Vail rec board moves money to golf… or does it?

Scott N. Miller

Is money saved by a recently passed tax increase going to the Vail Golf Course or not?At the Vail Recreation District board’s most recent meeting on May 11, former member Hermann Staufer moved to dedicate money from the golf course that had been paying for debt service on Dobson Ice Arena to improvements at the golf course. The motion passed unanimously, but questions remain about its impact.Vail voters on May 4 approved a tax increase specifically to pay for debt service on a $3.4 million bond issued in 2001 to pay for repairs and renovations at the arena. The new tax will raise about $280,000 in its first year, and will expire in 16 years, when the arena bond is paid.While the board passed Staufer’s motion, district Executive Director Dennis Stein said the action was non-binding.”The motion was passed as a way to honor Hermann, as his last act on the board,” Stein said. “It’s not a firm commitment.”

Staufer and Tom Saalfeld both left the board this spring.Following the meeting, Stein said, three board members called to make sure the motion didn’t commit the board to a specific action. Stein said his understanding of the board’s sentiment is to use the money freed up by the tax increase as originally planned – to handle some capital needs, free up cash for use through the year, and possibly enhance funding of current programs. Chairwoman Julie Hansen said she could not comment Friday evening because she was running late to an event. Board members Peter Cook and Nino Licciardi did not return phone messages before deadline.Reached while vacationing in Chicago, new board member Scott Proper said he had not been sworn in before the vote on Staufer’s motion. “If I had been on the board, I would have abstained,” he said. “I just don’t have enough information to make that decision.”

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