Vail OKs $15,000 for voter poll |

Vail OKs $15,000 for voter poll

Lauren Glendenning
Vail, CO Colorado

Present: Andy Daly, Kerry Donovan, Kevin Foley, Ludwig Kurz, Greg Moffet, Margaret Rogers, Susie Tjossem.

The issue: Creating a separate funding mechanism for special events through a 1.5 percent lodging tax increase and a .5 percent sales tax increase.

How they voted: Foley, Kurz, Rogers, Tjossem in favor; Daly, Donovan and Moffet opposed.

Who they talked to: Mia Vlaar, heading up ACE, the Athletics, Culture and Events Independent Funding Initiative.

What they talked about: Vlaar asked council members for $15,000 to conduct a poll of Vail voters to gauge support for the tax increase, which would require voter approval in November election.

Vlaar said the ACE mission to create, sustain and ensure a permanent funding source for qualified special events aligns with the town’s vision to be the premier international mountain resort community.

She said the funding mechanism would free up $2.1 million that the town currently gives to the Commission on Special Events for other town priorities. The tax increase, at current revenue levels, would generate $4.2 million, however. The CSE would essentially be dissolved under the new ACE structure, which would operate as an advisory council and event funding would still need final approval from the Vail Town Council

That was the sticking point for some council members, including Mayor Andy Daly.

“From a competitive perspective, we’re already far outspending our mountain resort competitors,” Daly said. “It raises the question of why do we need to double the amount?”

Daly suggested reducing the town’s mill levy to recoup the additional $2.1 million the tax would generate. He wants to see more details on why the current special events spending would need to be doubled.

But, Vlaar said, ACE feels strongly the extra money could help grow existing events as well as target new events that would bring the town more revenue. The fund would then grow along with the events, she said, “so we can continue to stay ahead of the curve and not fall behind it.”

The council approved the $15,000 for the voter poll, although members mentioned that this November might not present the right economic climate for a tax increase ballot question, meaning the poll might not immediately materialize into a ballot question.

Construction on East Meadow Drive to start April 17

Issue: East Meadow Drive snowmelt leaks.

Who they talked to: Town Engineer Tom Kassmel.

How they voted: 7-0 in favor.

What they talked about: There have been numerous leaks this past winter on East Meadow Drive, between Solaris and Vail Road, because of a problem that stems from the 2005 construction of the heated road, Kassmel said.

“We believe the issue is a saturated sand layer beneath the pavers,” Kassmel said, adding that there’s not enough drainage on the flat section of the road to drain the leaked water.

The town had $500,000 in its 2013 budget to fix the problem, but because there were five leaks this past winter, Kassmel said the town wants to fix the problem now.

Councilman Greg Moffet asked why the town isn’t suing somebody over the problem, which was clearly either poorly constructed or poorly engineered.

“We did, we won,” Mayor Andy Daly said, confirming that the money for the project came from the settlement in that lawsuit.

The council allocated $400,000 to cover the estimated $319,000 cost of construction, plus other contingencies. Construction should last about a month and a half, finishing up by Memorial Day, Kassmel said.

– Lauren Glendenning

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