This fall’s election will decide fate of proposed Downtown Development Authority in Eagle
Proposal joins lodging tax change and de-Gallagher measure on Eagle ballot
It’s going to be a busy ballot for Eagle residents this fall, who will make their presidential and other candidate decisions along with weighing in on a tax question and a de-Gallagher proposal.
Additionally, 95 Eagle property owners, their designees and leaseholders in the affected area will see another question on their ballots — one seeking approval to create a Downtown Development Authority in Eagle.
The 95 properties encompassed in a DDA question are located within proposed authority boundaries. The proposal comes from a group of downtown business owners who have independently worked toward creation of the DDA for the past year. Earlier this month, the Eagle Town Board approved the plan to present the DDA question to the affected property owners.
“This (establishing a DDA) initiates a broader effort that will then develop a downtown development plan,” said Eagle Town Manager Brandy Reitter. “This is just another tool in the town’s toolbox to try to revitalize old Broadway.”
If the property owners agree to establish the DDA, the group will then set up a structure for how the authority will operate. It
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“The town than can interface with a more official group,” Reitter said.
A DDA could be the lead entity for revitalization grant applications or for a shop local campaign.
“The authority would be a good group to work on development incentives, beatification projects, and technical support for events,” Reitter said. “It just opens up the door for more tools and resources to revitalize that area.”
The DDA could also bring future sales tax or property tax questions to voters. “But that is not what is being proposed right now. We are just creating a boundary and creating a structure,” Reitter said. “Any tax questions would definitely require a public process.”
“The downtown business group has been advocating for somthing like this for a while,” Reitter added. “There is grassroots support for it.”
But there are also some grassroots questions regarding the ballot question.
Paul Duprey resides in the 100 block of Fourth Street, and his home is located within the boundaries of the proposed DDA.
Duprey said earlier this year, a proponent of the DDA proposal stopped by his house to drop off some information about the proposal which included a map of the proposed DDA boundaries. But he was not aware of Eagle Town Board discussion of the proposal and he was surprised by the news that the DDA question will be on the ballot this fall.
“I would like somebody to be a little more open about this whole process,” Duprey said. “If we are going to be included in this we should be informed about what is going on so we can go to the meeting.”
Duprey has several questions about the proposal. He wants to know, what does it mean for non-commercial properties such as his home and for houses that are literally located across the street from the DDA boundaries?
“We are not commercial here. Broadway is commercial and the commercial stops in the middle of the alley,” Duprey said.
On the ballot in Eagle
In addition to the Downtown Development Authority Question, this fall community voters will weigh in on two other ballot questions:
- A change in the Eagle Lodging Occupation Tax from $4 per day per occupied lodging room or accommodation to 6% of the cost of the rental fee paid. The town estimates the change will increase revenues by approximately $120,000 in 2021 and as the economic climate improves, the Eagle could generate between$170,000 to $200,000 in additional revenues for the Marketing and Events Committee priorities and open space programs.
- A proposal giving the Town the ability to adjust the mill levy to retain existing property tax revenues. Commonly referred to as a de-Gallagher measure, the proposal gives local communities control over how their mill levies are calculated rather than relying on the state of Colorado to set the residential assessment rate. Eagle County, along with Vail and Avon, is proposing a regional effort to align a ballot question that addresses structural issues regarding how mill levies are calculated for property tax. Several special districts have proposed the same ballot language and have been successful. The state is also proposing its own de-Gallagher question, but local entities note it is more challenging to see success on a statewide level.