Eagle lodging tax, downtown development authority leading in early returns | VailDaily.com

Eagle lodging tax, downtown development authority leading in early returns

Only 95 people were eligible to vote on creating new authority for downtown improvements

The area in green would comprise the Eagle Downtown Development Authority boundaries. The measure in early returns looked poised to pass.
Special to the Daily

In addition to a number of state ballot issues, voters across the Vail Valley were asked several questions in Eagle, Avon and the Eagle Valley School District.ß

In Eagle, all town voters faced a pair of questions, one on freezing the town’s property tax assessment rate at the current level, the other about changing the town’s lodging tax.

A third question applied to only about 95 property owners along Capitol and Broadway streets, who were asked about creating a downtown development district. As of 7:30 p.m., that measure was passing, 25-8.

The district would run down those streets from U.S. Highway 6 to Fifth Street.

The proposal came from a group of downtown business owners who have worked for more than a year to create that district.

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The idea is to revitalize the downtown district.

Eagle Mayor Scott Turnipseed said the proposal could be a “really good step” toward improving downtown.

Under the plan, the project would be funded by a form of “tax increment financing.” What that means is if a new building is constructed with a higher assessed value than the one it replaces, then the difference in property tax revenue would go into the district’s coffers.

Turnipseed said that money could be used for marketing, banners, special events and more.

That funding could “make it really nice” downtown, Turnipseed said. The district would be administered by an independent board.

Eagle voters were also poised to change the town’s lodging tax from a flat rate of $4 per room night to 6% of a night’s room rate. As of 7:30 p.m., that question was passing by a 2,546-1,318 margin.

Money from the lodging tax is now split between open space acquisition and management and town marketing.

The request to change the tax is allowed since Eagle adopted a “home rule” form of government earlier this year. That form of government allows towns and cities more flexibility in how they operate.

Turnipseed said the Eagle Town Council is now working on priorities for the next several years. That includes, perhaps, hiring a full-time open space manager.

In addition, the marketing fund could focus on more events and promotions for the town.

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at smiller@vaildaily.com.

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