Red Cliff nets $26,000 windfall from Eagle County
November 4, 2018
RED CLIFF — You know that great feeling when you slip your hand into the pocket of a coat you haven't worn since last winter and find a forgotten $10 bill?
Red Cliff officials experienced the municipal version of that last week.
Back in 1967, through a tax lien deed, Eagle County obtained a small, steep lot in the town. At some point during the past 52 years, the county forgot all about its ownership. Then a neighboring property owner approached officials about buying the property.
According to Eagle County Communications Director Kris Widlak, neighbor Ruby Medina discovered a retaining wall on her property was encroaching on the county's parcel and she wanted to rectify the situation.
"The county assessor's office estimated the county lot to be worth between $23,500 and $31,400," Widlak said. "The lot is not of much utility to the county or to any prospective purchaser other than Mrs. Medina, so we sold the lot for $26,000."
But in discussions of the sale, county officials also noted the impact of having the property off the tax rolls for five decades.
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"We calculated the tax dollars that would have been incurred if the property had not been struck off of the county rolls in 1967. The total estimated taxes would have been $21,508," Widlak said. "Obviously, not all of that money would have gone to Red Cliff over the past 52 years, but the town was definitely impacted."
So, after concluding the sale this week, the county commissioners opted to send the money Red Cliff's way — in part as recognition of lost past property tax revenue.
"The property sale was an unexpected windfall to the county and the board of county commissioners decided the money was best reinvested in the community where it originated," Widlak said. "The commissioners gave the money to the town of Red Cliff officials to use as they best deem fit."
The commissioners handed over the check Tuesday, Oct. 30.
"We are proud to have such a unique community as Red Cliff in the county, and we know the money will be put to good use for the town and its residents," Widlak said.