Town of Red Cliff says yes on use tax, maintains term limits for elected officials |

Town of Red Cliff says yes on use tax, maintains term limits for elected officials


Term limits elimination: Preliminary results

Yes: 24

No: 37

Use tax implementation: Preliminary results

Yes: 35

No: 28

RED CLIFF — The town board of trustees was excited to hear their idea to instill a use tax in town was passed by voters on Tuesday, Nov. 7. They received the news during their regular meeting, where they had just discussed the town’s financial plan for 2018.

“Now we won’t have to redo our budget,” town administrator Barb Smith said with a laugh.

The use tax will mandate that sales taxes on materials purchased outside of town for use in town will go to Red Cliff, rather than the town in which they were purchased. The credit for the use tax idea went to Mayor Anuschka Bales, who is herself an electrical contractor.

“I charge all of my customers sales tax for every jurisdiction I work in,” Bales said. “I have to remit to Vail, Avon … and Red Cliff should be the same way. The materials we deliver here are being permanently installed here.”

Presently, the town is amid a bit of a building boom, relatively speaking. There are 140 homes in Red Cliff, and in the past year, nine houses have sold and three are currently under contract. Five homes are currently under construction.

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The use tax is expected to bring an extra $12,000 into the town coffers in 2018. In a town with a $289,000 operating budget, the 4 percent increase will provide a big boost, Bales said. The money will help with repairs on roads and bridges.

“They’ve been neglected financially,” Bales said.


The other item on Red Cliff’s ballot was an initiative to eliminate term limits. Its failure to pass was met with a degree of cynicism from certain members of the town board.

“We all got a good laugh out of that,” trustee Jake Spears said. “Like they’re going to come and do our jobs.”

During the last election cycle, trustee Valarie Blevins was term limited out of office. Nobody ran for her seat, however, so she was reappointed by the board. When Bales became mayor, her seat on the board was vacant for a year and a half until former mayor Scott Burgess volunteered and was appointed.

“We’ve had vacant seats that we’ve had to appoint for as long as I can remember,” said long-time board member Tom Henderson. “People don’t want term limits, but nobody wants to run.”

Bales said in a town of 300 people, finding civil servants is a challenge, which leads to a culture of appointment over election.

“We’re pulling from such a small pool of people to begin with, the percentage of that pool that are interested in doing the job is even more minute,” she said. “Those that actually step up to the plate to do the job, they get term limited, you kick them out, nobody steps into the fold and they end up getting reappointed.”

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