Letters: Debating Eagle-Vail’s tax-rate question
Vail CO, Colorado
Vail Christian doing ‘well’
I am a former teacher from Vail Christian High School. I was in Edwards this week for a visit, and stopped by to see the new school. May I proclaim that Vail Christian High School is alive and well! I was so thrilled to see the faculty and students, and to experience the healing that is already taking place after the recent heartaches.
We should all remember that our faith is in our Savior and the Bible, not mankind. Every one of us is subject to failure. It is only by God’s grace that we have not fallen at a weak moment of temptation. What has happened is so unfortunate, and I grieve with the families involved. We must live with the choices that we make, even when others are affected. I also pray for them every day.
My family moved to Virginia to be near our children’s only living grandparents, but if I was still in the valley, my three teenagers would be a part of the student body of Vail Christian High School. Our hope is in Christ. He never fails. Mr. King and the staff are great people, and they love the students. Go Saints!
Blue Ridge, Va.
Support Eagle-Vail’s 5A
As a 25-year resident of Eagle-Vail and a member of Eagle-Vail Neighbors for Quality Living, I urge my neighbors to vote yes on 5A. Passage of 5A will allow the Eagle-Vail Metro District to finance a number of critically needed repairs and upgrades to our deteriorating recreation facilities. Passage of 5A will provide for a new pool that will be open by June of 2008, new tennis courts (to replace the old courts), and high-priority repairs to our golf course and pavilion.
I want to respond to a small group of Eagle Bend residents who are attacking 5A without disclosing a main reason why they are angry. This small group is currently paying property taxes to both Eagle-Vail and the Town of Avon, and they want out of the Eagle-Vail Metro District.
This group of residents received their water from Eagle-Vail when the development’s original owner defaulted on his obligation to provide water rights for the homes. Now that they have been annexed into Avon, they want to leave Eagle-Vail. The Metro District does not object to these homeowners leaving. But Eagle Bend can’t leave Eagle-Vail without finding water rights from a different source. It’s that simple.
It would be nice if this small group of disgruntled residents were honest enough to disclose that they want out of the Eagle-Vail Metro District. They should also apologize to the other 3,500 residents of Eagle-Vail who need to consider ” with no hidden agenda ” what will happen if 5A does not pass. If 5A does not pass, Eagle-Vail residents will not have a pool to swim in next year, and the tennis courts, golf course and pavilion will continue to deteriorate ” in the end, costing all of us more money to fix in the future. That’s the bottom line.
When you vote on this important issue, please make up your mind on the basis of the facts, not the distortions of Amy Phillips and Kristi Ferraro. While they are correct in asserting that the district’s mill levy would be able to fall around 2 mills in 2008 if 5A is defeated next month, they are absolutely wrong in saying that the projects promised to voters from passing 5A would only cost $2.5 million. Passage of 5A would allow the projects (new pool, four new tennis courts, pavilion and golf course repairs, etc.) that would cost more than $5 million to be financed over as much as 20 years to keep the annual cost within the district’s means.
In addition, Amy and Kristi keep placing the blame for the increase in people’s property values at the hands of the metro district, rather than where it actually came (Eagle County Assessor’s Office). Even if all the taxing entities in Eagle County (the school district, county, fire district, water district, etc.) kept their mill levies at the same rate as 2007, taxes will go up in 2008 due to the 40-percent increase in residential property valuations county-wide. The Eagle-Vail Neighbors for Quality Living are absolutely correct in our statement that the community upgrades can occur without a tax-rate increase, which refers to the fact that the Eagle-Vail mill levy will be no higher than the 14.835 mills levied in 2007 if 5A passes. Amy tries to point out that some nearby communities have lower mill levies than Eagle-Vail. What she selectively leaves out is that many of these communities have homeowners association dues that are as much as 10 times larger than the $100 charges by the Eagle-Vail Property Owners Association. Property taxes can be written off on your income tax, while homeowners association dues can not.
We also take issue that Amy and Kristi imply the voters give up their right to see how the funds produced by 5A are spent after they vote. It would be several months from the time of 5A’s passage to the time that the first permit is sought, which provides Eagle-Vail residents plenty of opportunities to show up at district meetings and make their desires known. In fact, the district’s current master plan has been guided by the more than 325 voters who responded to the district’s survey and by the numerous board meetings and public forums the district has conducted over the last 15 months seeking residents’ input about what they want to happen in Eagle-Vail. The board will continue to welcome your input after it has the revenues from 5A that will allow it to actually fix the many problems with our facilities.
While we do applaud Amy for acknowledging that the recreational amenities in Eagle-Vail are in terrible shape, we fault her for urging a no vote on 5A, because a no vote will put us no closer to a solution than we are today. Let’s cut through the legal mumbo jumbo and put it very clearly:
Passage of 5A will allow Eagle-Vail Metro to finance a new pool, new tennis courts, and major repairs to the golf course and pavilion. It will result in no increase in the mill levy rate paid by taxpayers in 2007. On the other hand, a no vote will only drop the mill levy by around 2 mills, and will leave the Eagle-Vail neighborhood with no community pool, as well as deteriorating tennis courts, golf course and pavilion. A no vote would be the beginning of the depreciation in the value of our homes. A no vote would simply set us up to have to pay more in the future given rapidly increasing construction costs.
Vote yes on 5A and help start a renewal for Eagle-Vail, while keeping the same low tax rate we have been paying. Please make a good decision when you vote, and please listen to the facts versus a small group of people who don’t want to be part of Eagle County’s best neighborhood.
5A is ‘misguided’
We agree that Eagle-Vail needs a facelift. However, 5A is a misguided way to finance that facelift. We cannot support 5A for the following reasons:
The yard signs are wrong. 5A will increase the taxes we pay. To keep our taxes the same as they were before 5A, the total property taxes collected under 5A should be fixed at $915,000. That is the fixed amount the Eagle-Vail Metro District currently collects each year to pay off its existing bonds. By contrast, the 5A mill levy won’t stay steady at $915,000 like a mortgage payment, but will rise with the assessed values of our homes, like rent. If property values continue to escalate at the current rate, 9.4 mills will be $1.4 million in extra taxes in 2010 and almost $2 million in extra taxes in 2012.
5A’s property tax increase is not limited to a certain number of years, but goes on forever. This property tax increase should have a sunset date when the property tax goes away. 5A’s property tax increase is never ending, and will be payable long after the upgrades have been paid off. The proponents of the tax increase do not have any budget for the upgrades to justify the tax, but the Vail Daily reported that the planned upgrades will cost about $2.5 million. By collecting more than $1 million of extra taxes a year, Eagle-Vail Metro District could pay the cost of those upgrades in less than five years. How will the district spend all of our extra tax dollars?
5A doesn’t impose any limitations on how our money will be spent. 5A does not guarantee that our tax dollars will be used to build the pool, tennis complex, walking trail, clubhouse and park upgrades. 5A does not provide a budget showing how much these amenities will cost. If 5A passes, homeowners will never again determine how our tax dollars are spent in Eagle-Vail. We will be writing a blank check to the Metro District Board to spend our tax dollars as they see fit, and for eternity.
There are cheaper, more creative ways to upgrade Eagle-Vail. Instead of raising taxes, Eagle-Vail could get a private developer to help pay for the upgraded amenities. For instance, Eagle-Vail could exchange the land under the old clubhouse, for the new pool, clubhouse or tennis courts. The Town of Vail is doing this type of creative financing to add spaces to the Lionshead parking garage, and Manor Vail is paying for improvements to the whole Manor Vail community by adding another story to its buildings.
Let’s demand better thinking about alternatives and a more tailored tax increase.
Vote no on 5A.
Craig and Kristi Ferraro
Defeat will delay results
I have been to the Eagle-Vail community meetings and the Eagle-Vail Metro District meetings. There have been 15 months of planning and input on a plan for badly-needed upgrades to our recreational facilities. The Metro District considered a mill-levy increase during those 15 months. Instead, the board took into consideration that our tax bills are going to increase because individual valuations are set by the Eagle County Assessor and they are going up approximately 40 percent countywide this year.
The board decided to seize an opportunity: Faced with a severe decline in the condition of our recreational amenities, instead of raising the mill levy, their analysis showed that if they continue the current mill levy RATE, they will receive enough incremental tax revenues. Because individual home valuations have increased, we would be able to fund a new pool, four new tennis courts, and golf course and Eagle-Vail Pavilion repairs.
I have now joined Eagle-Vail Neighbors for Quality Living to pass 5A, which promises no tax RATE increase.
The decision for taxpayers is to approve 5A and see improvements to the community very by quickly (including a new pool open June of next year!) with no increase in the mill levy, or vote against it and see no appreciable decrease in the mill levy until the district’s bonds are paid off in 2009. A defeat of 5A would put us no closer to solving the facility deficiencies that the Eagle-Vail neighborhood faces today.
Swimming pool repairs
Hi. My name is Katherine and while I’m too young to vote, I’m asking that those of you who are old enough to vote, and who live in Eagle-Vail, to please vote yes on 5A.
I am on the Eagle-Vail Hurricanes Swim Team. Our pool was shut down this past summer. We’ll have a new one to train in by next June. I love swimming. Please vote YES for the Hurricanes!