Vail tax could help muffle I-70
VAIL ” Interstate noise walls, a new roundabout near Ford Park and renovations to Town Hall might be what a Vail construction tax would help fund.
Those are some of the pricey projects that are in the town’s five-year budget for roads, bridges, buildings and other “capital” projects ” which faces a $25.8 million shortfall ” that aren’t labeled a priority.
Vail voters will decide next Tuesday whether to pass the tax, which is supposed to cover the shortfall.
But the rejection of the tax won’t mean that any certain project will get axed, said Town Manager Stan Zemler.
“I think everything will be looked at, as it always is, on an annual basis,” he said.
The 4 percent use tax would apply to construction materials that are used in Vail. It’s expected to raise millions of dollars per year for the town.
The “capital” budget includes putting cobblestone in Vail Village, repaving streets around town, fixing bridges, buying affordable housing and fixing up town-owned buildings. It also includes paying off debt on outstanding bonds.
The stuff in the budget is mostly utilitarian improvements to existing structures and systems, not amenities that would be nice to have, Zemler said.
“Is there a rec center on this list? Is there a mountain slide? Is there a swimming pool?” Zemler said.
On the other hand, Zemler said, Vail needs to spend more because it’s a resort town on things like heated streets.
“It’s all part of an ambiance you might not necessarily do in Eagle and Gypsum,” he said.
Non-“priority” projects, and their estimated costs, that could be helped by the tax include:
– Money to reduce noise on Interstate 70. The town is considering walls that would reduce the noise of the freeway, which runs through the middle of Vail ($1.25 million over five years).
– The aging Town Hall, built in the early ’70s, needs a new heating and ventilation system ($2.4 million).
– Money for renovations to the Creekside employee housing in West Vail. New plumbing, roofing and electrical work are needed ($850,500).
– A new bus station for Lionshead. It could largely be paid for by federal grants and developers ($7 million).
– Upgrades to the frontage roads near Vail Village, Lionshead and Ford Park, including new medians, turn lanes and roundabouts. Much of this will be paid for by developers. Some of the cost, though, will be footed by the town.
Maintenance work could also be scaled back if the tax does not pass. That includes:
– Scanning historical documents ($718,000 over five years).
– Refurbishing fire trucks ($1.1 million).
– Repairing curbs and gutters and other street maintenance ($8.9 million).
– New street lights ($350,000).
Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 748-2929 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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