Vail Valley Voices: Reasons to repeal open space tax |

Vail Valley Voices: Reasons to repeal open space tax

Marty Lich
Vail, CO, Colorado

On Jan. 1, 2012, we will not only celebrate the new year, but we are also reminded that a decade has passed, marking the 10-year anniversary of the Eagle County open space property tax, as well.

County Commissioner Jon Stavney wrote a recent commentary regarding this 10-year anniversary for the open space property tax, as well as why he will not even consider a “deauthorization vote,” or tax repeal, saying: “Here is why as commissioner I am not considering a deauthorization vote: In short, it is a poor time for Eagle County to pull back through risking deauthorization on the ballot. … That is why we are not currently considering putting the open space up for voter deauthorization.”

This is not our Board of County Commissioners’ decision to make. The Board of County Commissioners, as elected public servants, are accountable to taxpayer requests in Eagle County.

For confirmation of that being a fact, please refer to the written Eagle County Leadership Policies and Practices – Ethical Actions; Section 4.3.1. The board is committed to the following:

(a) Promoting decisions which benefit the public interest; and

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.

(h) Accepting the responsibility that his or her mission is that of a servant to the public.

If Eagle County taxpayers want to amend or remove the open space property tax, they have every right to request a vote on it. And even if it is only “a couple of citizens” who have requested the county commissioners put this open space tax question on a ballot during “these hard times,” it should go before a taxpayer vote.

After all, this open space property tax increase passed by only 51 votes in 2002 and we were not in “hard times” back then. Our local economy was booming.

So I say what a great way for our county commissioners to ring in the new year, as well as acknowledge the 10th anniversary of this additional Eagle County property tax. Please place an open space tax repeal question on a 2012 ballot, demonstrating that the Board of County Commissioners is standing firm behind its very own governing statement: “Promoting public confidence in county government.”

Happy new year, everyone.

Marty Lich is a Gypsum resident.

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