Carnes: Wow, only 77 taxing authorities in Eagle County! | VailDaily.com
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Carnes: Wow, only 77 taxing authorities in Eagle County!

Richard CarnesVail, CO Colorado

Why not 78, a nice 80, or a perfect 100? Hell, we could go even higher and shoot for my average golf score.As a few of you constantly remind me, I am at least as ignorant as the rest of Happy Valley, so I dont mind admitting I was taken aback when I first read the number.77 is a whole lot of T & A.In addition to my nave shock, some appear to be basking in the ignorant glow of how low our property tax rate actually is, especially when compared to other Colorado counties and even the nation. OK, Ill bite, but after a few chews I might start choking.Out of 64 counties and 50 states, Eagle has the third and Colorado the 14th lowest property tax rate, respectively.Dang, I feel so under taxed. Who knew?But comparing Colorado to other states is as relevant as claiming because New York elected Hillary, Eagle will elect Arn.Please. Lets bring this a little closer to home, and reality.Humble Kiowa County (along the southeast edge of the state) is roughly the same size as Eagle County, yet has the highest tax rate in the state. I suppose we should feel sorry for them, plus they also have less than one person per square mile to tax. Oh, the horror.But theyre losing population each year and are winners of the lowest average property values in the state as well, at barely $50,000 per. They truly are, in just about every sense of the word, poor, so of course their tax rates are higher.Our modest county, meanwhile, has the second-highest average property value in the state, and a whopping 25 taxable heartbeats per square mile.Thats a whole lot of heartbeats to satisfy.Not only that, we average more than double their income and total an amazing 77 times more in gross sales receipts than Kiowa (what is it with that number, 77 ).So sure, we have so much more money it should be obvious that no, wait a minute, where was I going with this?Oh, yeah, now I remember Nowhere.Because what anyone pays in property taxes outside of Eagle County, or anywhere else for that matter, has absolutely no bearing whatsoever upon the why, when, where or how much we are currently being forced to pay inside of Eagle County.This is a mill levy issue, plain and simple, so stop attempting to calm the masses by saying our taxes are a bargain or a deal or any other happy-go-lucky, poverty-pleading nonsense.Those of you serving on any of these taxing authorities that are taking nebulous advantage of the higher valuations (as spelled out so succinctly by the letter from Buddy Sims last week) owe the ones you represent a public explanation, and in some cases perhaps an outright apology.Yes, Im sure some of the windfalls are completely justifiable for one reason or another, and your service does not go unnoticed or unappreciated, but that is irrelevant as to how this issue should be handled publicly at the moment. Now is the time for full explanations, not more clever diversions.What this really boils down to is so simple to say, yet so difficult to actually do.This is not because folks do not wish to pay taxes (save for a few fruitcake anarchists), its because they do not wish to be slammed up against a financial wall every other year with increases 10 times higher than inflation. Yet this is exactly whats happening as we speak, and we are being promised by county officials that it shall continue, as far as they know, for years to come.If you think people are hurting now, just wait until our government helps even more.With so many cutbacks at the county level, combined with such incompetent waste as Golden Parachutes for ranchers and nanny taxes for illegal citizens who do not pay property taxes in the first place along with the perceived growing levels of government intrusion into housing a taxpayers revolt is exactly what the system needs.Yet a voice of reason and a little common sense is all were asking for.I cant comment about last nights meeting in Eagle-Vail since it does not occur until tomorrow night (I promise that makes sense), but heres to hoping the flames were fanned enough to actually accomplish something more than just an over-crowded bitch session.NOTE: The preceding opinions belong to Richard and are not necessarily shared by this newspaper but for some taxing reason he thinks they should be.Richard Carnes of Edwards writes a column for the Daily. He can be reached at poor@vail.net.


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