Ice rink debt tax approved in Vail
Vail voters gave a solid “yes” to a plan relieve the Vail Recreation District’s general fund of some of its debt.
By a 226-161 margin, voters approved a tax hike to cover the debt service on a $3.4 million bond issued in 2001 to pay for repairs and renovations at Dobson Arena. The upgrades included an improved refrigeration system.
“Everybody’s afraid of tax increases,” Vail resident Steve Sheridan said after voting Tuesday afternoon. “This is to our advantage. It’s to everyone’s benefit for the district to operate efficiently, and do the things it’s supposed to do. Recreation is the No. 1 thing we live for in this valley – we’ve got to keep it going.”
District Executive Director Dennis Stein said the measure will raise $280,000 in the first year. Property taxes will increase $51 per year on a home valued at $1 million. District taxes on that home now run about $219 per year.
The increase expires in 16 years, when the original bond is retired. The last payment would be in March of 2020. Stein said the district’s bank accounts would be freed up for other projects and programs by the new tax.
The approved tax increase is only part of a more ambitious plan to reach voters this spring. The district board had first discussed asking voters to approve a plan that included tax increases to pay for the bond debt on the ice arena as well as two new bonds. One, with an estimated cost of $3.5 million, would have funded renovation of the Vail Golf Course and created an indoor recreation facility at Red Sandstone Elementary School. The other, with an estimated cost of $4 million, would have paid for an extensive renovation at the Vail Golf Clubhouse and Nordic Center.
The rec board has postponed asking voters those two questions until November, at the earliest.