Need drives Vail ballot measures |

Need drives Vail ballot measures

Don Rogers

Vail, where the property tax rate has to be lower than anywhere west (and certainly east) of the Mississipi, can afford the extra nickel or so on the tax bill to pay off the Dobson Ice Arena’s lingering debt.

For a home valued at $1 million, that’s an additional $51 on the current $219 annual tax for the Vail Recreation District, which does put on a host of fabulous programs.

The money would cover the debt service on a $3.4 million bond for repairs and renovations to the arena, including the failing refrigeration system for the ice. The tax would sunset in 16 years, ending with the bond that paid for the repairs back in 2001.

This one would plug a vexing leak in the district’s coffers that could better go to running the programs and keeping fees more manageable. We recommend a “yes” vote.

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For that minority of eligible voters in this election who will bother, the polling place at the Vail Town Hall will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Three new candidates are running for the two seats vacated by incumbents Hermann Staufer and Tom Saalfeld, and all appear to be well qualified and committed for those positions. They will join the infamous “coalition” of Nino Licciardi, Julie Hansen and Peter Cook, who ran on fiscal wisdom two years ago.

Considering the ballot measures to come perhaps as soon as fall to raise taxes for renovating the golf course and rebuilding the clubhouse-Nordic center, it’s hard to refrain from the quip that it’s not hard to balance budgets on the backs of tax increases. Any fool can come up with that answer, including the group the coalition replaced.

The recreation board will need to make a compelling case for those next elections seeking Vail property owner tax dollars, since the district would not have the only such questions on the fall ballot. The town, no doubt, will be seeking property tax increases, too, along with the county and perhaps the state, too.

Oh, don’t forget Vail’s water service has its hand out, as well. There are those ancient pipes to fix, after all, along with a water tank to build, water rights to buy and an expansion of Black Lakes and Eagle Park reservoirs to contribute to. All to the tune of $9.3 million to finance through bonds.

A vote to approve their tax increase might be slightly easier on the wallet than the alternative: simply raising water rates by 25 percent. Water will cost more, one way or the other.

Given Colorado’s droughty climate, especially lately, it’s a sound investment in the future.

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