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Vail Daily letter: Golden goose

Mel Richmond
Vail, CO, Colorado

Living in Eagle is great, but the town needs money to get better. If the town had a steady sales tax stream, we could afford capital improvements that enhance our lives — more bike paths, improving Highway 6, more recreational opportunities for kids, an enhanced dog park, and the ability to replace older water and sewer mains and streets that are in disrepair.

The money for these projects comes from sales taxes. The town gets a small amount of funding from property taxes (about $250,000 per year).

Without a steady flow of sales tax we cannot afford these extras. In fact, today, we can barely afford our essential services: police protection, snow plowing, and street maintenance.



I believe that if Eagle River Station is not built, we are headed toward financial doom.

Our property values are already depressed and may decline further if we don’t do something to change our current situation. Remember, property taxes provide very little revenue to the town of Eagle’s annual budget. It is sales taxes that matter.



I hear from folks that having large-format retailers will change the smalltown feel of Eagle. What does that really mean?

Does shopping at Costco somehow negatively affect your small own way of life? Do you ride your bike less, do you hike less, do you ski less, do you hunt less, or do you fish less?

You might drive less, good for the environment, as we have a retailer with good products that we want.



I think most of you will agree that having Costco in this valley has been really nice. I see many of you shopping there on a regular basis, thus I can only conclude that you like having the store.

Unfortunately, for the Town of Eagle, Costco is the sales tax golden goose for Gypsum. Good for them.

It really bothers me that I have to get in the car and drive 30 miles to go shopping to buy the basics — things like socks and underwear.

We need to act now because City Market needs to find a larger parcel of land to expand. Eagle River Station is the perfect place for City Market to grow and be an anchor. City Market already contributes 40 percent of the total sales tax collection to the town of Eagle.

The amount of taxes would grow as more folks would likely shop in Eagle if there were more shopping options.

Wouldn’t it be great if we did not have to waste gas (not good for the environment) or could ride our bikes to shop in Eagle and keep our tax dollars in Eagle?

Wouldn’t we all love a natural foods store in Eagle, or a small department store?

A side effect might even be that our property values improve, as there will be more demand for housing in Eagle. Let’s vote “yes” and support Eagle River Stations so that we can have keep our town economically healthy.

Mel Richmond

Eagle


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