Avon wants your tax ideas | VailDaily.com

Avon wants your tax ideas

Lauren Glendenning
Avon, CO Colorado

AVON, Colorado – People tend to make their voices heard when there’s talk of raising a tax, but town of Avon officials haven’t heard much from residents about a potential ballot question this November.

The town surveyed its registered voters over the phone in May and June to gauge whether they supported an increase in the town’s bus services – services the town anticipates will need to increase if it’s going to keep up with the estimated 25 percent increase in riders by 2020.

While only 373 of the town’s 2,739 registered voters took the survey, there was interest in adding more bus service and more sales tax to pay for it.

More than 65 percent said they would support a 75-cent sales tax increase to pay for new services.

A handful of residents have sent comments to the town council, and members of the Avon Business Association came to the last council meeting to voice opposition to a sales tax, saying it wouldn’t be good for business.

Becky Lawlor, spokeswoman for the town, is surprised there hasn’t been more comments, though.

“I think the town has really tried to outreach and understand what people want,” Lawlor said. “For me, the hard thing is that I don’t know how to read the quiet – is it apathy, neutrality or is it positive.”

Council members approved the first step in adding a ballot question at its July 14 meeting, and time is running out for locals to tell council members what they think before the council has to draft a specific ballot question. The town council will look over a staff memo at Tuesday’s meeting and decide which option it will write into a ballot question.

The first reading for approving that ballot question will be at the council’s first meeting in August, Lawlor said. The town council can change the language of the ballot question until the second reading, which is scheduled for the end of August.

The memo gives three options: a .75 percent sales tax increase, a .50 percent sales tax increase plus a 1 percent lodging increase or the formation of a general improvement district.

Council members can choose one of these options or come up with their own formula Tuesday, or they could decide not to do a ballot question at all, although members agreed at the last meeting that the town needed more transit services and needed a way to pay for it.

Council members were all across the board at the last meeting – some liked the idea if the sales tax option, some wanted to use a combination of taxes and Mayor Ron Wolfe said he didn’t want to raise taxes at all.

Unless the council hears more from the town residents and business owners, all it has to go on are a handful of comments and a survey of about a seventh of its registered voters.

If the ballot question passes, it still has to pass in November before anything could happen.

Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or lglendenning@vaildaily.com

Avon Town Council will discuss what kind of ballot question, if any, it could put on the November ballot at its meeting Tuesday. Tell council members your thoughts by either e-mailing them to Becky Lawlor, at blawlor@avon.org, or visit http://www.avon.org, click on the transit survey link under the quick links area on the homepage and fill in your comments in the box at the bottom of the page.

All comments received before Tuesday’s council meeting will go into the public record at the meeting

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