Vail still weighing new fees
Vail, CO Colorado
VAIL, Colorado – During an economic time when developing property in Vail, Colorado is already on shaky ground, the Vail Town Council is questioning whether impact fees for fire and emergency services and traffic are in the town’s best interests.
Vail council members heard presentations from two different consultants about the two different sets of potential impact fees, but members reminded each other to consider the fees together.
“I think we need to understand the total impact,” said Mayor Dick Cleveland.
Councilman Mark Gordon said agreed the town needed more information before it imposed new development fees that could affect everyone from single-family homeowners to large-scale developers.
“I’m not sure I have the information to make a decision on these impact fees looking at them in the much broader economic impact,” Gordon said.
The council wanted staff to come back with examples, such as how would these fees affect a homeowner within the core area of the town versus outside the core, and the same for commercial businesses within or outside the core.
Members also wanted to know how the potential fees compare to other resort communities, but Fire Chief Mark Miller said everyone calculates impact fees differently and it might be hard to compare.
Miller said he knows the town currently can’t pay for a new West Vail fire station or new fire trucks, and the fees would help solve that.
“We’re the only municipality in Eagle County that doesn’t charge (fire and emergency impact fees),” Miller said.
Kraige Kinney, a Vail firefighter and the mayor pro-tem for the town of Eagle, told the council that Eagle was planning to increase its impact fees and said fees have helped the town of Eagle mitigate its costs. He said not a single developer, as far as he knows, has complained about the impact fees and pointed out that Eagle has consistently been one of the state’s fastest growing towns.
Gordon wanted to make sure that if the town does impose fees, that it would communicate with residents the difference of fees and taxes. Some would argue that the fees are the same as taxes, he said.
Dwayne Guthrie, one of the consultants for the traffic impact fee study, said if the town doesn’t pay for its needs and growth with impact fees, it’s going to have to figure out how to pay for services from some other revenue.