Should Eaglebend secede from Eagle-Vail?
Since 1981, homeowners on Eaglebend Drive have been paying taxes to the Eagle-Vail Metropolitan District, which owns that unincorporated community’s golf course, parks and other recreation facilities.
Since 1983, those homeowners have also been paying taxes of the town of Avon, which annexed the neighborhood in 1983 and now provides Eaglebend Drive with police, fire and other municipal services.
“We feel there’s a duplication of services, except for the golf course,” Eaglebend homeowner Michael Bowen said. “Only people don’t want to belong to the Eagle-Vail Metro District just for the golf course.”
Eaglebend homeowners are asking Avon to spearhead their effort to be removed from the Metro District by appealing, on their behalf, to the Eagle County District Court.
“In the beginning, they charged us for water and fire and other things,” Eaglebend homeowner Buzz Didier said. “Now they don’t provide us any service, but they’re still charging us.”
Avon Town Council members said last week they will support the request. But many council members also said they were wary of how much removing Eaglebend from the Eagle-Vail Metro District will cost Avon.
“My concern is how much it’s going to cost if it takes forever to resolve,” Councilman Pete Buckley said.
Spending a lot of the town’s money helping Eaglebend secede from Eagle-Vail wouldn’t be fair to other Avon taxpayers, Buckley added.
“It’s a slippery slope we’re going down,” Buckley said. “I don’t have a problem helping (Eaglebend), I’m just scared the cost will go through the roof.”
One hitch is that Eaglebend homeowners will still have to pay taxes on bonds issued by Eagle-Vail even if they are removed from the metro district. Eaglebend’s hopes for secession from the Metro District could be further tangled by water rights. The neighborhood currently does is not connected to Avon’s water service, said John Dunn, the attorney for Avon.
Any dispute over water rights could prolong the process and drive up legal fees, Dunn said.
“That is when things can get complicated,” Dunn said.
If water does become a problem, it could cost Avon more than $3,000, Dunn said.
“Exclusion makes perfect sense,” Councilman Brian Sipes said. “Unfortunately, it’s complicated by the water issue.”
Sipes, however, said the town will help Eaglebend get out of the metro district.
“We have the obligation to help you because you’re citizens of Avon, but our obligation isn’t unlimited,” he said. “We’re a partner in this and we have to agree to share the cost.”
An ideal solution to this and other local problems, Didier said, would be for Eagle-Vail to become a part of the town of Avon.
“Can we get rid of the Eagle-Vail Metro District and bring it into the town?” Didier said. “There’s now a great connection between Avon and Eagle-Vail. Geographically they’re one town and they’re getting closer and closer.”
“If we’re going to annex somebody,” Councilwoman Debbie Buckley joked, “we’ll annex Beaver Creek.”
The Town Council, however, did not seriously discuss annexing Eagle-Vail.
Matt Zalaznick can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 606, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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