mills, she said.

Town officials have been meeting with various focus groups to get input on the projects, Strehler said. A presentation on that feedback is set for the April 13 council meeting, Strehler said. A public open house on the transportation projects will take place April 29, she said.

More bus stops in Avon is part of the plan. The proposal would add bus service to Buffalo Ridge, the village at Avon (Wal-Mart) and the covered bridge in Beaver Creek, Strehler said.

Currently Buffalo Ridge, which includes 400 units of affordable housing, has no bus service, she said.

“They’re totally detached and they have limited parking availability up there,” Strehler said.

As for transportation to the Village at Avon, she said 500 riders per day took advantage of bus service the town provided there for a few months during the 2006/’07 ski season.

In general, 49 percent of the proposed projects are focused on transit, 38 percent would improve parking and 13 percent would add pedestrian and bike trails, Strehler said.

Strehler said the projects would make it easier for people to get around town without a car.

“They can go to the market, they can get to the mountain by mass transit,” she said. “It’s good for the environment. It’s a quality of life issue.”

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

Support Local Journalism