Tracker: Eagle Co. tax rebate proposed |

Tracker: Eagle Co. tax rebate proposed

Melanie Wong
Vail, CO Colorado

The idea: To address complaints about increased property taxes, a hike that happened as a result of property values in the county increasing an average of 38 percent, Commissioner Peter Runyon proposed a rebate system.

Eagle County residents would receive vouchers to redeem for “ECO bucks” either in person or via mail. The ECO bucks could be used either to pay next year’s taxes or could be redeemed at local businesses, Runyon said.

The idea behind the coupons would be to keep the money in the county and make it more likely that the rebate would benefit full-time residents, he said.

The rebate has several caveats: The county budget may not allow a rebate, and the rebate would have to be done in cooperation with other taxing entities to be effective, since Eagle County only collects a portion of the total tax increase. The county gets about 14 percent of property taxes.

What they talked about: Other county officials were cold to the idea.

The money from the tax increase is necessary for the growing county, Commissioner Sara Fisher said.

“I think keeping the mill levy the same was a wise decision,” she said. “We have lots of infrastructure needs that haven’t been met. I think it’s just part of the cost of living in Eagle County.”

Also, county revenue from building permits, real estate sales and motor vehicle registration is down, she said.

County Manager Bruce Baumgartner pointed to the county’s $20 million Justice Center project.

“We’re not collecting more money than budgeted,” he said.

The system might also cost more to administer than is worth it, he added.

What’s next: The county finance department will look at the county’s budget to see if a rebate is even possible.

Even if the rebate does not happen this year, it is an idea to keep in mind for the future, Runyon said.

Despite the county’s needs for more money, many residents still feel they are being hit unfairly by the tax increase, he said.

“Many people think (the county) isn’t listening, and it’s not just Republicans. It’s Democrats, too,” said Runyon, a Democrat who is running for re-election this November.

What they talked about: Habitat for Humanity asked commissioners to waive $35,000 in building permit fees for its Fox Hollow project, which will provide 16 low-cost homes in Edwards for local families.

The homes will be duplexes and builders aim to make them LEED certified.

Commissioners and planning staff were hesitant to waive the fees, but promised to provide the discount through other means, such as through a grant or rebates for being green-friendly.

“We have to be very careful about the precedent we’re setting with any kind of outright waiver,” Community Development Director Keith Montag said.

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