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Letters to the editor

Tom and Flo Steinberg

As usual, those who are in favor of building and operating the conference center do not reveal the risks involved to the town of Vail.Fifteen years ago, the town of Vail hired consultants to do feasibility studies on building a conference center. What became evident was that large convention attendees wanted to be in a large hotel with an airport nearby.The facts: From Dec. 15 to April 1, during ski season, there are no excess beds for large conventions. From April 1 to June 30, when beds are available, the airport is closed. In July and August when the airport is open, kids are out of school and most people take vacations rather than attending conventions. From Sept. 1 to Dec. 15, when most conventions are held, the airport is closed again.Hear this, Vail voters. Don’t gamble Vail’s future by taking on a $112 million debt knowing these facts. Vote NO on the conference center.Tom and Flo SteinbergVailToo many questionsI have a few questions regarding the proposed conference center. The proponents state that Vail has lost 150 convention groups. I would love to know the names of the groups that went elsewhere. I would also be interested in the time frame of these inquiries. (A period of a year, five years, or has it been since the inception of VVTCB?)The proponents also state that there will be no cost to the taxpayers. If the conference center does not make money, and the increased lodging tax is insufficient to cover operating expenses, I can assure you that the cost will be paid from increased property tax to the Vail homeowner, tourist shops, room rates, lift ticket prices, and sales tax percentages. If for some reason sales tax percentages are the highest in the state (could be Vail), they rightfully may decide to go elsewhere. If this should happen, then the Town coffers will experience their own type of drought – and what would this do to property taxes in the town of Vail?There is one more thing I thought of that everyone has said. “Boy, that is a good question!” That question was who will pay the additional 0.79 percent increase to guests that have already booked rooms at our quoted rates and current sales tax percentage (11.8 percent) for the upcoming winter. (January 2006 and on). Let me also note that when we quote the 11.8 percent, many quests are shocked. The answer I have received to date is that it will have to come out of hotel earnings to make up the difference if the guest should refuse to pay this increased sales tax.”Every hotel is in favor of the Conference Center.” I’ve been in the hotel industry in Vail since 1967. Oddly enough, no one ever surveyed me as to my opinion on this issue. I am sure the big five hotels are in favor, as they will reap the rewards in room and food and beverage revenues, leaving little revenue for the small lodges and restaurants. Speaking of food and beverage, most convention groups shop towns for the best rates – the free cocktail parties and often free food in the conference center – in making their decisions. It is also interesting that the cost of this edifice has doubled in one and a half years, and that most of the proponents do not own property in Vail.I have never been big on writing letters to the editor, but there are a number of unanswered questions regarding the conference center and the election on Nov. 8. So, please glean as much information as you can before you vote.Packy WalkerVailNo to home ruleIt is evident that very few people know much about home rule and the home rule charter commission that we are voting for or against in the November election. A recent guest editorial by former Commissioner Dick Gustafson in the Oct. 18 issue of the Daily should be an eye opener. This is clearly an initiative to expand government. If a charter commission is approved, and a group selected, a charter will be written and then will go to the electorate in a special election. Will we read it at all or understand it, or understand the continuing costs of home rule to Eagle County? The committee could decide we need more than five commissioners, maybe seven or nine! One aspect of home rule is (the possibility) that the commissioners could appoint the sheriff, taking away our right to choose. Home rule has been studied and rejected time and time again by county commissioners and many of the counties in the state.When you vote for Referendum 1A, you will start by paying for the committee to go to work, at the (possible) cost of $200,000, for studies that have already been done. Then you will pay for the special election. Ultimately, home rule will likely mean two (or more) new salaries, plus benefits and expenses such as automobiles and business travel. It will mean new administrative expenses for each new commissioner. It could mean an addition to the present county building for additional commissioners’ offices and their staff, a major capital expense, as there are only offices for three commissioners at this time.There are arguments that our county has grown. There are many more populous counties in Colorado than Eagle County who get along just fine with three commissioners. Do you think the 11 people drafting a charter will come up with a different conclusion than everyone else who has already looked at home rule? If they do, it will be because of their personal political agendas. And if they concur with the rest of Colorado counties and reject home rule, it will have been a waste of time and money. Remember, home rule has been studied here and elsewhere and only two Colorado counties have adopted it. More government does not mean better government. It is the quality of the people doing the job. That we can change. If home rule ultimately passes, you won’t be able to change that.If you are unsure of the issues concerning home rule, please don’t vote for drafting a charter OR for the commission members. We don’t need another study and we don’t need to help to expand county government. It is like voting for a change in the state constitution: if we don’t need a change, or you don’t understand the implications of an issue, VOTE NO.Suzie ShepardAvon for C and DThe Avon Town Council voted to support Referenda C and D, two measures on the statewide ballot this November that allow the state a five year “time out” from revenue spending limits and bonding for infrastructure projects.According to the Colorado Municipal League (CML), more than 33 municipalities, including Eagle County, and 400 other organizations, local governments and business have endorsed the measure.CML states that referendum C permits the state to retain excess revenues for five years and eliminates the ratchet effect of TABOR following economic downturns without revising TABOR or raising taxes. Referendum D would accelerate construction and other expenditures for highways and bridges, K-12 and higher education facilities and police and fire retirement plans through the issuance of voter approved bonds.The multi-year financial obligations spelled out in Referendum D can only be undertaken if the voters approve both C and D. If Ref C passes and Ref D does not, the bonds cannot be issued. Similarly, if Ref D passes, but Ref C does not, the bonds cannot be issued.The TABOR Amendment was enacted in 1992. TABOR’s stated purpose is to “restrain most the growth of government.” “Growth of government” is defined as growth in government tax revenue. It is determined through a formula, which uses a baseline of government revenue received in 1992. “We encourage everyone to research the issue and make an informed decision when voting on any issue on November 1st,” said Avon Town Manager Larry Brooks.More information is available on the Vote Yes on C&D campaign Web site: http://www.voteyesonc-d.com The opponent’s Web site is http://www.taxincrease.orgAvon Town CouncilVail, Colorado


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