End open space tax in Eagle County | VailDaily.com

End open space tax in Eagle County

Michael Gross
Vail, CO, Colorado

The Open Space Advisory Committee and the Eagle County commissioners are planning to spend our property tax dollars in order to purchase a parking lot. Total cost of this parking lot: $5.7 million. The location of this parking lot is 12 miles north of Dotsero on the Colorado River Road. The benefit to the public: You may look at the other 1,018 acres, included in the transaction, but do not attempt to walk on the land, or you will be arrested for trespassing.

At a time when many Eagle County residents are struggling to pay their property taxes and businesses are cutting expenses, laying off employees or going out of business, the Open Space Committee and the county commissioners have the audacity to give $5.7 million of our property taxes to four Missouri attorneys. The reason: so they can pretend to be cowboys.

They want to be ranchers. How many local ranchers, besides a former county commissioner, were given free land to run their ranches? The Missouri attorneys will be allowed to run an outfitting business on land purchased with our property taxes.

How many local outfitters were given free land to run their businesses? How many businesses in Eagle County were given land by the county in order to run a for-profit business?

These so-called cowboys then threaten us, with a gun to our heads: If you do not approve the deal, they will develop the land.

So $5.7 million for a 2-acre parking lot. I remember, not too long along ago, the open space people had a forum and asked for our input. We were asked to place dots on a map of Eagle County. The dots represented areas we would like to preserve. How many placed a dot 12 miles north of Dotsero? How many placed a dot for a 2-acre parking lot?

We were asked to pass the open space referendum so the land along the Interstate 70 corridor, from Dotsero to Vail, would be preserved for future generations. How many acres have been preserve between Dotsero and Vail? Now we are told that the land is too expensive.

Unfortunately, we did not read the fine print denying us access to the land that our property taxes were purchasing. We voted to tax ourselves in order to create open space for parks, bike trails, hiking trails, fishing access and kayaking access, along with many other uses.

The reality is far different. We also have the power to repeal the open space referendum. Since the county commissioners refuse to lower our taxes, and since all the taxing districts refuse to lower our taxes, maybe this is the time for the residents of Eagle County to give ourselves a tax break. Repeal the open space tax.

Michael Gross


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