Editorial: Remember taxes when you vote, Eagle Co. | VailDaily.com

Editorial: Remember taxes when you vote, Eagle Co.

Scott N. Miller
Vail Daily Editorial Board
Vail, CO Colorado

The average Eagle County property tax bill for 2007 (which we pay this year) will show an average increase of 42 percent. That’s a lot, no matter how any government official tries to spin it.

In response to the tax hike, a group called Eagle County Taxpayers for Common Sense gathered a few dozen people in Edwards last week. A handful of government officials attended, to their credit, but, to no one’s surprise, none of the representatives even hinted at giving any money back.

At this point, barking about your 2007 tax bill won’t do much good ” and arguing for some kind of mass rebate is unrealistic, at best. The vast majority of local property owners have either passed up their opportunity to protest the taxable value of their homes or have pursued individual appeals.

But there is an opportunity to have an effect on your tax bill a year or so down the road.

Eagle County has two of its three seats on the board of commissioners up for grabs this year. Arn Menconi is leaving due to term limits, and Peter Runyon will have to face voters if he chooses to seek a second term.

Besides electing at least one new commissioner this fall, the towns of Eagle, Minturn and Gypsum will hold town council elections in April. If your tax bill is an important issue to you, you can make your voice heard at the ballot box.

Incumbents should be asked to account for every penny of extra revenue they voted to collect. Challengers must be asked blunt questions about whether or not the valley’s continuing rise in property values should automatically put more money into government’s hands.

Writers on this editorial board have historically urged residents to get more involved in local politics. This is why. The issues that most affect us ” and our pocketbooks ” are debated and decided from Washington D.C. to local town halls. To be frank, a few voters can’t have much effect on what the big shots do at the federal, or even state, levels. And while we applaud those citizens getting involved now, being part of the discussion before decisions are made is pretty much always a better way to go.

The people who set your property taxes will listen. But to get local officials to pay attention, your voice has to be backed up at the ballot box.

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