Avon voters nix transit tax
Ballot issue 2B
With 10,042 votes counted
AVON, Colorado – Town voters Tuesday rejected a proposal to increase the town’s sales tax to expand bus service.
Town officials had cut both the number and frequency of routes over the last couple of years, and said the sales tax increase – which would have raised roughly $850,000 per year – would have restored at least some of that service.
While town officials didn’t commit to specific routes that would be expanded or added, they did say the plan would help restore town bus service between Avon Center and Beaver Creek Village, a route that’s popular with guests at lodges in town, and for people staying in Beaver Creek who want to shop or eat in Avon.
Supporters also touted the relatively small hike – if passed, the measure would have added 35 cents to a $100 purchase – that promised fairly significant returns. Opponents, though, said Avon already has one of the highest sales tax rates in the state, and questioned the need for a still-bigger levy from consumers.
The proposal was backed by much of the town’s business community, including Beaver Creek West general manager Michael Bennett, who was one of the leaders of the group backing the proposal.
Bennett said Tuesday afternoon that the people he’d spoken to were “overwhelmingly” in favor of the plan.
“But who knows?” he added. “It’s a tax, and you just never know about those.”
Most voters apparently agreed with resident Corrie Crane, who said she opposed the proposal.
“I think taxes in town are high enough already,” Crane said.
Avon Mayor Rich Carroll said Tuesday’s results aren’t particularly surprising, given the state of the local and national economy.
The Avon Town Council is still finishing its 2012 budget, and had delayed some decisions pending the outcome of Tuesday’s election. Rich Carroll said much of that discussion will come at the Nov. 8 council meeting.
“We’ll sit down and discuss service to the core, and to Beaver Creek,” Carroll said. Included in that discussion will be the fate of a shuttle service that last year was jointly funded by the town and the Beaver Creek Resort Co.
“This is the wonderful thing about democracy,” Carroll said. “Every year we get to hear what voters think. And this year we heard loud and clear, in the town, regionally with the fire district, and countywide with the school district.”
Carroll added that he “loves” voters turning out to tell their representatives what they want. He was also encouraged by voter turnout – estimated at about 45 percent countywide.
With the voting finished and a decisive message sent, Carroll said the town council and staff will continue working on next year’s budget.
“We need to look at expenses, and see what we can do to increase revenue – whether that’s attracting new business to town or finding more special events.”
Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or firstname.lastname@example.org.