Convention Center makes november ballot |

Convention Center makes november ballot

Scott Cunningham

A question on Vail’s November 5 ballot will ask voters to approve an increase in sales and lodging taxes in order to build a 20,000 square foot, $46 million conference center.The measure would raise the sales tax rate from 4% to 4.5% and levy a lodging tax at the rate of 1.5% in order to gradually lift Vail out of the $50 million debt it would incur by funding the project. The center would be built on $9 million of land donated by Vail Resorts on the Holy Cross Site in Lionshead, transferred either by a deed-restricted gift or a long-term lease.Another potential benefit to the town is a possible affordable housing venture built in conjunction with the center. Since only 3 of the 6 acres would be occupied by the conference facility, it’s possible that half of the land could be devoted to employee housing, according to Vail Resorts Development Company Vice President Terry Winnick.Council approved the measure by a vote of 6-1, with Councilor Diana Donovan the lone naysayer, who cited doubts about the success of such a venture and the competition that the initiative poses to the property tax increase being sought by the Council.Additional concerns were raised by business index tracker Rick Scalpello, who cited the potential risk for a town already projecting a capital projects funds shortfall by 2006.In contrast, Councilor Greg Moffet called it “the single most important thing for the long-term viability of Vail.”Property tax increaseVail’s Town Council also voted 6-1 (this time Greg Moffet was the detractor) to approved a resolution that places a four mill property tax increase on the November 5 ballot. For Vail homeowners, that number translates to $40 per $100,000 of home value.The increase would mean a $2.3 million increase in the town’s annual revenue beginning in 2003, and due to an additional clause added by the council, the funds would be earmarked for “improvements to Lionshead Village; improvements to Vail Village; improvements to loading and delivery infrastructure; the hiring of additional firefighters; and improvements throughout the community.” Council members are also hoping to defray a projected $10 million debt in the town’s capital projects fund by 2006.Moffet’s objection to the initiative was based on a perceived lack of tax relief provisions for full-time residents and business owners.The initiative is part of the council’s efforts to raise $5 million in additional yearly revenues in order to keep up with increasing demand for improvements to Vail’s aging infrastructure in the face of depressed sales tax revenues.For both initiatives, the following dates apply:Oct. 7Last day to register to voteOct. 21Early voting beginsOct. 29Last day to request an absentee ballot to be mailedNov. 1Last day to request an absentee ballot in personNov. 5Election day; polls open between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.12 candidates for Avon seatsThe town of Avon’s November 5 election for four town council seats has a large number of candidates: twelve. Among those running are three incumbents: Debbie Buckley, Mac McDevitt, and Brian Sipes, who was appointed by council members after the resignation of Rick Cuny. The fourth seat is being vacated by Mayor Judy Yoder, who is term limited and cannot run for re-election.The other nine candidates, in alphabetical order, are Bob Angel, Bobby Bank, Tab Bonidy, Rene Martinez, Mike McClinton, Steve Miller, Ron Neville, Albert “Chico” Thuon, and Ron Wolfe.According to Town Manager Bill Efting, the number of candidates, while sizable, is not out of the ordinary and occurs every so many election years.”I don’t think it’s strange or unusual,” he said. “This town is changing, and I think a lot of people want to be a part of that.”Cortina Lane Waterline Construction begins Sept. 3The Town of Vail and the Eagle River Water and Sanitation District will begin a joint road construction and waterline replacement project on Tuesday, Sept. 3. During construction, Cortina Lane will be reduced to one lane from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. The town will be installing a new curb, drainage gutter and resurfaced roadway. The Water District will be replacing the existing waterlines. Construction is scheduled to be completed Oct. 31 and motorists are asked to use caution while driving in the construction zone.The road construction portion of the project has been contracted to B&B Excavating, Inc. The waterline replacement has been contracted to Dellarosa Construction.For more information, contact Tom Kassmel in the town’s Public Works Department, at 479-2169.

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