Vail knocks a few dollars off taxes
VAIL, Colorado ” Dana Johnson saw a big jump in the assessed value of her home this year.
That’s going to mean she’ll be paying more taxes ” as long as the tax rate doesn’t change.
“It’s really hitting the middle class the hardest,” she said.
She pleaded for some relief from the town of Vail, which considered lowering its tax rate Tuesday.
The town ended up leaving its tax rate the same, but decided not to collect the $48,000 “abatement levy” as a gesture to taxpayers. A person who owns a $1 million home will save $4.14 on their taxes.
“Purely symbolic,” said Mayor Dick Cleveland.
With the increases in home valuations, the town of Vail will get about $650,000 more than they anticipated in property taxes.
At a meeting two weeks ago, several councilmen supported lowering the mill levy ” for one year ” to give that $650,000 back to taxpayers.
But after talking to their lawyers, the council members decided that they couldn’t lower the mill levy without running the risk of not being able to raise it back again.
The Taxpayer Bill of Rights prohibits tax increases without approval from voters.
“We couldn’t, in good conscience, tie the town to that in the future,” Cleveland said. “That would have been foolish and short-sighted.”
Still, some residents pleaded for some relief.
Voters passed a construction tax passed last November, so the town shouldn’t be collecting more property taxes, Joe Staufer said.
“When you promise something to the electorate and then not deliver, you’re telling the electorate you cannot be trusted,” he said.
But Councilman Mark Gordon voted against even the small reprieve.
“That’s $48,000 that the town of Vail is owed by the property owners in the town,” Gordon said. “We’re owed it, so we should collect it. That’s being fiscally responsible. We’re not flushed with money.”
Across Eagle County, the assessed values of single-family homes increased 32 percent, while the values of condos increased an average of 66 percent.
“That’s a good thing,” Gordon said. “My net worth has gone up.”
Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 748-2929 or firstname.lastname@example.org.